Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Australian businesses are underutilising existing data and analytics capabilities to drive strategic and competitive advantage as executives struggle to come to grips with the new realities of data-driven decision making.
A new report produced by the Institute of Analytics Professionals Australia (IAPA) found 40 per cent of respondents see analytics as either enabling or being a critical part of their business’ differentiation. Yet 37 per cent felt their company was either ‘not really’ or ‘not at all’ getting the benefits from their existing range of data and analytics skillsets.
According to the annual report, Australian businesses pay analytics professionals a median salary of $130,000 per year, up 4 per cent year-on-year and 175 per cent higher than the median full-time salary in Australia. They’re also paying up to $200,000 on average for those with big data and cloud analytics skills.
For the first time this year, respondents were asked to comment on the level of disruption in their organisations and to what extent analytics was contributing to competitive differentiation. Just over half of respondents felt their industry was either ‘quite’ or ‘substantially’ impacted by disruption from competitors, suppliers or customer expectations, and 81 per cent believed analytics was either contributing, enabling or is a critical part of an organisation’s ability to enable innovation.
However, 47 per cent cited executive-level understanding of data and analytics as a key barrier to converting data-driven insights into action and thereby achieve innovation within the organisation.
Other highly ranked challenges included developing skillsets into new areas (46 per cent), timely access to high-quality data (39 per cent), convincing the organisation of the value of analytics (38 per cent) and getting the organisation to act on insight (38 per cent).
Among the most sought-after skills over the next 12 months are big data analytics (55 per cent), business leadership and management skills (48 per cent). The most in-demand soft skills in analytics are around presentation and communications.
“IAPA would encourage business leaders to ensure that they are aligning their analytics capabilities and strategies to better drive business growth and innovation,” said the association’s chairman, Antony Ugoni.
“Actionable data insights have the power to transform productivity and drive competitive advantage which is critical for future success in today’s globalised economy.”
In addition, the report showed Australian businesses to be rapidly adopting cloud and big data capabilities, with a 300 per cent year-on-year increase in those using Hadoop-related technologies. The report also found a 50 per cent leap in use of agile and accessible visualisation tools, such as Tableau, SAS Visual Analytics and QlikView, over the past year.
The IAPA research is based on a survey of 449 analytics professionals in Australia. Respondents were classified into four groups: BI and visualisation focused (49 per cent), traditional analysts (23 per cent), data science professionals (22 per cent) and analytical integrators (6 per cent).
More insights on how Australian organisations are tapping data and analytics:
- How Telstra is applying data analytics to customer experience
- How ANZ uses data analytics to drive strategic next-best customer conversations
- How big data analytics is impacting the insurance sector
- 8 tips for data analytics success from Data Strategy Symposium
- How ING Direct is boosting customer loyalty using data analytics
- Why Spain’s BBVA is opening up customer data analytics for all