How to guarantee poor ROI from your analytics programs

Data analytics return on investment CSC Blogs

A new survey suggests that many enterprises are failing to effectively leverage their sales and marketing analytics, despite their perceived importance to business success.

Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and global sales and marketing firm ZS, the survey, Broken links: Why analytics investments have yet to pay off, drew responses from 448 senior executives across a variety of U.S. industries.

“While seemingly everyone is investing in analytics, few organizations have been able to get it right and to generate the kind of business impact that they hoped for,” writes study lead author Dan Wetherill, an associate principal on ZS’s analytics process optimization team. “Overall, and across industries, companies are buying low-cost solutions and getting lacklustre results, or solving for parts of what should be an integrated and holistic solution.”

The survey shows that while 70% of respondents assert that sales and marketing analytics already are “very” or “extremely important” to their own business’s competitive advantage, a scant 2 percent said these analytics efforts have resulted in a “broad, positive impact,” according to Wetherill.

In his executive summary, Wetherill highlights two key findings:

  • “Many companies are putting significant resources into sales and marketing analytics, but their analytics capability for the most part is immature.”
  • “Companies have progressed on the technology side of analytics, but processes should be embedded more deeply into the fabric of the business.”

The first bullet point hints at a widespread lack of internal analytics talent, while both findings speak to poor integration with existing IT resources and/or lines of business.

To get decent ROI from marketing and sales analytics, Wetherill writes, “The approach has to be integrative and multidisciplinary, and must look beyond cost to the total value created by the analytics, recognizing the importance of a cohesive analytics system connecting from the data to technology platforms, business processes, analytic decision making and, ultimately, the impact on the customer.”

In other words, analytics must be embedded within enterprise business units and IT processes in order to work most effectively. That means developing a clear analytics vision and strategy based on the needs of the business. Anything less will lead to the “broken links” that cause underperformance, disappointing ROI and business decisions based on flawed or incomplete data.


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