Analytics 50: How big data innovators reap results

Five winners of the 2016 CIO.com and Drexel University Analytics 50 awards share details of their projects, lessons learned and advice.

nov cover stephen webster
Credit: Stephen Webster

Data and analytics are reshaping organizations and business processes, giving organizations the capability to interrogate internal and external data to better understand their customers and drive transformative efficiencies.

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Worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics clocked in at nearly $122 billion in 2015 and will grow to $187 billion in 2019, according to a five-year forecast from research firm IDC.

“Organizations able to take advantage of the new generation of business analytics solutions can leverage digital transformation to adapt to disruptive changes and create competitive differentiation in their markets,” said IDC analyst Dan Vesset in a statement issued in conjunction with the release of IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide earlier this year. “These organizations don’t just automate existing processes — they treat data as they would any valued asset by using a focused approach to extracting and developing the value of information.”

Additionally, a recent Forrester Research study, commissioned by the global data and analytics team at KPMG, found that 50 percent of businesses now use data and analytics tools to analyze their existing customers, while 48 percent use them to find new customers and 47 percent use them to develop new products and services.

The picture isn’t entirely rosy, however. That same Forrester study found that many organizations are struggling to adjust their cultures to a world in which data and analytics play a central role, and many business executives mistrust the insights generated by data and analytics.

Other organizations, however, have taken naturally to data and analytics and are using new tools to better understand customers, develop new products and optimize business processes.

To honor those organizations, CIO.com and Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business recently announced the first Analytics 50 awards. The winners represent a broad spectrum of industries, from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to sports and media.

In the profiles that follow, five of the winners explain how their projects are delivering measurable outcomes and offer advice to other IT leaders who are planning analytics initiatives.

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