McKinsey and Company recently released an interesting and thought-provoking article which provided some key insights on Big Data and Analytics. The article was based on data gathered from an online survey of 530 C-level executives and senior managers, across a range of industries, geographies, and company sizes.

You can read the full article at the link at the bottom of this article, but here is my quick take on some of the most salient learnings and lessons. 

Big Data and Analytics Can Drive Significant Returns.

Seventy percent of the respondents acknowledged that data and analytics have caused at least moderate change in the nature of industry wide competition, with a little over a third saying it had caused significant or fundamental change.

Sixteen percent of companies were classified as "Analytics Leaders", while 16% were classified as "Analytics Laggards." Analytic Leaders have seen at least a 6% impact on revenues and costs from analytic activities in the past 3 years.Analytic Laggards, on the other hand, saw an impact of less than 1%.

Three Key Characteristics Differentiating Analytics Leaders.

Analytics Leaders were almost 2X as likely as Analytics Laggards to say that changes from analytics had "altered longer-term corporate strategy."

Analytics Leaders were over 3X more likely than Analytics Laggards to have a hybrid organizational structure for data-and-analytics activities (i.e., where a central analytics group sets strategy and creates tools for analytics employees in the business units).

Executive teams at Analytics Leaders were 10X more likely than executive teams at Analytic Laggards to spend more than 31% of their time discussing analytic activities. 

Talent Acquisition Remains a Fundamental Barrier

The survey found that nearly 60% of all respondents saying it was harder to acquire analytic talent versus other corporate positions.Consistent with other studies which have highlighted the growing shortage of analytics talent, McKinsey also found the problem exacerbating. An earlier study had found 48% saying analytic talent was harder to source than other positions.

Even leading analytics companies face challenges, with 24% indicating that their most pressing talent need was for "translators" – unicorns with both technical and domain expertise.

For more information about the McKinsey and Company research, you can access the complete article here:

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