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Analytics in action research: How organizations are measuring up

Analytics adoption is on the rise and securely on the C-suite agenda but companies are struggling to realize their return on investment (ROI).


Developing a repeatable decision-making process that leverages data and analytical methods should be a high priority for every organization interested in analytics, according to an Accenture survey of analytics practitioners.

Though the science of analytics is well established, analytics as a business discipline is a relatively recent phenomenon where questions abound. Where does the actual practice of analytics stand today, and how many businesses are embracing this powerful new approach to decision making? Most importantly, for those that have already begun to make an investment in analytics, is the practice delivering on the promise?

As the pace of change drives businesses to be more nimble, and enterprises become more skilled in advanced analytics, it's not surprising to see more than twice as many organizations reporting that analytics is being used primarily as a predictive tool. The surge in predictive applications suggests a growing sophistication in analytics capabilities, along with a growing demand for analytics that anticipate tomorrow rather than explain yesterday.

Analytics in Action

Accenture Analytics research shows organizations using advanced analytics to demonstrate return on investment and determine success factors of major business investments and programs.


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Accenture Analytics set out to survey current analytics practitioners. We conducted 600 telephone interviews between August and September 2012 among director-level executives and equivalent managers within enterprise-level companies (1,000-plus employees) based in the United States and the United Kingdom who have knowledge and/or responsibility for analytics within their organization. This research, following on our 2009 survey that provided a preliminary profile of the business analytics user, gives a current and expanded perspective on the breakthroughs and barriers enterprises are encountering as they put analytics to work today.

Analytics users tell us that analytics has arrived, is in wide use, and is securely on the C-suite agenda. Use of analytics to aid decisions has increased since 2009, and there has also been a definitive increase over the same period in the integration of analytics across the enterprise.

One-third of companies surveyed report that they are aggressively using analytics across the entire enterprise. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents report that their companies are not making any use of analytics, and fewer participants than in 2009 state that their use of analytics is hindered by lack of data, technology, analytical skills and/or senior management support.


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What we see is analytics is definitely on the rise. It's firmly a part of the C-Suite agenda these days.
Narendra Mulani
Senior Managing Director
Accenture Analytics


Survey results indicate that most analytics implementations have been tactically focused; more than half of the companies surveyed are using analytics in specific functional areas. Accenture Analytics believes that companies that want to compete more aggressively with analytics will move rapidly to industrialize the discipline on an enterprise-wide scale.

Most organizations measure too many things that don’t matter, and don’t put sufficient  focus on those things that do, establishing a large set of metrics, but often lacking a causal mapping of the key drivers of their business.

Accenture Analytics believes practitioners should ask if their enterprises are content with traditional sources of data, or are moving to seize the opportunities for new insights being created by new sources of data.

Analytics in Action Survey Results PDF


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Measure what matters, especially when what matters is changing constantly. Given the rapidly evolving contexts in every industry, from banking to telecom to public service to healthcare, it is critically important for organizations to re-assess what they measure, both internally and externally, to drive better, faster decision making.

Our research shows that greater use of analytics is supporting firms as they cope with the inexorable acceleration in the pace of change. If you expect to surpass competitors in the race to keep up with change in the marketplace, you want analytics on your side.

Accenture Analytics believes that refining the metrics used to measure analytic impact typically will yield an invaluable prize—greater and more credible clarity around ROI. Companies need to focus on getting the data that is relevant to business decisions and to business strategy, including big-data gathering in areas such as geometrics, telemetrics and other unstructured data. Once businesses start using analytics for strategic decision making, they are more likely to get a better read on ROI.

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The promise of analytics is expansive: data-based decisions, leading to clear business outcomes, yielding a measurable return on investment. Visit the microsite and begin your journey to high-performance.