October 12, 2011 – A new PA Consulting Group survey of 216 global C-level executives reveals 81 percent of those who have implemented smart initiatives reported they had achieved tangible benefits, yet less than one-third of surveyed companies analyze and act on data that comes from customers, and 40 percent of the data that companies are using is inaccurate.

Smart technology as PA Consulting defines it includes initiatives like analytics, sustainability, mobile business and security, which allow companies to work with their employees, customers, suppliers and partners in real time. Businesses are at an early stage of maturity when it comes to smart technology, which has advanced beyond organizations’ abilities to make operational changes required to support it, according to PA Consulting’s analysis.

One-third of respondents said their organizations use only a fraction of the data assets they hold. “Harnessing information already in the enterprise is a huge opportunity, as many organizations have a large amount of data,” says Ted Bissell, smart technology expert at PA Consulting Group. Many respondents feel they are underexploiting data investments already made, which should offer incentive to go after analytics initiatives, says Bissell.

While 74 percent of respondents believe that innovation offers competitive advantage and a smart approach is important, the different c-level functions don’t always agree on what constitutes smart. Half (52 percent) of surveyed CIOs said new technology is a major change agent, whereas only16 percent of COOs said it had significant impact. Showing smart business benefits that have been delivered to the competition is a good motivation for all stakeholders, advises Bissell.

 “In many cases, it’s middle management who is resistant to change. Smart change requires top management support and control of the execution,” says Bissell. “Leaders have to say, ‘We are going to implement this technology and make sure it hits everyone in the firm, and it’s not just lip service,’” he says.

Only 44 percent of organizations surveyed have resources dedicated to managing and innovating with data assets. While 47 percent of COOs and 48 percent of CEOs said role and responsibility changes are required for smart initiative ROI, only 11 percent of organizations surveyed are training employees. “Support [your] staff and people, and show that you’ll be listening to them as you implement,” advises Bissell.

Eliminating data silos via information architecture is also key to success, says Bissell. Of the respondents, 34 percent said only a small amount of their organization’s operations and data assets are integrated and inter-connected. “Make sure you have a changed culture so that the organization is ready to share data across the enterprise by showing the power of sharing data instead of siloing it,” he says.

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