Senior executives might have woken up to the power of data-driven methods but the majority are encountering resistance, not from the board but from the workforce, who are concerned about its impact on their futures.
A survey carried out for Exasol, the analytics database, reveals that over three-fifths (63%) of staff are reluctant to embrace data, with anxiety over job redundancy (39%), a lack of understanding (39%), and a lack of education on the positive impact data can have (36%) being cited as the main issues.
The report, "Data strategy and culture: Paving the way to the cloud", is based on a global survey of 2,000 data decision makers from the four key markets of the UK, the US, Germany and China.
It reveals that part of the problem of data acceptance lies in the fact that two-fifths (40%) of respondents admit that data strategy is not being driven by anyone in the business. This lack of clear direction and communication about the benefits of a data-driven approach hinders employees’understanding and hampers business growth, the study claims.
Exasol market intelligence lead Helena Schwenk said: "At a time when data analytics is becoming mission-critical to businesses, there is a need for organisations to have a clear data-driven strategy that all employees and stakeholders can buy into.
"This is the catalyst to achieving a shift in culture that a data-driven strategy demands as every employee will come to understand that, rather than threaten jobs, an effective data strategy that encourages the democratisation of data, opens the door to exciting new career opportunities and progression."
Legacy IT infrastructures were also cited as an obstacle to democratising data by nearly four-fifths (79%) of respondents. Anything that prevents organisations from opening up access to data across the business can thwart efforts to become data driven, leading to uncertainty.
The report points out that democratising data gives employees across every business function access to customised up-to-date reporting on key business metrics relevant to their job, which empowers them and involves them more in the business.
Positively, 44% respondents believe that a cloud model could make it easier to democratise data across an organisation. Of those who have already moved data workloads to the cloud, positive impacts include faster query/response times (47%), improved ease of access and shareability of data (42%) and faster development of new data applications (41%).
Schwenk added: "Data analytics needs to be seen as a contributor to the day-to-day business. Data democratisation makes data an open and useful asset rather than a gated and confusing resource that’s only accessed by a few. If implemented in the correct way, this will change UK workers’ perceptions of data and see them turning data into business value faster than ever before."