October 26, 2011

Hiring of Analytical Talent Will Rise in 2012, Accenture and SAS Study Finds

More than half of companies surveyed will invest in business analytics as skills gap is revealed

The Premier Business Leadership Series, ORLANDO (October 26, 2011) – Investment in business analytics and analytical talent will rise in 2012, but organizations still have their work cut out for them when it comes to making projects effective and instilling the right analytical culture and skills, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and SAS.

Of the 258 North American business leaders surveyed by the Accenture SAS Analytics Group, 72 percent indicated they will increase spending on business analytics in 2012 as compared to 2011.

According to the survey, the top three priorities for investment are:

  Improving analytical skills of current employees (70 percent)
  Improving decision making processes (63 percent)
  Hiring analytical talent (52 percent)

“In the past, investment in analytics has come in the form of traditional, tangible improvements from the latest technology, process improvements and changes to an organization’s structure,” said Stacy Blanchard, Talent and Organization Lead for Analytics at Accenture. “But without parallel investment to align leadership, develop the necessary capabilities, ready the talent and build a culture where better and faster decisions, powered by analytics, are part of the DNA, businesses will inevitably hit a roadblock and miss the real opportunity that exists. It’s encouraging to see that executives are beginning to realize this.”

As indicated by IDC’s 2011-2015 forecast report, “Vendors and users will have to devote more resources to business analytics services. These will include internal services provided by IT and analytics staff, business analytics strategy development and project management, and training of all relevant end users. As more organizations with less business analytics experience are becoming interested in this technology, vendors will need to provide more guidance to these users beyond simply selling them technology.”

This recommendation is underscored by the 60 percent of respondents saying they are missing the right analytical business skills, technical skills or both. Furthermore, with inadequate analytical skills cited as the main reason more than a quarter of respondents described their analytical projects as underperforming, it is not surprising that organizations will look to increase investment in analytics talent and education in the near future.

“Organizations often struggle to build a culture that supports data-driven decisions and embed the right leadership and skills at all levels, despite the benefits of doing so,” said Russ Cobb, SAS Vice President of Alliances and Marketing. “This research shows that companies are beginning to recognize the importance of instilling such an analytical culture, a key mission for the Accenture SAS Analytics Group.”

Just 22 percent of respondents indicated that business analytics is integrated across their entire organization, with 46 percent noting that business analytics was used only in some business units and divisions.

Interestingly, 42 percent of the companies who said they integrate analytics across their entire organization believe their analytics are “very effective”. In contrast, of the companies who only use analytics in certain business units or divisions, only 13 percent feel their analytics are “very effective.”

The study revealed a direct correlation between perceived effectiveness of analytics and integration of analytics within the organization. To bridge this gap, Accenture SAS Analytics Group introduced at this week’s Analytics 2011 conference a repository of resources for every level of customer organizations – from business leaders embedding analytics into the organization to analysts who execute the strategy and vision. These resources, including eLearning, facilitator-led sessions, highly-customized workshops, and knowledge capital and performance support, will help identify trouble spots and implement predictive analytics enterprise-wide.

The Accenture SAS Analytics Group combines Accenture’s extensive industry and functional business knowledge with SAS’ market-leading analytics solutions and capabilities, helping senior executives who want to gain practical insights from their data, make better decisions and improve their business outcomes.

Today’s announcement came at The Premier Business Leadership Series event in Orlando, a thought-leadership conference presented by SAS that brings together more than 600 senior-level attendees from the public and private sectors to share ideas on critical business issues.Attendees have the opportunity to attend an Accenture SAS Analytics Group workshop on 27 October to learn more about how to build an analytical organization.

About the Research

The study is based on a survey among 258 business professionals in North America from a broad range of industries. Sixty-three percent of the respondents work for organizations with 10,000 or more employees. Detailed research findings will be available later this year.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 236,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®. SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2011 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.



Aleks Vujanic
Tel: +44 (0)207 844 3476
Mob: +44 (0)7786 635920aleks.vujanic@accenture.com

Shannon Heath


Tel: + 1 919 531 2676

Mob: + 1 919 412 1307