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Organisations are facing an increasing problem generating value from their expensive data analytics systems.

That is the result of new research carried out by Accenture, with only a small proportion of those surveyed satisfied with the results and many claiming that the data they collect isn’t relevant to their business strategies.

A survey of 600 executives in the UK and the US reveals that despite companies having almost tripled their efforts to use analytics as a primarily predictive tool (33% from 12% in 2009) and 66% having appointed a senior figure in the last 18 months to lead data – management strategies, the Big Data challenge is yet to be solved by the enterprise.

Only 22% of respondents are ‘very satisfied’ with their business outcomes driven by analytics investments, only 39% of organisations state that the data they generate is relevant to their business strategies, while 50% say that their data is consistent, accurate, formatted and complete.

Fragmented approach to analytics

Nick Millman, managing direct for Accenture’s Digital, Data & Analytics in UK and Ireland, said that part of the problem is that organisations still carry out analytics in a fragmented approach.

“We are not yet at the stage where analytics is completely embedded in an organisation’s DNA and is business as usual. I think that’s probably one of the reasons why organisations are not seeing the desired return on investment,” said Millman.

“Organisations have tended to develop and build analytics capabilities on functional or departmental lines, rather than with an enterprise wide approach. There will be pockets of capability, but it doesn’t yet span the whole company and there are still areas where decisions are made on gut feel or management instinct, rather than using a data driven approach.”

Some 45% of respondents described their analytical capabilities as either in need of improvement, limited, lacking senior management support or piecemeal. Also, only 21% of respondents said that they routinely use analytics very successfully as part of an integrated enterprise wide approach.

Millman said the enterprise approach creates a challenge for companies that are architecting a solution that still generates value from the legacy infrastructure.

Skills gap

“We definitely see a need for a different approach to data architecture to cope with Big Data – it’s not something most organisations are going to be able to do in their existing enterprise data warehouse. They will need to have a way of keeping that existing warehouse, but also having a Big Data architecture,” said Millman.

The research also highlighted skills as a concern, with only 20% of organisations stating that they have the required technical and human resources to apply analytics regularly with some success. Millman has experienced this when working with firms too.

“It is still a problem – I see it in my day to day work with organisations, but it’s also backed up by the survey. Most organisations are struggling with this skills shortage and it is one that organisations need to think carefully about,” he said.

“They need to not only think about the analytics strategy, but how do they get the capability they need to execute on that roadmap? Companies need to establish what can be done in house, and what can be contracted out.”

It was recently revealed that both Deutsche Bank and HMRC are struggling to find a way to unravel data from legacy systems to allow integration with newly created big data systems based on Hadoop technology.