The proliferation of data in the modern world has become central to our lives. An increasingly immeasurable acceleration in the amount of information available, and the rise of new digital technologies have brought us to a pivotal moment in the evolution of using data in the enterprise.
Whether it’s an AI approach that selects the most relevant news stories, behavioural insight used for customer segmentation or financial insight to assess the credit worthiness of potential customers, inference from data is everywhere, informing both our personal and business activities.
Data management is something that every business – across every sector – needs to perfect to gain competitive advantage and deliver organisation-wide value. With so much data available, it’s critical to identify what information is useful and to decipher relevant insight, or we risk becoming overwhelmed with information. The skills that were sufficient are no longer enough, we need to evolve our thinking and our methods to keep pace.
The increasing availablility of new technologies such as machine learning, which allows us to derive information at increasing scale, to the Internet of Things, which delivers new types of information, is making data management even more critical.
In the next decade, businesses must perfect their data strategies to realise the new opportunities of the increasingly digital world, or risk being left behind altogether. Dun & Bradstreet’s recent report, based on a survey of over 500 U.K. and U.S. business leaders, found that two thirds of respondents felt data was key to their future success.
However, there seems to be a disconnect between the value respondents place on data and their ability to realise the full value. More than half (56%) of respondents admitted that they have not yet realised the full potential of data and 55% said that they have not maximised the power of data to gain a competitive advantage.
Failing to get to grips with data management has very real consequences for the organisations surveyed. For example, 20 percent of respondents said they had lost a customer due to using incomplete or inaccurate information about them and 17 percent admitted to offering too much credit due to a lack of the right financial data.
Part of the problem may lie in ownership and responsibility. Over forty percent of respondents said that no-one in their business was responsible for the management of data and half said that data within their organisation was too siloed to make sense of it. This absence of ownership may also be why 52 percent of those surveyed said they haven’t had the budget to implement data management practices.
Whatever is holding businesses back from effective management of data, this situation is something that needs to be addressed in order to realise the full value of the information they hold on prospects, customers, suppliers and partners.