Analytics: Just Getting Started
Managers at most IW 500 companies use analytics tools to monitor operations, but it's still early days for the next wave: predictive analytics and widespread employee use.
For example, 72% of IW 500 companies are monitoring revenue daily or more frequently, and another 13% are testing or will roll out such a capability within a year. Fifty-seven percent of companies provide dashboards to 20% or more of their employees to monitor key metrics; just 10% have no plans to do so. So daily monitoring and manager dashboards have become standard practice.
More cutting-edge analytics work involves giving dashboards to a majority of employees. Just 29% of companies do that; 35% are testing or planning to roll out those dashboards within a year; and 36% have no plans. Likewise, 47% of IW 500 companies allow end user what-if analysis with no IT involvement, and another 37% are in testing or plan to roll it out. Enabling such what-if analysis shows IT moving away from simple report building and toward facilitating creative thinking.
Predictive analysis isn't widely adopted. Just 54% of IW 500 companies do predictive revenue analysis, though another 19% plan to within a year.
One of the biggest question marks is whether sentiment analytics -- analyzing social data to assess what people are saying about brands and products -- will prove critical. Just a third of IW 500 companies use sentiment analytics tools today, but another fifth are testing them and 17% plan to use them within a year. Almost 30% have no such plans. Sentiment analytics is becoming essential for consumer goods companies, but for business-to-business companies it's a tougher sell.
Mobile: No Great Rush
Someone forgot to tell most IW 500 companies that we're in the midst of a mobile revolution. Our company profiles do include creative uses of mobile apps -- what General Motors is doing to integrate iPads into its dealer sales process, for example, or how satellite TV company Dish has moved its in-home service technicians onto an oversized "phablet" style Samsung smartphone. But our data shows that a majority of IW 500 companies are going mobile at a more relaxed pace.
Forty-two percent have widely deployed mobile apps for customers, up a respectable five points from a year ago but still short of a majority. Just 30% of IW 500 companies have widely deployed mobile apps for employees, with another 30% in limited deployment -- both percentages little changed from a year ago. There are even some signs of mobile cooling off. A year ago, 38% of companies said that broader deployment of tablets was one of the top ways they boosted productivity; this year, it's just 30%. (In comparison, 50% said they're deploying analytics more broadly, up from 43% a year ago.)
Will IT organizations have the money to move forward with their grand plans? Sixty percent of companies expect 2013 IT spending to increase from 2012 levels, 28% said it would hold steady, and just 12% said it would decline. Last year, 68% expected their IT spending to increase.
All these numbers are cold comfort for IT leaders. For every data point that says companies are easing up on tablet expansion, for instance, there's a story of factory workers or salespeople using tablets to improve productivity. Whether it's cloud, analytics, mobile or some other emerging tech, the leaders who apply for the IW 500 aren't just trying to stay ahead of the average; they're trying to get ahead of the best.