This is one of the most exciting periods of change facing the industry that I can remember. Companies are waking up to the fact that effective data management not only improves efficiency, it also boosts the bottom line. In fact, our latest research shows that if UK organisations with 250+ employees fully harnessed the revenue generating potential of their data by better managing information, the total financial boost to UK PLC would be at least £8 billion.
A number of key trends will transform the way companies harness the power of effective data management in the months ahead: the transition of address management from a silo operation in the IT department to a core function at the heart of the business; the need for a company to compete effectively to gain a real and singular sight of their customers and prospects; and the growth of data management services as a proposition in its own right.
That address management is breaking out of its IT silo is evidenced by research we commissioned recently from Dynamic Markets. It showed that 85 per cent of companies now have a documented data strategy - almost double the proportion from the previous year - demonstrating that data is now a board level issue.
Our research shows that companies are increasingly seeing the full range of benefits that a sound data strategy can deliver right across the business and beyond the immediate confines of the IT department – from informing business decisions and making the most of market opportunities through customer profiling, to protecting brand reputation and managing customer service.
Despite the economic climate, companies are still investing in their data management systems. In fact, over a quarter (28 per cent) plan to invest more in data quality over the next six months, creating a virtuous circle of continuous investment in and revenue generation from effective data management.
At the heart of this is a desire to achieve a single customer view – to build the most complete picture possible of each and every customer so that you can communicate with them in the most effective way possible way and thereby building brand loyalty. Achieving a single customer view demands that all customer and prospect interactions with your company are joined up. That needs a company-wide strategy and a company-wide team. Data management needs to break out of the silo.
Xerox your data management plan
As more and more companies are grasping the opportunities that effective data management opens up, the challenges of crafting a single customer view become more apparent. As data management migrates from being an operation confined to the IT department to a core function that permeates right across the business, confusion can set in about who actually “owns” data management. Similarly, while many people across the business value the insights and competitive edge that data driven insight can deliver, far fewer will have the time or inclination to get involved in the actual management of the data itself.
These two factors are driving the trend towards data management services as a proposition. This is a massive growth opportunity for a business like Experian QAS. In many ways, in crafting propositions around stand-out service, the data management industry is starting to mirror other sectors where differentiation between products is limited. Take the Xerox model, for example, where the majority of contracts are based on service offering – and where the result has been a 96 per cent customer retention rate. Service and consultancy are the new playing fields where companies like ours will compete.