March 18th, 2013 by Kelly Liyakasa

Although 72 percent of companies plan to increase their spending on analytics this year, according to a survey by SAS and Accenture, Gartner has found that only 13 percent of companies currently make use of advanced “predictive analytics.”

During a morning keynote presentation, “Fast Forward: New Information. New Challenges. New Solutions” at the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit 2013 in Dallas, Texas, Bill Hostmann, research vice president and Gartner distinguished analyst, began the presentation discussing the “fundamental shift” in information delivery.

“In the past, we saw large investments in suites of business applications while analytical capabilities were treated as the poor cousin,” he said. However, in the fast-paced world of connected devices, “the use and analysis of information has to be a core business competency” in any enterprise’s strategy.

Marketing Matters in selling analytics in the enterprise.

Marketing Matters in selling analytics in the enterprise.

Business users are looking for context in their mounds of “quantitative data,” explained Gartner’s Ian Bertram, and historical business intelligence, reporting, and the structured data warehouse do not fully fulfill the shift in needs of today’s organizations. While many companies look at “descriptive” data models, which answers the question, “what happened?” companies are beginning to address the business problems that predictive analytics (what will happen?) and prescriptive analytics (what should we do with what we know will happen?) answers.

Although a small fraction of companies, 3 percent, now use “prescriptive analytics,” interest is growing, Bertram said. The greatest challenge? It will require new skills and a shift in the departmental mind sets many enterprises have grown accustomed to. The benefits, however, outweigh the struggles.

“Answers cannot be expressed in simple arithmetic (alone),” Bertram said. “Top ten products by revenue are made more actionable by displaying what attributes customers value most” and agile, actionable analytics that blend historic data with insights from across a company’s many channels spanning video to social media, enrich the analysis with attribution.

Changing people and processes to adapt to new analytical technologies will require continuous marketing of their capabilities, and benefits to the enterprise. Advanced analytics will change job roles and responsibilities, Hostmann said, and “it’s up to us to spread the analytical consciousness. Sell the value to your enterprise in their day to day roles.”

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