Who’s More Data-Driven: Big or Small Companies?

Who’s More Data-Driven: Big or Small Companies?

Most companies are increasing their investment in data processing, analytics and machine-learning software with a desire to become more data-driven, according to a 451 Alliance survey on data and analytics adoption in enterprise IT. In fact, 75% of the survey respondents say data will become more important to their organization in the next 12 months.

Who are the data drivers?

How to Be Data-Driven: A Guide to the Importance of Cultural and Organizational Change
How to Be Data-Driven: A Guide to the Importance of Cultural and Organizational Change
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In the 451 Alliance webinar on Data and Analytics trends, 451 Research Analyst Matt Aslett characterized companies on of the following:

  • Data Drivers: strategy and decisions are based on data
  • Data Drifters: strategy and decisions are not based on data

The vast majority of the respondents (84%) say that at least some of the decisions at their organization are data-driven. But who are the Data Drivers – those who say that nearly all their organization’s strategic decisions are data-driven? Of the respondents, 17% are considered Data Drivers.

Additionally, 37% of the respondents are Data Delvers, for whom most decisions are data-driven, and 30% are Data Dippers, who only make some data-driven decisions.

How does company size affect data-driven attitudes?

At Speedbumps and Shortcuts: Letting Data Drive IT Strategy, a 451 Alliance member asked whether larger companies are more likely than smaller companies to be data-driven.

“Traditionally, we think that small and young equals innovative, and large and old is slow-moving. But this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to being data-driven,” according to presenter Matt Aslett, 451 Research VP of Data, AI and Analytics. “In many cases, smaller companies are actually making fewer strategic data-driven decisions.”

Why is that?

Aslett noted that while smaller companies are more agile, larger companies generally are in a better position to invest in data and analytics because such projects may require more upfront cost. It seems that small companies don’t always have the resources to be data-driven.

Due to the pressures of competition, large companies are more likely to pay a premium for data-driven projects, especially those with Machine Learning technology. It may take more time for larger companies to “turn the boat around,” as Matt puts it, but that doesn’t prevent them for steering that ship with data.


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