Data science platforms enable a data-driven organization, but obstacles remain

Data science platforms are key software stacks that enable organizations to become more data driven, according to results from 451 Research’s Data & Analytics, Data Science and Decision Intelligence Platforms 2023 survey. However, this survey — conducted among 520 respondents familiar with their organization’s analytical products and services — also reveals obstacles on the path to becoming more data driven.

The Take

The practice of basing strategic decisions on a company’s collected and analyzed data began in earnest around 2016, following the “big data” phase that enabled companies to stockpile massive amounts of business information to feed analysis platforms. As the results of our Data Science and Decision Intelligence Platforms 2023 survey illustrate, becoming fully data driven is still a work in progress. Data security and privacy have emerged as the main stumbling blocks. Security and privacy have always been concerns, and with more data generated and analyzed, these issues are understandably magnified. That said, data science platforms have paved the path to increased data-driven decision-making. Corporate appetite for data science platforms remains strong, and customer service emerges as the dominant use case now and in the next 24 months, according to survey results.

Summary of findings

Wall-to-wall data-driven decision-making is still a minority activity. Only 27% of respondents say that nearly all of their organization’s strategic decisions are data driven. Slightly more than half (53%) say most decisions are data driven, and 16% say some strategic decisions are data driven at their organization.

Data science platforms have been widely adopted, but they also exhibit growth potential. Slightly less than half (43%) of respondents say their organization currently uses a data science platform. Furthermore, adoption is on the rise, as 25% of respondents say their organization is in a discovery/proof-of-concept phase and 18% say their organization plans to implement a data science platform in the next 24 months. Another 8% of respondents say their organization plans to implement one in the next 13-24 months.

C-suite executives are not the only individuals making data science platform purchasing decisions. Respondents cite CIOs (18%), followed by CEOs (16%), as the primary decision-makers when it comes to buying a data science platform. However, purchasing a data science platform can also be a group decision: 14% of respondents say their organization’s information security team is the primary decision-maker, and 11% cite the software development team, ranking these teams third and fourth, respectively, in terms of influence.

Customer service is the current and future predominant use case for data science platforms. Almost half (49%) of respondents say their company’s data science platform is now mainly used for customer service. When respondents project their likely data science use cases in the next 24 months, customer service (54%) again tops the list.

Data security and privacy are major roadblocks to a data-driven enterprise. Two in five respondents (40%) say data security concerns such as data breaches and hacking are the most significant barrier preventing their organizations from becoming more data driven, making it the biggest concern overall. This is closely followed by data privacy concerns (e.g., management of sensitive data and data sharing [39%]). Other significant barriers include lack of skilled resources and talent (31%), data sovereignty issues (26%), and lack of budget (24%).

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