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Traditional data & analytics strategies cannot satisfy digital business demands, Gartner

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Today, fewer than 50% of documented corporate strategies mention data and analytics as key components for delivering enterprise value, according to Gartner. That is because traditional data and analytics strategies overlook the demands of digital business.

Modern data and analytics serve a broader enterprise purpose and are more integrated into the ways people work than ever before, causing a new approach to data and analytics strategy to emerge.

“IT leaders need to look at data first to succeed in their digital initiatives, rather than treating them as an afterthought to help with ad hoc projects,” said Mike Rollings, research vice president at Gartner. “Chief data officers (CDOs) must shift toward using data and analytics capabilities to transform business models and improve customer experiences, elevating data and analytics strategy to the enterprise level.”

Evolution of Data and Analytics

“For decades, data and analytics strategies have been service-centered, which is where strategy looked more like a list of projects or changes going on in the enterprise that required peripheral support from the data and analytics department,” said Rollings. “Today, we must inspire the use of data and analytics in everything we do and across our business ecosystems, helping our enterprise examine how the use of internal and external data can reinvent how we deliver value.”

This is important to keep in mind since defining data and analytics strategy is identified as the top responsibility of 86% of data and analytics leaders, up from 64% in 2016, according to Gartner.

Modern Approach to Data and Analytics
According to Gartner, nearly half of IT leaders plan on increasing their analytics investments to support digital transformation in the coming year. “It’s impossible to be a digital business without being a data-driven enterprise. And, increasingly, data and analytics is part of every business discussion about digital transformation,” said Rollings.

The implementation of a data and analytics strategy was ranked the No. 3 most-critical success factor among CDO respondents in the most recent Gartner CDO Survey, yet not enough CDOs have achieved a balanced data and analytics operating model.

“To be successful in the long run, CDOs need to strike a balance between tactical and strategic activities,” said Rollings. “At the heart of data-driven thinking is answering the fundamental question of ‘How can data and analytics be used to change what we do and add value?’ There is no more room for a strategy specific to the data and analytics team, but instead an imperative for an enterprise level operating model.”

The Gartner Data and Analytics Strategy and Operating Model Framework examines the required capabilities and existing deficits that must be remedied to create value inside of the enterprise. “Enterprise strategy and operating model are intimately related,” said Rollings. “There are multiple feedback loops in play, and a change in one likely impacts choices in others — especially in volatile times. It’s essential that CDOs consider one with the other to collectively transition data and analytics from a service center to enterprise competency.”

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