Data professionals waste half their time on futile activities and repeated efforts

Pointing at clock

Analytics and data science is having a major impact on the commercial world, but a new report shows that data professionals are wasting half of their time each week finding, protecting, or preparing data -- costing organizations significant amounts of money.

The research commissioned by self-service analytics company Alteryx, and conducted by IDC, surveyed 400-plus individuals performing data functions across North America and Europe.

It finds data analysts spend 60 percent of their time generating insights, but just 27 percent of that time is spent on actual analysis. The remainder is spent searching for and preparing data. These data workers waste 30 percent of their time -- an average of 14 hours per week -- because they can't find, protect or prepare data. They waste another 20 percent of their time -- 10 hours per week -- building information assets that already exist. So, in total, they lose half of their time every week on unsuccessful activities or repeated efforts.

These inefficiencies are estimated to cost US organizations $1.7 million per year for every 100 employees, and European organizations €1.1 million per year for every 100 employees.

"It is evident that many professionals are not aware of what resources are available within data assets like data lakes, how to access the data, where it came from, or how to glean trusted insights," says Langley Eide, chief strategy officer at Alteryx. "Unless organizations make changes to their infrastructure now, and close the gaps on data discovery, integrity and cataloging, processes will only become more inefficient as data volume and variety continues to grow."

While over 80 percent of businesses say data discovery is important in areas like policy compliance and risk reduction, many say they aren't where they want to be. Between 30 and 45 percent identify a gap between reality and importance in areas including accountability, timeliness and content.

"Data discovery is important to all aspects of business, from operations efficiency to compliance to risk reduction, revenue growth, and beyond," says Stewart Bond, director of data integration and integrity software research at IDC. "Knowledge of how, where and why data is used, by whom, and what information already exists will help data professionals refrain from repeating efforts, increase personal productivity and free-up time for more advanced analytics."

You can find out more in the full report which is available at the Alteryx website.

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