To be ready for the future, businesses will need to develop ambitious data strategies. This is the conclusion of ‘The Past, Present, and Future of Data,’ a new report from Dun and Bradstreet.
This means dedicating time and resources to data management as well as investing in technology to collect, analyse and use data.
Dun & Bradstreet commissioned Censuswide to survey 510 business decision makers from across different industries and company sizes in March 2019 from just two countries, the UK and the US.
Many respondents stated that over the last decade, data has helped their businesses considerably, with 63% saying that data has helped to identify opportunities for revenue growth. The same percentage also said that data has helped to identify and mitigate business risks, and again the same percentage said that data has improved the service it provides to customers.
Despite the benefits, there have been obstacles in the way to business success through data, with 46% saying they didn’t have the right technology to take advantage of data and 42% saying that they suffered as a result of having inaccurate data. One issue that is often raised by the data community is where data should sit within a business with 45% of respondents said they found it challenging that data was in the domain of the IT department rather than the business.
These obstacles have consequences for the bottom line with 19% of business decision makers saying they had lost customers because of having incomplete or inaccurate information about them and the same percentage saying their financial forecasts had been incorrect.
Respondents were asked which C-suite executive were and would be responsible for data-related matters in their business over time. The answers reveal uncertainty with the percentage stating ‘I don’t know’ at 9% for 2019, but rising to 17% for 2029. One in five said the CEO was responsible for data in 2019 but dropping to 17% in 2029. Curiously, ‘chief data officer’ was not presented as a possible answer.
For one in five, access to data was a concern, sharing data between teams and functions was an issue for 18% and linking data in the organisation was a problem for 17%. GDPR and compliance legislation is a big worry for a third of those surveyed.
There is plenty of slack to take up with 56% saying their business has not realised the full potential of data and 55% have said they have not yet maximized the power of data to gain a competitive advantage. Half of the respondents say their business won’t survive without top-quality data and 67% say they are excited about the potential of data to help grow their businesses.
Over the next 12 months, business leaders plan to use more machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and edge computing, while some predict a decrease in their use of data management software.
The report authors added that businesses should consider using the support of third-party data resources to supplement their information with up-to-date insights. Dun & Bradstreet is a data and analytics company that works with businesses.