Analytics capability gap dispite Chief Data Officers Hires

The Accenture study “Analytics in action – Breakthroughs and barriers on the journey to ROI”, based on responses of 600 executives at 600 private and public sector organisations with more than 1,000 employees, shows that 66% of responding companies have appointed senior figures, often called chief data officers (CDOs), in the past 18 months.

Takeaways from the study:

  • 71% of the organisations that have not yet appointed a senior figure responsible data management strategies and policies expect to do so soon,
  • The UK is ahead of the US in the appointment of CDOs, 69% as against 64%,
  • However, 74% of US respondents said their senior leadership demonstrates a commitment to data analytics as the basis of decision-making, while the corresponding figure for the UK is 57%.
  • Tripling of the use of analytics as a predictive tool, from 12% in 2009 to 33% in 2012

According to Nick Millman, digital, data and analytics lead at Accenture for UK and Ireland, “The speed of this development is a little surprising.”


The following is interesting when it comes it adoption and the actual use of analytics for decision-making, which shows there’s discprancy in implementing and actually using, according to the study:

“Organisations are progressing in the adoption of analytics for decision-making … [but] there is still a prevalent disconnect between analytics capabilities organisations have built and how successfully they put them to use for business decision-making.

Despite progress in building analytics capabilities, senior executives still rank intuition and experience over facts and complex data analysis in the decision-making process.”

Implementing technologies and processes are just a couple of aspects, but true adoption and usage comes also with a cultural change, where data is at the core, accountability, sharing and openness.

Skills gap

The report summary states that “an analytics capability gap is a recurrent theme of the survey findings, with companies scouring the globe to source the analytics talent they know they lack.”

Millman said that “if you have strength in analytics already, then build; if not, then you could outsource to a partner. It is hard to outsource data stewardship; but you could get BI reporting or analytical modelling outputs back as a service.”

I wouldn’t outsource if data, as a culture, or competitive advantage, perhaps even as a ‘future’ core competence is that important to the organization. Never outsource the most important key elements. Get your skills in-house.