The vast majority of businesses (59%) have yet to embrace data sharing practices, even though they increasingly recognise the benefits.
According to a new study by the Open Data Institute and YouGov, just 27% of firms – including microbusinesses, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and large organisations – are sharing information.
The results of the survey show that larger companies tend to have a better understanding of the fact that competitive markets and complex supply chains require businesses to share data to drive innovation and create efficiencies.
Only 7% of large companies said they had no data strategy, compared to 40% of SMEs. The results also show significant differences in data readiness across different sectors. The best equipped sectors are finance and accounting (where 82% have a data strategy); IT and telecommunications (81%); and legal (74%). The least prepared sector is engineering and design, where just 36% of polled businesses have a data strategy.
For those who do share data, the top three benefits were cited as being improved collaboration with stakeholders and partners (38%); better service and product delivery (36%), and legal compliance (34%).
The key groups with whom organisations currently share data are: business partners (49%), regulators (40%), customers (37%), industry bodies (34%), and national government bodies (30%).
Data sharing patterns with third parties similarly vary across sectors. Organisations in engineering (58%), manufacturing (51%), retail (61%) and IT & telecommunications (49%) share data with business partners. Only 13% of retailers share data with customers, while media and marketing are most likely to share data with business partners (69%).
This finding echoes a report co-authored by the ODI and Dunnhumby, which highlights the advantages of data sharing in the retail industry. By proactively informing shoppers about their data rights and how data-driven services benefit them, organisations can build trust and strengthen loyalty, which will create greater buy-in from shoppers for data-enabled innovation.
ODI director of delivery Leigh Dodds said: “UK companies are still lagging behind in realising the significant value of sharing data. Yet the respondents who have shared data report the same range of benefits as our research into case studies and our report clearly demonstrate. It is therefore important that businesses are made aware of the advantages and incentivised to open or share the data they already collect in trustworthy ways.
“Professional bodies, regulators and industry groups also have an important role to play and must convene businesses and explore the benefits of sharing data and encourage collaboration. UK businesses are at risk of being left behind in the global market if they do not find ways to share data and leverage it to innovate.”