New research from KX reveals that a majority of firms (90 per cent) plan to increase investment in real-time analytics solutions over the next three to five years. Additionally, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of organizations believe having access to real-time data is critical to making smarter business decisions, while over three-quarters (78 per cent) say real-time data and insights are creating a competitive advantage for their business.

However, against this backdrop of understanding and agreement of the value of real-time analytics, the research strongly suggests that many businesses could be missing out on extracting the full value from their investments by not thinking fast enough when it comes to real-time decision making.

Canvassing the experiences of nearly 600 UK and US data professionals and IT decision makers working across multiple industry sectors, the study reveals that less than one third of firms are currently thinking at the second or sub-second level with 69 per cent believing that real-time means over a second. Moreover, just under half of that group believe real-time to mean anything upwards from an hour.

Kathy Schneider, CMO for KX, said: “While we’re seeing an increase in both the volume and complexity of data, we also know its value perishes over time. The findings show that many firms could benefit by reducing their data-driven decision-making window. We have customers across financial services, automotive, utilities and manufacturing that tell us operating at the second or sub-second level is a game changer for them in terms of improving operational performance and sharpening their competitive edge.”

Sub-second pacesetters

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 31 per cent of firms who define real-time as a second or faster feel more strongly about access to real-time data being very important for smarter business decision-making compared to the rest of the sample. These sub-second pacesetters also feel better prepared with the tools and resources needed to take advantage of real-time data analysis.

They are also much more likely to have a data-driven culture across their entire organization, rather than pockets of best practice. 62 per cent say they are continuously using insights extracted from data across multiple parts of their business for better decision making compared to just 42 per cent of the wider group.

Skills and Platforms Remain A Barrier

50 per cent of all firms in the study said that access to the technology needed to effectively capture data was the main barrier to smarter decision-making. However, this was only just ahead of having the right people or skill sets to manage data analytics. Interestingly, the sub-second pacesetters were far less likely to see access to real-time analytics technologies as being a barrier compared to the wider group.

Firms Are Managing Ever-Increasing Volumes and Varieties of Data

During 2020 nearly all businesses saw an increase in the volume, variety and velocity of data across their business. Network traffic data and ecommerce data unsurprisingly saw a significant increase, closely followed by sensor, customer, operations and financial data.

COVID-19 Experience Will Lead to Future Innovation

76 per cent of firms believe their experience managing increased data workloads due to COVID-19 will accelerate data innovation for their organization in future.

To help organizations gain maximum advantage from real-time data analytics, KX has published a playbook – The Microsecond Mindset – which offers a 5-step approach to building a culture and capability around real-time data analytics and continuous intelligence.

Read more of our news stories here!