Despite all the focus being placed on data management and analytics, the vast majority of organizations are still very slow to reap benefits from those investments.

That is the finding of a new study by Gartner, Inc., which shows that 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a "transformational" level of maturity in data and analytics, despite this area being a number one investment priority for CIOs in recent years. Gartner surveyed 196 global organizations for the study.

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"Most organizations should be doing better with data and analytics, given the potential benefits," said Nick Heudecker, research vice president at Gartner. "Organizations at transformational levels of maturity enjoy increased agility, better integration with partners and suppliers, and easier use of advanced predictive and prescriptive forms of analytics. This all translates to competitive advantage and differentiation."

In the global survey, Gartner asked IT leaders to rate their organizations according to Gartner's five levels of maturity for data and analytics (see Figure 1). It found that 60 percent of respondents worldwide rated themselves in the lowest three levels.

Figure 1. Overview of the Maturity Model for Data and Analytics
(Source: Gartner, Inc.)

The majority of respondents worldwide assessed themselves at level three (34 percent) or level four (31 percent). Twenty-one percent of respondents were at level two, and 5 percent at the basic level, level one. Only 9 percent of organizations surveyed reported themselves at the highest level, level five, where the biggest transformational benefits lie, Gartner said.

"Don't assume that acquiring new technology is essential to reach transformational levels of maturity in data and analytics," Heudecker said. "First, focus on improving how people and processes are coordinated inside the organization, and then look at how you enhance your practices with external partners."

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The study also asked IT leaders to identify the most common business problems they are trying to address with data and analytics. Improving process efficiency was by far the most common problem cited, with 54 percent saying it is in their top three problems. Enhancing customer experience and development of new products were the joint second most common uses, with 31 percent of respondents listing each issue.

The survey also revealed that, despite a lot of attention around advanced forms of analytics, 64 percent of organizations still consider enterprise reporting and dashboards their most business-critical applications for data and analytics. In the same manner, traditional data sources such as transactional data and logs also continue to dominate, although 46 percent of organizations now report using external data.

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