Algorithms, big data, analytics and business intelligence: the major Italian companies are rushing to make investments. The figure will exceed one billion this year, with a one fifth increase compared to 2016: the market is still dominated by big companies that account for 87% of the total expenditure, while SMEs account for 13%, albeit increasing by 18% year on year. These are only some of the data emerging from the Big Data Analytics & Business Intelligence Observatory of the School of Management of the Polytechnic University of Milan. The research project, which involved more than 1,100 CIOs, IT managers and c-level managers of other departments from medium-sized and large organizations, gives the picture of an industry which, in its executive functions, views Business Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics as the main investment priority for 2018.
Such increased awareness on the part of Italian companies can be seen also in the rising number of experts employed: almost one out of two companies has already hired one or more data scientists, passing from 31% in 2016 to 45% this year. The transformation of Italian companies into "Big Data enterprises" will nonetheless take some time: only 17% of them have reached a good level of maturity (against 8% in 2016), while 26% are currently reconfiguring their organizational processes and the majority (55%) are still anchored to a traditional organizational model.
The area of greatest interest to companies is that of predictive analytics, namely advanced techniques that make predictions about market evolution and strategies, already used in 73% of cases (against 59% in 2016). As for prescriptive analytics, instead, namely advanced techniques that suggest solutions based on the analyses performed, Italian industries are still lagging behind: they are present only in 33% of the major companies. But which sectors invest the most in this kind of techniques? First of all, banks (28%), followed by the manufacturing industry (24%), telcos and media (14%), Public Administration and health (7%), services (8%), mass distribution (7%), utilities (6%) and insurance (6%).
What are the benefits of investing in business intelligence? According to 70% of respondents, improved customer engagement, increased sales (68%), reduced time to market (66%), broader range of new products and services and optimised offer to increase margins (64% each), lower costs (57%) and new markets (41%).