True analytic businesses are concerned with more than just transaction data.
Instead, Gartner research director Lisa Kart believes they use correlations and patterns from disparate, linked data sources to yield the greatest insights and transformative opportunities.
“The biggest opportunities are with connecting the data you already have,” says Kurt, speaking ahead of the Gartner Business Intelligence, Analytics and Information Management Summit in Sydney this month.
"For example, getting a cross channel view of your customer means digging deeper and connecting the silos together to transform the data into something consumable."
Kart points to a lack of direction in data collection as the first barrier to analytics in many organisations.
"Even when people know where to find data, they often don’t know what to do with it once they have it," she adds.
"Data often gets siloed and becomes ‘dark’ data. Their data strategy is not tied to the business problems they are trying to solve."
Consequently, Gartner identifies four main types of business analytics: descriptive (what is happening), diagnostic (why did it happen), predictive (what will happen) and prescriptive (how can we make it happen).
But according to Kart, these things need to be used together.
“Think of them as your analytics portfolio,” she adds.
Kart believes the first step in transforming data is tying it to an actual business need, so much so that people tend to get overwhelmed by all the hype around big data.
The real question they need to be asking, according to Kart, is ‘what is your business trying to accomplish? Are you looking to improve marketing, lower risk, make operational changes, or increase revenue?’
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of organisations will actively measure and assess return on analytics initiatives, so it will pay to know exactly what you are measuring.
Kart says it’s time for organisations to move “from using business analytics to being an analytics business."
"Companies are also using analytics to innovate," she adds.
"Analytics can help drive business forward, but it’s up to the individual to use the available data to create new business opportunities. Putting data in the hands of all employees allows innovation to occur."