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Forbes Insights and EY

Data & Advanced Analytics in Canada

Canadian Enterprises Show Strengths — and Gaps — in Advanced Analytics Maturity

We’re pleased to offer our latest research on how Canadian organizations are using data and advanced analytics to compete and win. In this new study, EY and Forbes Insights conducted a survey of 1,518 global executives at large enterprises, including 110 Canadian executives. The survey finds that leading organizations are placing greater strategic importance on advanced analytics and are investing in people and resources to embed advanced analytics more deeply into business decision-making.

In some respects, Canadian businesses are ahead of their global peers in terms of advanced analytics adoption. In fact, 97% of Canadian respondents report some sort of analytics strategy in place. Of those, 22% say there is some analytics strategy for functions or lines of business; 22% say their analytics strategy is established for the enterprise, but not fully aligned across the business; 32% say their analytics strategy is established and starting to be viewed as a key strategic priority; while 17% say their analytics strategy is well established and central to their overall business strategy.

When asked how data and analytics is impacting their business strategy/competitive differentiation, 32% say it’s prompted them to change some aspects of their business strategy, while another 32% say they are in the process of changing it. Meanwhile, 14% say they have already used data and analytics to completely change their business strategy and how they compete.

Despite the attention Canadian companies have placed on advanced analytics, there is still more work to be done to benefit from the value of these programs. According to 37% of Canadian respondents, designing advanced analytics programs/projects/initiatives is the biggest challenge to their company’s ability to create more value with data and analytics.

In addition, Canadians are less likely than their global peers to have advanced analytics strategies that are viewed as a key strategic priority. In fact, only 17% of Canadian executives say their analytics strategy is well-established and central to the overall business strategy. Some of the top challenges to developing or refining the business strategy to account for data and analytics include organization/culture decision-making that is based more on intuition than data, regulatory constraints, lack of budget and other forms of organization commitment, and lack of collaboration/alignment among members of the management committee.

EY Forbes Insights - The Role of Data and Analytics in the Business Strategy?

According to the study, Canadian executives are also behind their global peers in terms of being able to apply analytics at the earliest stages of the business-development process and are struggling to measure the results of these advanced analytics programs. Even when data is available, senior business leaders are not consistently leveraging data and analytics in their decision-making to design and execute strategies. This puts Canadian organizations behind their global peers, hindering their ability to compete on the global stage.

Canadian leaders must do more to close the gap and use advanced analytics insights in order to make the evidence-based case for change and fully capitalize on the strategic benefits of data-driven business initiatives.

Contact us to discuss what leading Canadian organizations are doing to create a competitive advantage using analytics, and how we can help you.


Alex Mohelsky
Partner & National Analytics Practice Leader
EY Canada


Executive Summary

Canadian Enterprises Show Strengths — and Gaps — in Advanced Analytics Maturity

Data and advanced analytics are taking on greater strategic importance for enterprises throughout the world — nowhere more so than in Canada. Across all industrial sectors—from financial services to telecommunications to provincial governments — leading organizations are investing in people and resources to embed advanced analytics more deeply into business decision-making.

Many Canadian organizations are ahead of global peers in these efforts, according to new research by Forbes Insights and EY. The survey polled 1518 global executives at large enterprises, including 110 Canadian executives. The research revealed ambitious data strategies. “What’s new today is our capabilities for advanced analytics, including predictive modeling,” says Christine Grimm, senior executive director for investment and decision support within Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness. “This will enable us to link data sets that have not been linked before to influence future outcomes.”

The survey found that a solid percentage of Canadian organizations rank as data leaders—as a result, they benefit from well-established analytics strategies and see growth in operating margins and revenues of 15% or more, respectively, along with significant improvement in their risk profile.

EY Forbes Insights - Analytics Linkages

In total, 11% of Canadian organizations see themselves as market leading in terms of their competitive ability to use advanced analytics. This level is higher than what global executives report overall. One explanation is that budget constraints and poor collaboration among management committees — two common roadblocks — are not as significant in Canada as in other parts of the world. Similarly, senior leaders in Canadian organizations are more willing to base decisions on advanced analytics rather than using intuition exclusively. But the findings also show a significant number of Canadian organizations share pain-points and roadblocks seen in other parts of the world. Canadians are less likely than their global peers to have advanced analytics strategies that are being viewed as a key strategic priority. Even fewer — only 17% — say these strategies are well-established and central to overall business strategy. This puts Canadian organizations behind others in two categories that are key differentiators for advanced analytics maturity.

Other gaps include not being able to apply advanced analytics at the earliest stages of the business-development process and struggling to measure the results of analytics programs.

Canadian firms must do more to build on their advantages in collaboration to close these and other gaps. When they do, more organizations will attain global leadership status and fully capitalize on the strategic benefits of data-driven business initiatives.

The Data & Advanced Analytics Maturity Rankings

The results of a global survey conducted by EY and Forbes Insights found clear differences among enterprises at various levels of analytics maturity.

Leading: 7%

Their analytics strategy is well-established and central to the overall business strategy. Their current state of competitive ability in data and analytics is market-leading.

Challenging: 45%

Their analytics strategy is established and starting to be viewed as a key strategy.

Developing: 38%

Analytics strategy is established for specific lines of business, but it’s not fully aligned across the enterprise.

Lagging: 10%

Lagging organizations lack an analytics vision or strategy at this time. They rate themselves well behind competitors in some areas.


EY Forbes Insights - Why Maturity Matters