Each day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Surprisingly, companies are only analyzing a mere 12% of their own data. That leaves 88% left untouched and unused to make strategic decisions that could ultimately lead to critical competitive advantages. Organizations today are simply overwhelmed not only by the vast amounts of data available, but also the sources from which it is derived and is varying formats. Most data professionals believe they aren’t able to access the data they need and that preparing it for analysis simply takes too long. Once that changes, they will be able to increase their productivity and value to their organizations.
With that in mind, Altair partnered with Forrester Consulting to profile a group of 100 professionals who access and analyze data on a daily basis to learn more about the challenges they face and uncover possible improvements. Here’s what we learned:
- It takes too long to source data for insights: Organizations need to get the right data into the hands of business users who can understand and unlock the insights in that data. Forrester’s Global Business Technographics® Data and Analytics Survey, 2015, indicates that over 50% of IT organizations take months or longer to source data for business users for analysis, meaning data latency is creating insight latency.
- Data professionals spend too much time preparing data: Our study showed almost half (49%) of data professionals spend at least as much time preparing data as they do analyzing it. And one-third of respondents spend more time preparing data than analyzing it. In turn, data insights are reaching the business later, preventing organizations from optimizing processes and experiences.
- Not all data is available for analysis: 27% of data professionals don’t have access to siloed data and 22% think it’s too difficult to combine data from disparate sources.
Not surprisingly, being able to get to data quickly was cited as the most important quality of effective data preparation. And when data professionals can share and collaborate on data preparation, they can divide and conquer. This means more analyst time can be spent digesting and interpreting data instead of preparing it. And if data professionals can source their own data, it can eliminate the latency of data sourcing from IT.
Improving the Data Prep Process
The data professionals we profiled made it clear that having effective data preparation tools that can be used throughout their organization and enable collaboration allow them to spend more time uncovering critical business insights rather than prepping data. This is particularly true of self-service data prep tools. Many companies are starting to take notice and are focusing on opportunities to improve the data preparation process. They include:
- Enabling self-service data hubs: Organizations are looking to enable business users to pull their own data directly from a central source, allowing them to find data right when they need it, eliminating the need for IT to intervene and source the data. For this to work, analysts must be sure that the data they have is actually good and the data prep tools must be easy for everyday business users to understand and use.
- Faster data preparation leads to better business decisions: Simply put, when businesses can access data insights quickly, they can use them to make better business decisions faster. They become more agile, improving both business and the customer experience.
Companies that are able to improve their data prep process will be able to turn their data into insights quicker, become more agile and make informed decisions faster.
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