October 27, 2011 – About two months ago, a study declared the pervasiveness of analytics still lacking effectiveness because of a dearth of complementary analytical skills and talent. Businesses appear poised to attack this problem head-on in 2012.

According to new research from Accenture and SAS, 72 percent of business leaders will increase spending on business analytics next year, and two of the top three investment priorities cited are improving analytic skills of current employees (70 percent) and hiring analytical talent (52 percent).

This presents a break from the past, when improvements in analytics were centered on the latest developments in hardware and structural capabilities. But now that the technology is nearly ubiquitous, optimizing results have become the focus, according to the companies.

“Without parallel investment to align leadership, develop the necessary capabilities, ready the talent and build a culture where better and faster decisions, powered by analytics, are part of the DNA, businesses will inevitably hit a roadblock and miss the real opportunity that exists,” said Stacy Blanchard, talent and organization lead for analytics at Accenture. “It’s encouraging to see that executives are beginning to realize this.”

The Accenture SAS Analytics Group — holding to a mission-statement focus on financial, health care and public services — surveyed 258 business leaders in North America. Sixty percent admitted to not having the right analytical business skills to effectively use the technologies in place. In addition, more than a quarter of respondents acknowledged their analytical projects were underperforming, and the main reason cited for this was inadequate analytical skills.

This story originally appeared in Insurance Networking News.

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