Analyst report

Changing the Rules of Data

Companies are rethinking data-driven practices to keep pace and win in today’s digital market. Data drives business, whether that business is selling ad space or real estate, pet food, or engineering advice. Yet companies everywhere have struggled to keep up as data and technology have made their way into every facet of business. Companies are awash in data—their own, generated over many years, and increasingly, a growing variety of inputs from outside their own organizations. For many companies, executing a data-driven strategy requires a new set of tools and technologies—and, often, new talent within the organization to deploy it.

“We almost have to become a software company and a data science company in order to do what we’re doing,” says the CIO of an engineering consulting company. “This has probably been the biggest challenge.”This CIO isn’t alone. A recent survey of nearly 400 executives by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services finds that getting value from all of this data isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the effort. Companies that are at the forefront of data use are seeing the payoff, with a quarter or more respondents claiming significant improvements in profitability, new product/service introductions, market share, increased sales, and, especially, operational efficiency.

Harvard Business Review Changing the Rules of Data