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The Q4 2018 MMI survey was used to explore digital transformation among middle market companies. Companies that are more advanced in digital transformation, we learned, grow substantially faster on average than laggards. This quarter, we learned that a strategic vision for digital transformation supports superior growth. (See Perspectives)

But we also learned that the details of digitalization can drive growth as powerfully as the strategic vision, by asking a series of questions about analytics. The headline: Companies whose executives consider analytics to be extremely important are 25% more likely to have achieved double-digit last year than the average middle market company. Three out of ten of these companies grew 10% or more.

The use of analytics appears to be part of a trend in which spending on IT is increasingly focused on customer-facing activities, including understanding who’s-buying-what with more precision and detail than was possible before. That is not to say that back-office digital capabilities are being neglected. Indeed, security systems are most critical technologies, executives say—but salesforce management and analytics are not far behind. It appears that the largest middle market companies (annual revenues $100 million to $1 billion) are leading the charge. The biggest firms are almost twice as likely to say analytics is an extremely or very important technology capability than smaller middle market companies are.