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Organization Culture, Lack of Resources Impede "Big Data"

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10/3/2013

Lack of resources and corporate culture are the biggest impediments to an organization’s ability to leverage ‘Big Data,’ according to a survey funded sponsored by American Management Association (AMA), a world leader in professional development and performance-based learning solutions.

The survey, conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, was global in scope with nearly 800 organizations in more than 50 countries participating. Respondents were asked what holds back mastery of analytical skills in their organization.

Factors Impeding Efforts to Build an Analytical Organization

Resources

55.4%

Culture

49.3%

Talent/skills

30.1%

Leadership

27.2%

Data

26.4%

Technology

20.6%


“It’s often the culture or lack of a commitment of adequate resources that are key roadblocks preventing organizations from fully leveraging ‘Big Data,’” according to AMA Senior Vice President Robert G. Smith. “The analytical skills of managers throughout the company have to be developed to utilize the growing data stream to real advantage. For the most part, organizations already have the data and technology, but so far few have devoted the kind of resources necessary.”

“When some people hear terms like ‘data’ or ‘analytics’ the first reaction is often anxiety, if not alarm,” noted Smith. “But sooner or later analytical skills, qualitative as well as quantitative, are going to be required by everyone. People will have to be able to analyze information, create an action plan and deal with complex issues.”

According to Smith, there are key institutional and human issues that need to be addressed:

Institutional inertia—‘Big Data’ is not just a useful new tool for management, but offers the potential to transform how organizations understand their market, their competition and their strategy. It’s all about how quick and smart they can become. This kind of sweeping change understandably creates unease and even resistance at many levels.

Fear of math—People need to realize that much of analytics is not so much about math as it is recognizing the potential of data, being able to ask the right questions, connect the dots, and deal effectively with the true quantitative experts.

Lagging leadership—As with any major challenge facing today’s organization, implementing change in an age of ‘Big Data’ requires commitment, and it will not come about without strong leadership from the top. It may be that in some organizations the senior team hopes to leave the ‘Big Data’ challenge to the new generation of leadership.

Analytical Skills—Transforming an organization culture so it becomes adept at managing ‘Big Data’ cannot be done just by calling in a few consultant experts or holding a seminar. It will require real resources and continuous training at all levels in the organization.

Smith is convinced that companies have no choice but to create a broad-based analytical culture and to direct greater resources toward this objective. “Skills have to be developed at every level and in every function. What’s needed is a total culture change. Organizations that fail to see this imperative will lose out and the business is sure to suffer.”

About AMA
American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a world leader in talent development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. To support the growing demand by business, AMA has launched a new portfolio of Analytical Skills seminars. To see the full training portfolio or to register for a seminar, visit: http://www.amanet.org/analytical.