Businesses rely on spreadsheets to handle data volumes

Businesses rely on spreadsheets to handle data volumes

Alteryx, an analytics automation company, shows in a study with market research firm IDC that around 62.4 billion man-hours are lost worldwide every year for data and analysis – the equivalent of almost 100,000 lives.

Although data and its analyzes form the basis for a digital company, 95 percent of companies have difficulties in deriving insights from the masses of data. The commissioned study shows how complexity, limitations, skills gaps and lack of automation impair productivity.

Challenges in democratizing data and analytics

Although 70 percent of companies say they want to be more data-driven today than they were before the pandemic, 88 percent of respondents still face technology limitations. Almost all (95%) reported being unable to contain the flow of data — instead reporting being overwhelmed with the amount of data. Of the 78 million experienced users worldwide, data-savvy workers say they lose 800 hours a year because 61 percent of their work is still done with outdated spreadsheets.

Other key findings from the study include:

A lack of automation hurts the productivity of data professionals. Of the 61 percent who work exclusively with spreadsheets, a quarter (27%) spend their time repeating the same or similar steps each time a data source is updated. This corresponds to an average of seven hours per week.

The data and analytics experience has gaps. Because: 91 percent of companies report gaps in data and analysis knowledge. Advanced analytical skills are at the top of the list, with nearly half of respondents (44%) citing gaps in descriptive and predictive data analysis and machine learning in their organization.

The complexity of data and analytics underscores the need for data skills and modern technology. For example, data professionals process highly decentralized, diverse, and dynamic data at scale, from an average of four individual sources per analysis, and 6.6 million sets of data, to ultimately deliver an average of four analytics for consumption.

“While data and analytics are shaping the future, data literacy continues to be a challenge for organizations around the world,” said Stewart Bond, research director, data integration and data intelligence software, at IDC. “Data professionals today expect to spend a majority of their time on data science and application development, rather than on simple prep and analysis tasks. However, skills shortages and inadequate tools are preventing this progress. To be successful, companies must prioritize the democratization of data and analytics. This only works by putting the right tools in the right hands – with solutions that offer unified and automated data preparation and analysis.”

“Relying on spreadsheets for data processing is like trying to power a spaceship with a calculator. Organizations now need to reduce the complexity of data and analytics while providing the right tools,” said Suresh Vittal, Chief Product Officer at Alteryx. “With 100,000 lives wasted annually in data analysis, the time has come for a paradigm shift.”

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