Gartner Research

Executive Pulse: Plans for Analytics Spend Continue Through Crisis as Data Use Issues Also Persist

Published: 01 October 2020


Here’s a roll-up of pandemic-related executive sentiment and insights from thousands of functional leaders across the C-suite.

Fast word on tactics and concerns from thousands participating in our conference calls andpolls.

More detailed role-specific reports may be available on the website, depending on your subscription.

Executives continue to invest in data and analytics despite their ongoing discomfort with the results and the practical difficulties of embedding the findings into their decision making.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents to our survey of over 1,800 IT leaders (who are mostly CIOs) said their enterprise would be spending more on business intelligence and data analytics next year. The only category of technology spending that outranked it was cyber and information security.

Almost one third (32%) of respondents also said the COVID-19 crisis has improved their organization’s ability to fund new business initiatives, although 44% said there was no change and about 24% say the crisis has reduced their ability to fund them.

Overall, most plan to move forward with a host of digital business initiatives next year, according to the polling during July and August:

Figure 1: Security, Data and Analytics Top 2021 Plans

In almost all industry sectors represented, the majority plan to accelerate their business intelligence and data analytics investments. What’s notable is that they include industries that have been most disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis — including healthcare providers, oil and gas, consumer goods, transportation, retail and automotive:

Figure 2: Changes in Investment in Business Intelligence/Data Analytics by Industry

Most executives (85%) responding to our August survey of technology end users told us they’ve made it their personal priority to rely more on data and analytics as an important input for making decisions. That’s significantly ahead of the number choosing personal experience (66%) and advice from others (65%), within their top three.

Figure 3: For the Overwhelming Majority, Data and Analytic Fact Base Inputs Take Precedence As a Personal Priority

And yet they struggle to incorporate data into their decision making. Challenges include:

  • Finding the right type of data (31%)

  • Accessing quality data (28%)

  • Getting clear signals from the data or analysis about what to do (23%)

  • Feeling confident in sample sizes (22%)

Figure 4: Most organizations’ decisions are challenged to some degree by data and analysis issues

Consumers of marketing analytics told us that almost half (46%) of the decisions they make are not influenced by that data.

In fact, disappointment with the impact of marketing analytics rises at the higher echelons of management. Just over half (54%) of senior leaders responsible for either producing or consuming marketing analytics have told us the results haven’t affected the marketing operations as much as they’d expected, while 37% in the middle ranks said the same, according to our survey from June and July.

Figure 5: Marketing Analytics Hasn’t Had the Influence That Leaders Expect

Given the strategic importance of data-driven marketing, why is this happening?

As with the more general group of end users, almost one third (32%) of marketing leaders find the data conflicts with the intended course of action. Likewise, they are hampered by poor quality data (32%). They also report that the analysis lacks clear recommendations (31%) or isn’t actionable (29%).

Figure 6: Why Marketing Analytics is Not Used in Decisions

Yet over the next two years 44% have plans to increase the size of their marketing analytics team, while 38% will keep it about the same. Less than one fifth (18%) plan to shrink the analytics staff. When asked to name their top three reasons for making such reductions or making no changes, they most often cited the impact of the coronavirus (38%). Noted nearly as frequently:

  • Thirty-seven percent say the current team is of sufficient size to meet their needs.

  • Investments in automation reduce the need for humans to process data (34%) and even make decisions (31%).

Figure 7: COVID-19 Most Impacting Lack of Growth in Marketing Analytics Teams

  • Research Circle/Primary Research Management

  • CIO

  • Data and Analytics

  • Marketing

Compiled by Daniel Ryntjes

Contact with any questions or comments.

Recommended by the Authors

The impacts of COVID-19 need a cross-functional response. Access all of our research to help your partners in assurance, supply chain, HR, IT and others act quickly and confidently. You’ll find tips, toolkits and other planning advice.

Download this new journal for C-suite leaders and their teams; articles in this edition explain how to rebuild better in the face of the global crisis.

Cost optimization can be risky. The wrong moves can result in cuts that impede an organization’s ability to maintain liquidity, retain key talent, keep innovating and prepare for recovery. We’ve provided the research and tools to help leaders make data-driven decisions supported by proven approaches.


Corporate Strategy Research Team

Access Research

Already a Gartner client?

To view this research and much more, become a client.

Speak with a Gartner specialist to learn how you can access peer and practitioner research backed by proprietary data, insights, advice and tools to help you achieve stronger performance.

By clicking the "Continue" button, you are agreeing to the Gartner Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Gartner research: Trusted insight for executives and their teams

What is Gartner research?

Gartner research, which includes in-depth proprietary studies, peer and industry best practices, trend analysis and quantitative modeling, enables us to offer innovative approaches that can help you drive stronger, more sustainable business performance.

Gartner research is unique, thanks to:

Independence and objectivity

Our independence as a research firm enables our experts to provide unbiased advice you can trust.

Actionable insights

Not only is Gartner research unbiased, it also contains key take-aways and recommendations for impactful next steps.

Proprietary methodologies

Our research practices and procedures distill large volumes of data into clear, precise recommendations.

Gartner research is just one of our many offerings.

We provide actionable, objective insight to help organizations make smarter, faster decisions to stay ahead of disruption and accelerate growth.

Tap into our experts

We offer one-on-one guidance tailored to your mission-critical priorities.

Pick the right tools and providers

We work with you to select the best-fit providers and tools, so you avoid the costly repercussions of a poor decision.

Create a network

Connect directly with peers to discuss common issues and initiatives and accelerate, validate and solidify your strategy.

Experience Gartner Conferences

Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

©2022 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.