Enterprise Business Intelligence and Analytics Strategies for the Digital Age

March 02, 2016

Contributor: Viveca Woods

Today's complex digital business environment is even more dependent on analytics for critical decisions and actions.

Business intelligence and analytics (BI&A) is a top organizational priority, as data allows smart companies to quickly assess market conditions and outperform competitors. However by 2020, only 50 percent of chief analytics officers (CAOs) will have successfully created a narrative to respond to rapid change and link financial objectives to BI&A initiatives and investments. Additionally, 40 percent of enterprises' net-new investment will be in BI&A.

Given the myriad of data that organizations must analyze, BI&A can be viewed as a daunting task that takes precious time from leadership teams to focus on data already collected and not on current deliverables. Organizations increasingly recognize that the goal of analytics must move beyond internal operational efficiency and effectiveness to being core how the business delivers value to its customers.

Leading up to the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit, we asked  Rita L. Sallam, research vice president for Gartner, for her insight on how to successfully develop a data analytics program.

Q: Businesses embracing bimodal IT want to do more with their data, and do it faster, but they are often encumbered by traditional views of information management. What are some of the key approaches for teams to utilize as bimodal has become a new area of focus for analytics within organizations?

A: A key theme of the conference will be the exploration of ways to empower leadership across the organization to build, access and leverage the analytics they need to improve their business and realize benefits without introducing risk. The bimodal approach includes distributing data from many sources, including from outside of the enterprise and making it accessible to ensure a material, yet trusted, business impact.

First, business leaders need to create cohesive teams that enable, rather than control, individual users by realigning roles and responsibilities. The overriding goal is for teams to develop the necessary skills to make analytics strategic and pervasive across the organization without creating chaos.

Second, leverage emerging trends with the selection of the right tools and ecosystem to modernize infrastructure in order to get the most quantifiable value from analytics investments.

Lastly, organizations realize that the pervasive use of analytics has become a strategic necessity to businesses, not only to improve internal processes, but also to differentiate through new information-based products and components.


Q: What can organizations do to ensure evolving Chief Data Officer (CDO) and CAO roles are seamless yet highly effective?

A: Gartner predicts that through 2019, 90 percent of large organizations will have hired a CDO; of these, only 50 percent will be hailed a success.

To be successful, CDOs /CAOs must focus on revenue-generating opportunities for information, exploiting data for monetization and business advantage. These leaders must have consistent, meaningful metrics and benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of the CDO office, and its impact on the business. Organizations with CDOs/CAOs must have a clear understanding of the roles and where they fit within the organization.

Additionally, there must be board-level support, adequate funding and a culture that supports the concept of information as an essential corporate asset. Most CDO/CAOs will face internal resistance, often from IT that they must manage and convert into cooperation by aligning shared efforts and incentives in support of measurable business outcomes.  

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