451 Research's Voice of the Enterprise: Data & Analytics 2H 2018 survey proves that the majority of enterprises are investing in data processing and analytics technologies, with a view to becoming more data-driven. The results also highlight that there are distinct differences between the most data-driven companies – the Data Drivers – and the least data-driven – the Data Drifters.

The 451 Take

While all companies are (or should be) looking to invest in data processing and analytics, with a view to becoming more data-driven, the results of the inaugural Voice of the Enterprise: Data & Analytics survey indicate that there are distinct differences between the most data-driven and least data-driven companies. This is likely to have a significant impact in terms of their ability to survive and thrive in competitive environments, with Data Drivers appearing to be at an advantage. Providers of data processing and analytics products and services also need to take these differences into account, in terms of the tactics and strategies they employ to engage with companies they identify as Data Drivers or Data Drifters.

451 Research recently published the results of its inaugural Voice of the Enterprise: Data & Analytics 2H 2018 survey. As expected, the survey results provide evidence that the majority of enterprises are investing in data processing and analytics technologies, with a view to becoming more data-driven: 84% of respondents say that at least some of the decisions at their organizations are data-driven, while 75% of respondents say data will become more important to their organization in the next 12 months, with a further 20% saying it will retain the same level of importance.

The Growing Importance of Data

Source: Voice of the Enterprise: Data & Analytics, 2H 2018

Our Voice of the Enterprise: Data & Analytics 2H 2018 survey results also highlight that there are very distinct differences in relation to technology adoption, organization and culture that separate the Data Drivers from the Data Drifters. Below we explain some of the ways in which Data Drivers are distinctly different from Data Drifters, and how they are better-placed to achieve competitive advantage as a result.


Recognizing the Importance of Data

While almost everyone surveyed thought that data would remain important (or become increasingly so) to their company in the next 12 months, it is perhaps not surprising that data is seen as more important among those companies making a higher proportion of strategic decisions based on data. Over 80% of Data Drivers think data will be either somewhat or significantly more important to their company 12 months from now, versus 55% of Data Drifters.

Collecting and Processing a Broader Range of Data Sources

All companies are analyzing data from a range of sources, but Data Drivers are processing data from a greater number of data sources, on average, and are noticeably ahead of Data Drifters in analyzing data from non-traditional sources. Nearly three-quarters of Data Drivers are analyzing customer behavior data, for example, compared with less than half of Data Drifters.

Interest in Emerging Approaches to IT

Perhaps not surprisingly, Data Drivers generally consider themselves to be early adopters, compared with Data Drifters. Specifically, 58% of Data Drivers consider themselves early adopters, compared with just 13% of Data Drifters. As such, Data Drivers report that they are more likely to consider using emerging or startup data platform vendors.

Early Adoption of Emerging Data Platforms and Services

Specifically, Data Drivers are significantly more likely than Data Drifters to be early adopters of emerging data processing products and services. For example, 39% of Data Drivers are using big-data platform software, compared with only 16% of Data Drifters.

Greater Adoption of Public and Private Cloud

As might be expected, given the greater adoption of emerging products, Data Drivers are also more aggressive adopters of cloud services: 24% of Data Drivers are using IaaS, compared with just 4% of Data Drifters. Data Drivers are also more advanced in their use of PaaS and SaaS, although less dramatically.

A Greater Number of Use Cases

Analytics and business intelligence represent the primary use case for data processing software and services for all respondents, but Data Drivers are more advanced in terms of analytics and business intelligence use cases, while Data Drifters are more heavily focused (as a proportion of use cases) on core back-end business functions (i.e., keeping the business running). In particular, Data Drivers are significantly advanced in terms of customer-facing functions and employee productivity use cases.

Greater Focus on Competitive Intelligence

Improved customer experience is the primary benefit for all respondents. However, 63% of Data Drivers cite gaining competitive advantage as a significant benefit, compared with only 34% of Data Drifters, while more than one-third of Data Drivers cite increased sales as a significant benefit, compared with less than one-quarter of Data Drifters.

Fewer (or at the very least different) Barriers to Adoption

While almost 10% of Data Drivers claim that they have no barriers to using data platforms and analytics, for most being more data-driven doesn't eradicate all barriers to the use of data platforms and analytics. In fact, it can present some new ones: 11% of Data Drivers cite the lack of available algorithms as a significant barrier, versus less than 3% of Data Drifters (which have presumably not reached that stage yet). Data Drivers are also significantly less concerned than Data Drifters about lack of support or involvement from senior leadership and budget limitations.

A Broader Sphere of Influence over Vendor Selection

The fact that so few Data Drivers see lack of support or involvement from senior leadership as a significant barrier is reflected in the fact that the executive management group is more involved in (or influences) data platform and analytics vendor selection at Data Drivers (59%) than Data Drifters (41%). Data Drivers are also more advanced in terms of involving other groups in vendor selection, such as the data science/analytics group, the customer service and support group, and the developer group.

Expanding Vendor-Selection Considerations Beyond Cost

Cost is the number one factor driving the selection of current data platform vendors across all respondents. However, for Data Drivers, performance is actually rated as more important than cost (no doubt thanks to the fact that – as noted above – budget limitations are a much less significant barrier to adoption). Specifically, 68% of Data Drivers cite performance as a consideration for current data platform vendor selection, versus 44% of Data Drifters.

Finally, a note of caution. It appears that some Data Drivers might be in danger of being overly confident in their data capabilities. Interestingly, 70% of Data Drivers said they agree with the statement that their organizations' data platform and analytics needs will be largely the same two years from now, and that they won't need additional features or functionality, while 28% disagree. In comparison, 38% of Data Drifters disagree with the statement that they won't need additional features or functionality two years from now – meaning they are looking to make changes – which suggests that, while the Data Drivers have got their noses in front today, they should perhaps be wary of resting on their laurels, since the Data Drifters are looking to catch up.
Matt Aslett
Research Vice President

Matt Aslett is a Research Vice President for the Data Platforms and Analytics Channel at 451 Research. Matt has overall responsibility for the data platforms and analytics research coverage, which includes operational and analytic databases, Hadoop, grid/cache, stream processing, search-based data platforms, data integration, data quality, data management, analytics, machine learning and advanced analytics.

Jordan McKee
Research Director, Customer Experience & Commerce

Jordan McKee is a Research Director for Customer Experience & Commerce, and also leads 451 Research’s coverage of the payments ecosystem. He focuses on digital transformation across the commerce value chain, with an emphasis on the major trends impacting payment networks, issuing and acquiring banks, payment processors and point-of-sale providers.

Keith Dawson
Principal Analyst

Keith Dawson is a principal analyst in 451 Research's Customer Experience & Commerce practice, primarily covering marketing technology. Keith has been covering the intersection of communications and enterprise software for 25 years, mainly looking at how to influence and optimize the customer experience.

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