Business and IT leaders divided on the future of data

Many companies' ability to make the most of their big data analytics programmes could be hampered by disagreements between IT and business leaders over what their priorities for the technology should be.

This is according to new research by Rosslyn Analytics, which found that even though more than seven out of ten corporate leaders (71 per cent) recognise the importance of data to their business, only 11 per cent have so far been able to generate real financial value.

Charles Clark, chief executive of Rosslyn Analytics, observed that this large chasm illustrates that companies have a huge opportunity to improve their big data analytics activities. However, doing so will require business and IT units to be much more closely aligned than they are at present.

"Rosslyn Analytics' survey reveals that the root cause of poor data monetisation is the lack of business and IT alignment and, specifically, the need for business leaders to develop a data strategy that defines technology purchases – not the other way around, which is common in most companies," he continued.

The survey revealed there remain disagreements between business and IT professionals over what the issues with their current plans are. 

For instance, business leaders stated the main reason why data does not get fully utilised is because users do not understand what the information tells them and what it doesn't. IT professionals, on the other hand, blamed the fact that data is often in unusable formats as the main barrier to success.

Technology leaders were also more pessimistic than their counterparts in business units about the quality of their information and how this is used. 

More than half of chief information officers and senior IT managers (56 per cent) believe key data remains inaccessible to business decision-makers, while 46 per cent stated the information they provide to the business is of poor quality. For business leaders, these figures were just 36 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

When it comes to preparing for the future, IT leaders said developing centres of excellence for analytics programmes as the top priority for the next two years. However, business leaders prefer to focus on building data stores that decision-makers will be able to access and use on-demand.

There were some areas in which there was broad agreement. For instance, both IT and business professionals said that having appropriate and effective technology is a top priority for making better use of data within organisations. This takes precedence over upskilling the workforce, creating incentives for data use or addressing policies relating to data privacy.

However, Rosslyn Analytics said this approach, which puts technology ahead of strategy, is "ill-advised".

Mr Clark stated: "Companies that are able to successfully monetise the value of data do so because their business and IT leaders have found a common strategy, which accommodates the technology requirements of IT departments and the business need for data delivered and consumed on-demand."