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MITSloanSAS-Need-for-Improved-Analytics-May2014About 6 in 10 professionals from around the world agree that there is pressure from senior management for their organization to become more data-driven and analytical, per survey results from the MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with the SAS Institute. At the same time, about two-thirds agree that their organization relies more on management experience than data analysis when addressing key business issues, and only a minority feel that they frequently have all the data they need to make key business decisions.

There are some positive signs, though. For example, three-quarters of respondents indicated that their access to useful data has at least somewhat increased during the past year. And data management skills – across areas such as capturing data and using insights to guide future future strategy – are improving, according to the report, albeit at a slow pace.

For now, only about 1 in 8 respondents are deemed “analytical innovators,” a sophistication level ascribed to those that: have an analytics culture driven by senior mandate; are more strategic in their application of analytics; place a high value on data; and have higher levels of data management and analytic skills.

One would expect that percentage to ramp up in the years to come, even though the percentage of respondents claiming to have gained a competitive advantage from their use of analytics remained essentially flat last year at 66%.

Marketers certainly envision greater use of data: according to recent survey results from Spencer Stuart, senior marketing leaders feel that analytical orientation will become a more important skill for CMOs to possess in the future, while creativity will become less of a priority.

But what may happen – at least in the near-term – is a widening of the gap between the analytically sophisticated and the analytically challenged. That’s because while 78% of respondents that fall in the “Analytical Innovators” bucket report that senior management is pressuring them to become more data-driven and analytical, only 43% of respondents in the “Analytically Challenged” bucket agree. Additionally, innovators are investing more in analytics technology and skills than the challenged.

About the Data: MIT Sloan Management Review, in partnership with SAS Institute Inc., conducted its fourth annual survey, to which more than 2,037 business executives, managers and analysts responded from organizations located around the world. The analysis includes individuals in 100+ countries and 25 industries.

Participating organizations also ranged widely in size, from those organizations reporting under $250 million in revenues to those with $20 billion and over in revenues. Respondents included MIT alumni and MIT Sloan Management Review subscribers, SAS clients and other interested parties.

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