CIOs Are Leading the Business Analytics Charge

Although there may be some debate about who in the C-suite should lead an organization's data analytics efforts, CIOs are likelier to land in that role.

Chief information officers (CIOs) edge out chief financial officers (CFO) when it comes to claiming responsibility for data analytics at most enterprise in the U.S., according to a study from Mu Sigma, a big data analytics company.

The firm recently surveyed 150 employees, director-level and up, at American firms that generate at least $500 million in revenue each year. When asked who "owns" analytics at their organizations, CIOs took the top spot with 23 percent of the vote.

CFOs came in second at 17 percent. Chief Analytics Officers (CAOs), a relatively new addition to the org chart, took third place (13) percent.

Regardless of who heads up an enterprise's analytics efforts, that person is likely to use a centralized governance model (44 percent). Twenty-two percent of respondents said they use a decentralized model to structure their initiatives while 16 percent use a federated approach.

Finally, 15 percent said they used a mixed model, or none at all. When and if they switch models, 45 percent will adopt a centralized one, which CIOs prefer.

"Although big data has been hyped for a few years now, we're still in a period of nascency with respect to analytics and decision science as a discipline in the enterprise," said Tom Pohlmann, head of values and strategy at Mu Sigma, in a statement. "That's why there seems to be a concerted effort to corral analytics into centralized body, despite the reputation of many shared services functions as not being fast or agile enough for the lines of business they serve."

Leading a business' analytics indicatives is not without its challenges, the survey also found. Data quality, availability and consistency (34 percent) were among the biggest obstacles faced by enterprises, followed by a skills shortage (30 percent).

CIOs are well aware of how tough it is to find qualified workers. According to the latest Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, technology leaders named data analytics the most in-demand IT skill.

"Underperforming companies are twice as likely to identify skill set deficiencies as their most pressing challenge in analytics," observed Mu Sigma. Further, it's a lack of soft skills, not necessarily technical expertise, that is hampering initiatives as many firms.

"Business acumen and communication skills are two of the top three skill set domains where businesses see the need for improvement," stated the firm.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.




Tags: analytics, CIO, C-suite, Business Analysis


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