Why IT Organizations Are Wrong to Think of Analytics As a Nice-to-Have

Why IT Organizations Are Wrong to Think of Analytics As a Nice-to-Have
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It’s that special time of year here at Numerify, with ServiceNow’s User Conference, Knowledge17, just around the corner. Our team will be packing up and traveling to Orlando next week for great conversations and insightful sessions. Numerify has trekked all around the country from our hometown of Silicon Valley to attend the Knowledge show for the past four years. We’ve been to Vegas the last two years, and now we head to the Orange County Convention Center for next week’s festivities.

Next week we’re also taking part in the Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit, which is being held in Orlando as well. While we will be seasoned veterans on the Knowledge show floor, this will be our first event focused on IT operations. We’re seeing more and more of our customers focus on a data-driven approach to their IT operations — which is why we feel this will be an ideal place to showcase our value as a partner of innovative IT organizations.

I am excited to be at both shows, though it has been a busy few months leading up to this moment. As these events have been getting closer, I started to not only wonder about what questions we will be hearing on both show floors, but reflect on the themes we have seen come up in the past.

What’s Your Organization’s Approach to Analytics? — Here’s What We Frequently Hear

In the many conversations I have had on show floors, I frequently listen to IT professionals describe their pain points around implementing an analytics solution. For most, I hear a sigh of recognition, and they mention that analytics is not a priority. With so many to-dos on their plate, analytics has become a nice-to-have. Others mention that they have an internal team tackling the problem, be it their own IT organization or a BI team. And for many, it’s the lack of skill sets in their workforce that align with an analytics strategy.

Is Analytics a Nice-to-Have Strategy? No, It’s the Status Quo!

Today, having a competitive edge is hard to sustain — once businesses see the shiny new strategy that works, everyone wants in. Analytics has become the status quo, not just for every organization, but for every team within that organization. For years finance, marketing, and sales have been leveraging analytics to optimize performance — and it’s time for IT to follow suit.

A recent CIO survey published by Deloitte revealed that more than a quarter (28 percent) of CIOs feel their IT organizations are below average in their current skill sets around digital, specifically in developing analytics. Furthermore, to actually be successful at enabling analytical initiatives, CIOs also have to invest in the right technologies. Yet 75 percent of CIOs surveyed feel they are underinvesting in emerging technologies and analytics.

When CIOs employ analytics, they can proactively come up with solutions to address bigger business challenges and align those solutions with the business. Seventy-six percent of CIOs surveyed expect an increase in analytics investments, which will set them up for more successful returns. When surveyed, CIOs overwhelmingly said that strategic alignment was the most essential IT capability to their success.

The mindset that analytics is not a priority can hinder the overall success of the IT organization. By making analytics a priority there will be big returns in business alignment, ability to satisfy business customers, driving operational efficiency, ensuring service accountability, and beyond.

In a recent survey conducted by IDG, 33 percent of IT leaders said big data/business analytics are a top investment driver. We know leaders are motivated to deliver on this, in order for the IT organization to be successful.

One of the common problems that organizations are running into is a deficiency of the right skills within their workforce. In the IDG survey it was revealed that 60 percent of CIOs are experiencing a skills shortage, and 41 percent of CIOs at enterprise companies say analytics skills are in short supply.

How can you address this obstacle? A recent McKinsey article outlines the importance of incorporating analytics into a core strategic vision. One suggested step is to build a multi-skilled team, because analytics is a team sport — the responsibility doesn’t just fall on the CIO to implement. And the biggest theme scattered through various surveys conducted by McKinsey and TekSystems as a solution? Having team members that are “translators” on your team who can connect the disciplines of IT and data analytics with business decisions.

Make sure to adopt analytics fully into the culture of the IT organization, because data analytics mean nothing if you don’t use the application. With the right talent and skills, the IT organization will shine as an enabler of analysis and visualization. Your team will also be able to work directly with their business counterparts to make sense of the data and its value to the company.

In Closing

While it has been fun reflecting on the themes I have seen pop up in past conversations on the show floor, I am also looking forward to hearing which pain points are top-of-mind for attendees this year. If you are going to be at Knowledge or Gartner IT Ops, be sure to stop by our respective booths, #732 and #109, for a quick chat. You could even win an Oculus Rift — not to mention have a great conversation with a member of the Numerify team that could result in a better strategy for your organization.

For more on the most common questions I come across on show floors, check out what I say to people who ask whether data or analytics should come first.

[Photo credit: Pexels.]

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