The effective use of analytics as a strategic business tool plays a major role in how successful an organization is, especially among firms that foster a culture of using data to drive key decisions.

Two separate recent studies on data analytics find that analytics is central to business strategy among leading organizations, and the focus on people is critical for that success.

According to the study “2015 State of Analytics” from Salesforce, high-performing organizations are more likely to use analytics to drive business decisions, and recommendations based on analytic insights are more likely to win executive support.

High-performing organizations also tend to have a strong culture built around analytics, the study reveals. Employees tend to collaborate on data insights, and these organizations enjoy more rewarding relationships with customers.

“With consumers generating more data than ever, companies need to make sense of the torrent of Web searches, tweets, product logs, connected devices and apps that reveal their customers’ needs and behaviors,” noted Stephanie Buscemi, COO of Salesforce’s Analytics Cloud. “With data analytics, companies can tap into this vast ocean of insights and arm their employees with a 360-degree view of their businesses and customers, allowing them to make smarter, data-driven decisions.”

Meanwhile, a separate study entitled “2015 EY/Forbes Insights Data & Analytics Impact Index: Don’t Forget the Human Element,” confirms the critical role that people play in the successful use of analytics.

”Technology is no longer a strong enough differentiating factor among organizations – companies must invest in people and recognize the importance of the human element if they are to reap the benefits of their analytics initiatives,” noted Chris Mazzei, principal at Ernst & Young LLP and the research firm’s chief analytics officer.

The study looked at some other common characteristics among organizations that are successfully using analytics. They included: • The focus on analytics as central to business strategy • The implementation of an enterprise-wide data architecture • The embracing of change management as key to advancing analytics • The establishment of strong governance to align business decisions around analytics

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