Independent research released by KX shows that organizations across every major industry sector are prioritizing time-to-value from their data, as firms look to operationalize continuous intelligence through real-time analytics.
The research report “The Reality of Real-Time Data” looks at the competitive advantages that can be gained by understanding and acting on insights derived from real-time data analytics more quickly. The research, which polled nearly 600 UK and US data professionals and IT decision makers, reveals a data landscape where digital transformation, the proliferation of edge devices and the shift to mobile working in a global pandemic has further accelerated the explosion of data that organizations not only have to manage, but must also exploit for operational and commercial gain. In fact, 90% of respondents indicate they need to increase investment in real-time data analytics solutions in the near term.
However, 66% of companies say culture is a blocker to reducing time to value from their data and almost half (49%) struggle with a lack of people and skills. Yet as the research shows, successfully aligning technologies, processes, skills and culture to implement an operating model of continuous intelligence through real-time analytics is clearly a key focus for many businesses.
“The findings validate what our customers and the market is telling us, that extracting more value from data, as close to its point of capture as possible, is becoming a critical business requirement,” says Kathy Schneider, CMO at KX. “The value of most data diminishes the moment it’s created, and as the research shows, unlocking and operationalizing those critical insights in the moment is where priorities and investments are being focused.”
Big and fast data
In 2020, nearly all businesses (97%) saw an increase in the volume and variety of data entering their organization across a host of core business areas. Web traffic data has seen the most significant increase (56%) while data via eCommerce channels follows in a close second (51%). Driven in part by the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things, 46% reported a significant increase in sensor data, while volumes of customer data (45%), operations performance data (43%) and financial data (also 43%) all saw significant increases.
With 64% of organizations believing that it’s very important to be able to access real-time data in order to make smarter business decisions, the need to consider velocity alongside volume is critical. Moreover, while the research shows that businesses see real-time data as most valuable, they also value the combination of historic and real-time data when making business decisions.
Culture and skills are critical
The research shows that organizations with the tools already in place to capture insights in real-time have a competitive advantage. Those leading the pack when it comes to real-time analytics are more likely to already be using data to a large extent to make business decisions (62% versus 48%). They also recognize that being able to access real-time data to make smarter business decisions is very important (76% versus 64%).
Additionally, the research shows that the faster you can use this data, the more gains you can make. However, with almost half (48%) stating their current tools only make them somewhat prepared and 44% not prepared at all to capitalize on this influx, investment in the right technologies and people is key.
Real-time data leaders
The report also shows a clear disparity in how ‘fast’ organizations are thinking when it comes to data. Only 31% of businesses believe that in order to qualify as ‘real time’, data needs to be available within a second. These real-time data leaders are more likely to already be using data to a large extent when it comes to business decisions (62% vs 48%), more likely to feel well prepared with their current tools and resources to take advantage of real-time data (64% versus 52%) and more likely (57% vs 47%) to feel they need real-time intelligence to tackle competitive pressures. Telecoms (44%), manufacturing (25%) and retail (32%) are the industries best represented by the sub-second decision makers.
Interestingly, executive leaders and the C-suite were viewed as being less ‘data-led’ than nearly all other functions, with just 36% of respondents seeing them as data-driven. In contrast, 51% of respondents see finance as being data-led, followed by 43% for sales and marketing and 38% for operations functions. The findings strongly suggest that there is a significant opportunity for data-driven decision making to be adopted more widely by the executive suite as they realize the potential for this to improve business outcomes and competitive advantage. The higher rankings across the other functions suggest these groups are seeing the benefits, but this isn’t yet making its way to the C-suite.