Canada leads in embracing data analytics: EY and Forbes Insights survey

Human element is key to turning analytics into profits

Toronto, ON (Nov. 16, 2015) – Nearly 60% of Canadian businesses are making data analytics a strategic priority, but they can do more to help staff, managers and executives act on analytics insights. According to a new report developed by Forbes Insights in cooperation with EY, 2015 EY/Forbes Insights Data & Analytics Impact Index: Don’t Forget the Human Element, people and culture are critical to unlocking business value from data analytics.

Already, 31% of Canadian executives feel that analytics has better prepared their organizations to meet today’s competitive challenges, compared to 20% of their U.S. counterparts and 26% globally. Canadian companies are also more willing to reward employees for using analytics in their work. Forty percent are willing to help employees expand their opportunities for advancement through the use of data analytics on the job, versus 27% of their counterparts in the U.S. and 33% globally.

But Canadian firms can’t be complacent. They must continue to move forward on integrating data analytics into everything they do to mine untapped value. While the production aspects of analytics (technology, tools, data and advanced analytic skills) have drawn a great deal of attention, it is ultimately people who will translate data and insights into business outcomes.

“Analytics insights can’t stand alone. They should be used to drive better business decisions and create value for the organization,” says Steven Maynard, EY partner and Analytics Leader. “That’s where the focus on people comes in. Leaders need to make sure that their staff are fully equipped and encouraged to use data analytics insights in their daily work.”

Globally, in 39% of leading analytics organizations – versus 12% of the rest – analytics skills are recognized, effective, efficient, monitored and clearly used to support decisions. More than one-third of the top organizations also have well-defined competencies for each role and level, along with robust training programs that address potential skills shortages.

“Analytics-driven organizations, where decisions are evidence-based and strategically aligned, are more competitive and agile.” says Maynard. “In our slower growth economy, competitiveness and agility are two characteristics that will determine who will succeed and who will fall behind.”

Other key findings from the report

  • Analytics is central to business strategy among leading enterprises.
  • Leading enterprises have advanced data management capabilities.
  • Leading enterprises embrace change management to advance analytics vision.
  • Leading enterprises have aligned their organizations around analytics.

About this research

The insights and commentary found in this report are derived from both a survey and qualitative interviews with leading executives. In conjunction with EY, Forbes Insights conducted a global survey of 564 senior executives in June 2015. Thirty-two percent of the executives are based in the Pacific Rim region, 27% are in North America, and 26% are in Europe. All are C-level executives, of whom 11% are chief executives or presidents of their organizations.

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and, whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. For more than 150 years in Canada, we’ve delivered the insights and quality services that help build trust and confidence in capital markets here and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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SOURCE: EY (Ernst & Young)