Data-savvy organizations are using analytics to innovate — and, increasingly, to gain competitive advantage.
In a recent data and analytics survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review in partnership with SAS Institute Inc., the authors found a strong correlation between the value companies say they generate using analytics and the amount of data they use. Combining the responses to several survey questions, they identified five levels of analytics sophistication, with those at Level 5 being most sophisticated and innovative.
These analytical innovators in Level 5 had several defining characteristics. First, they tended to use more data than other groups. In fact, they were three times more likely than the 8% of those respondents who fell into the Level 1 category to say they used a great deal or all of their data.
Second, there was a strong correlation between driving competitive advantage and innovation with analytics and how effective a company is at managing what the authors term “the information transformation cycle.” This cycle refers to the process of capturing data, analyzing information, aggregating and integrating data, using insights to guide future strategy and disseminating information and insights.
Respondents who fell into the Level 5 category also had a stronger need for speed than other survey respondents. Eighty-seven percent reported that the ability to process and analyze data more quickly was very important. Utilizing speed fell into three separate areas: customer experience, pricing strategy and innovation.
Another intriguing finding from the survey involved the cultural impact on organizations. Some respondents reported that the use of analytics is shifting the power structure within their organizations. Analytical innovators, as a group, tended to be more likely than other groups to say that analytics has started to shift the power structure in their organizations.