Russell Reynolds Associates: Perspectives on Talent, Culture and Organizational Impact of Data and Analytics

At Russell Reynolds Associates, they are seeing an increase in transformational roles like chief data officer and chief analytics officer at the world’s largest companies, driven from a need to become more data savvy. Data is changing business models and will be the single biggest influence on future talent needs in the next few years.

Russell Reynolds Associates has been speaking with some of the most senior commercial leaders across a range of consumer-led industries. Their aim in this process was to understand how data is being used and to what effect, what impact this is having on leadership from the board downward, and what the impact is on the talent and capabilities within the organization, both now and for the future.

Their findings show that companies that are leveraging data focus on innovation with well-defined outcomes. They are also looking hard at the structure and behavior of their functional teams, as data brings down traditional functional barriers. Data often shifts power in organizations, but this must not disrupt its ability to execute.

Everyone who participated in the interview process agreed on two key points: 1) that applied data and analytics will lead to significant changes in the way they do business within a five-year horizon and 2) that there are still major obstacles to overcome in order to fully realize the potential of data and analytics within their business.

Given that, dynamic engagement and understanding at the board level are critical to make the decisions and investment needed to fully realize the benefits of a data-driven organization. This flows down the organization and its culture and impacts the most important skills and competencies of the leader who will successfully and sustainably transform the organization.

In 2013, Russell Reynolds Associates saw the first senior-level executives being recruited in North America who were dedicated to data and analytics. This was a reaction to the complexity, risk and opportunity that data represents for most organizations. This is a trend that has followed in Europe but at a much slower pace, with the subject only recently being elevated to the boardroom.

Organizations across all sectors are beginning to understand the value of leveraging data and analytics. The steps from understanding to implementing to creating visible value are not straightforward and require changes throughout the organization.

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