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More Companies Are Using Data Analytics - But Encountering Efficiency Problems, Too

"Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway," wrote Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm. Certainly, many CFOs, and not just those with web-based businesses, would wholeheartedly agree: Data are the sensory information produced by a business that has its eyes and ears on operations and customers.

Analytics is the brain that processes the information and provides insight, which ideally leads a company to take meaningful action.

That's the way data analytics is supposed to work. But using data analytics, as when using most information technology tools and systems, is full of trouble spots, stumbling blocks, and blind alleys. In other words, it requires effort and energy on the part of an organization.

The challenges organizations confront in evangelizing, constructing, and deploying data analytics programs stood out in CFO’s annual IT survey. Called “Data and Analytics: The CFO’s Evolving Role,” the survey was conducted in January 2017 and garnered 202 respondents, of which about one-third were CFOs, one-third a different finance title, and one-third CEOs.

As a promising way to drive decisions and corporate actions, data analytics has a bright future. CFOs are clearly building a solid, quantitative foundation for decision-making, instead of relying on gut instinct and whimsy.

Among the survey participants, 83.6 percent “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the strategic decision-making in their organization is already highly data-driven. (Less than 10 percent disagreed with that statement.) A similar number said the same thing about operational decision-making. What’s more, 66.7 percent strongly agreed or agreed with the statement that their strategic and operational decisions are not only based on data, but also “informed by sophisticated data analytics.”

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