New TDWI Research Report Explores What It Takes to be Data-Driven

Report reveals best practices of enterprises that are data-driven and documents three strategies to help all enterprises make decisions based on data, not gut instinct.

Seattle, WA, Jan. 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TDWI Research has released its newest Best Practices Report, What it Takes to Be Data-Driven: Technologies and Practices for Becoming a Smarter Organization. This original, survey-based report looks at how far along enterprises are on their way to making data-based decisions, what barriers they face, and what best practices can make them successful. The report examines technology, analytics, and organizational strategies, illustrating many key points with real-world use cases.

The leading feature among those surveyed is that nearly a third claim they are not close to their data-driven goals, while a similar number believe they are becoming more so. One popular strategy to reach their goal is to democratize analytics, including using self-service visualization tools to help business analysts and business users get the insights they need to drive their decisions.

Co-authors Fern Halper, vice president and senior director of TDWI Research for advanced analytics, and David Stodder, senior director of TDWI Research for business intelligence point out that many enterprises are using tools such as self-service data preparation and advanced analytics (including predictive analytics) to improve their decision-making processes. “Becoming data-driven is both an organizational ambition and an imperative that involves culture as well as technology,” Halper says. “It is about using data to take decisive action in addition to building relationships and trust around the data and how people look at the data and perform analytics.”

The report also delves into the tools and techniques of analytics and data management, such as automation, self-service data discovery, data lakes, and NoSQL. The authors also look at the barriers to becoming data-driven, from lack of executive support and data integration challenges to lack of worker skill and data governance.

Report Highlights

This comprehensive report reveals:

  • Budgets for data-driven initiatives are expected to rise over the next three years at 76% of enterprises surveyed
  • Overall satisfaction with the accuracy of data-driven insights is 64%; however, only 11% of respondents are satisfied that they are measuring the right number of metrics; and only 18% are satisfied with their ability to personalize dashboard visualizations and data access
  • Only one-third of respondents are using BI and analytics technologies for predictive analytics; 20% are using BI and analytics technologies to perform what-if simulations

Halper and Stodder conclude with a variety of suggestions and best practices that can guide user organizations through their journey to becoming data-driven. For example, they suggest enterprises bring big data platforms and data warehousing together into a single strategy, apply analytics to performance management, and provide users with incentives and training to secure their buy-in. This research was sponsored by Hortonworks, Looker, SAP, and SAS.

About the Authors

Fern Halper, Ph.D., is vice president and senior director of TDWI Research for advanced analytics. She is well known in the analytics community, having been published hundreds of times on data mining and information technology over the past 20 years. Halper is also coauthor of several Dummies books on cloud computing and big data. She focuses on advanced analytics, including predictive analytics, text and social media analysis, machine learning, AI, cognitive computing and big data analytics approaches. She has been a partner at industry analyst firm Hurwitz & Associates and a lead data analyst for Bell Labs. Her Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. You can reach her by email (, on Twitter (, and on LinkedIn (

David Stodder is senior director of TDWI Research for business intelligence. He focuses on providing research-based insights and best practices for organizations implementing BI, analytics, data discovery, data visualization, performance management, and related technologies and methods and has been a thought leader in the field for over two decades. Previously, he headed up his own independent firm and served as vice president and research director with Ventana Research. He was the founding chief editor of Intelligent Enterprise where he also served as editorial director for nine years. You can reach him by email (, on Twitter (@dbstodder), and on LinkedIn (

About TDWI

For 20 years, TDWI has provided individuals and teams with a comprehensive portfolio of business and technical education and research about all things data. TDWI’s in-depth, best-practices-based knowledge can be quickly applied to develop world-class talent across your organization’s business and IT functions to enhance analytical, data-driven decision making. TDWI offers six major conferences as well as topical seminars, onsite education, membership, certification, live webinars, resource-filled publications, industry news, and in-depth research. Visit or follow us on Twitter @TDWI.


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