At New Relic, we interact with data nerds on a daily basis. We know they exist in different companies and industries, and in different roles with different responsibilities. But we were curious: Who embraces data the most? Is there a particular department that’s considered the data nerd-iest? And what about industry for that matter?

The answers to those questions and more are revealed in our latest survey report, which examines the state of data-driven culture in software organizations. Using Twitter and email to reach potential respondents in December 2015, New Relic surveyed hundreds of companies in 22 different industries to see where they stand in their data journey.

So who gets to wear the data nerd crown?

Department with the biggest data nerds: Software development

When asked which department at their company uses data most effectively, 30% of survey respondents reported that software development is the most data-savvy department, followed by marketing at 21% and IT operations at 17%. Respondents identifying themselves as product management believe that both marketing and software development use data equally well.

There was a certain amount of bias towards a respondent’s own department, with people in IT operations, marketing, and software development all reporting that their own departments use data most effectively. For those respondents self-identified as marketers, 60% named their own department as the most effective user of data. Software development and IT operations were a bit more modest, with each group citing their own department as the best data users 41% of the time.

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Departments using data most effectively to make decisions

Industries with the biggest data nerds: Real estate and tech/telecom

We also asked respondents how they believed they stacked up against their competition when it comes to using data. Respondents were fairly evenly split between feeling superior to or about the same as their competitors (26% compared to 24%). Nearly a third (28%) didn’t know how their companies compared to the competition.

Responses varied depending on company size and industry, among other factors. When slicing the data by industry, we found that companies in education, media and publishing, real estate, and tech/telecom were more likely to report that they are superior to the competition when it comes to using data, with real estate and tech/telecom showing the greatest levels of confidence.

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Industries with companies reporting that they use data better than competitors

Want to find out what else we learned?

Be sure to read the entire survey report, “A Deep Dive into Data Culture,” or check out this infographic we made highlighting some of the key findings.

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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