Do Digital and Data Analytics Need Each Other?

Does an organization need to be well along on its digital journey to embrace data analytics? Do the two require each other?

In recent years, it seems the digital movement and the data analytics movements have been separate endeavors, mutually exclusive of each other.

New figures compiled by the CDO Club put the number of chief digital officers worldwide at 2,000. The number of chief data officers is about the same – but is up from 750 just one year ago. Evidentially, there’s a growing recognition that the digital analytics side of organizational transformation is as important as what is seen as “digital.” So are they one in the same?


What? Chief Data Officers Surpass Chief Digital Officers!


The intersection of data analytics and digital initiatives was explored in detail in a recent study of 528 digital executives and “transformation strategists” by Altimeter, a Prophet Company. Which finds a strong convergence between analytics and digital.

Data and analytics is one of the key elements of the move to digital enterprise, the report affirms. Data analytics plays a dual role: to help managers track the progress of their digital efforts, as well as to measure the overall success of the business.

There’s a need for data analytics to better understand what’s happening. The top challenge faced by those leading digital transformation “is understanding behavior or impact of new connected customers (71%),” the report states. “This trend has grown since 2014, when 53% of respondents cited familiarity with this challenge.”

The data helps keep digital efforts focused. Those charged with digital are pressing their organizations “for more funding and resources. In turn, they’re being asked for results projections to support their requests and roadmaps.” Sixty-nine percent, however, say they don’t have enough data to demonstrate ROI to justify the value of digital transformation.  In a similar survey from two years ago, only 34% of respondents cited the lack of data as a challenge.

“Although we’re in an era of big data, companies still struggle to capture, comprehend, and act on insights available to them,” the Altimeter analysts state. “This increasing gap between the ability to gather data and actually act on it — or position it in a compelling way — is affecting the potential for digital transformation advancement.

There you have it. If you want to move forward with digital transformation, you’re going to need data.