Saturday, 14th December 2019

Research finds a third of organisations say their leadership don’t understand the value of data

Research published by in-memory analytics database creator, Exasol reveals that while the majority of organisations (79%) have become more reliant on data in the past five years, 32% of UK business and IT decision makers think their business leaders don’t understand the role of data and the value it creates.

The Making the Enterprise Data Centric report found 80% of organisations are unable to function without their data sources, with 25% being totally reliant on data to drive daily operations and decision-making. The majority of organisations have become more reliant on data in the past 5 years, and 39% said they rely significantly more on data today. At the vanguard, 29% are actively pursuing a strategy to become more data-centric.

The report highlights resistance that many organisations face from their business leadership. It found a lack of board-level support for data initiatives has contributed to project failures in 23% of enterprises. This is perhaps unsurprising given 32% of business and IT decision makers surveyed in the UK said their business leaders didn’t understand the role of data played in their operations and the value it creates. Interestingly, this crucial success factor varied a lot between industries: In the energy sector 88% of those surveyed said they were confident their leadership had grasped the value of data – this was followed by manufacturing (71%), construction and property (67%) and financial services (61%).

Aaron Auld, CEO, Exasol, commented: “Organisations don’t become data-driven enterprises overnight – they first have to decide where to apply data analytics to meet this challenge. Manufacturers prioritise sales forecasting because it impacts decision making throughout their entire supply chain, and for energy companies future pricing decisions are paramount. Successful projects are always business-driven, and from this success at the core they can begin to transform their business by looking for more, and better, data to enhance that project and permeate data transformation down their value chain.”

Changes in regulation and business needs have catapulted certain C-level roles into the spotlight. Despite a trend towards CMO ownership of technology projects, this study found the CIOs are still the main owner of analytics in organisations (38%), followed by the CEO (22%) and the CTO (11%). There is particularly strong interest in data among CEOs in the UK (29%) when compared to Germany (14%). By contrast, in financial services where business intelligence (BI) has long informed every aspect of decision making, only 6% of CEOs own data analytics compared with 43% under the CIO. In all industries, CFO ownership of data is one the wane as BI is subsumed under data analytics.

The trend comes no surprise to Auld, who thinks there needs to be more education around the value of data: “Organisations can only deliver on their strategies to become more data-driven enterprises when business leaders understand the value of data. A crucial part of this is education and CIOs and data professionals have a vital role to play to ensure business leaders within the organisation are given easy access to information that helps them achieve their goals. This earns the understanding and cooperation that project-by-project data transformation requires.”

Only 1% of organisations currently regard themselves as a data-driven enterprise, but the majority of organisations aspire to be. The Making the Enterprise Data Centric report examines progress across industries and provides a snapshot of medium-large organisations and the challenges they face as they modernise their data strategies.

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