Leadership and Big Data: Execs Are Looking For Better Access To Mobile Device And Social Networking Data, Says New KPMG Survey, Which Finds Challenges in Current Data and Analytics Strategies

A large number of companies have adopted a data analytics strategy to better leverage in-house information, but management teams don't seem to have the right access to marketplace data needed to make strategic decisions, says a new survey from U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP.

More than 60 percent of respondents to the survey taken during Oracle OpenWorld, the flagship conference of Oracle Corporation, said their organization has a defined data and analytics strategy. However, only 39 percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that senior management had access to the rising volume of data gathered from the marketplace necessary to predict the needs of their customers. This "unstructured" data is typically generated by customers, vendors and analysts over websites, by mobile device users, and via social networking.

As a result, senior management remains increasingly challenged to analyze current data and to act meaningfully on the results, according to 45 percent of more than 370 executives surveyed during the leading IT conference. In addition, more than one-quarter of respondents said their major challenge has been dealing with data raining in from other sources.

"Data generated on the Internet by customers and vendors can help offer new predictive opportunities to anticipate market changes," said Jeanne E. Johnson, who leads KPMG's Data & Analytics (D&A) innovation initiative, in a news release. "But it remains a huge challenge to harness this kind of data as it is not only generated from disparate reporting systems, but is generated by a wide variety of external stakeholders."

The old conventions for measuring, managing and monitoring a business—as well as assuring the quality of its data — will be stressed to new extremes as speed, the need for trustworthy information and machine learning continue to influence the marketplace.

As a result, says Johnson, "to succeed in the data driven economy you'll have to be able to figure out what you didn't know or didn't expect as well as optimize what you did know and could anticipate."

Further, 29 percent of respondents said advances in data and analytics would fundamentally change their business or industry in the next five years. Forty-two percent of respondents said data and analytics would have an important impact in several areas of their industry or business, though more than one-third (36 percent) of those questioned said it will be at least one to three years before their company can implement a data and analytics strategy that allows predictive insights into the market.

  • Forty-five percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that data analysis was on their board of directors' agenda.
  • Forty-five percent of those surveyed said their company tends of focus more on data security than on using data to improve core business operations.

"This survey demonstrates that data and analytics has become a central strategic approach as most companies believe the key to predicting the needs of customers is directly correlated with analysis from all data sources," Johnson said.

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