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June 28, 2019

Report Highlights Widespread Shortcomings in Corporate Data Management


“The creation and use of data has become central to our lives,” writes Dr. Anthony Scriffignano, Chief Data Scientist at the commercial analytics company Dun & Bradstreet. The company commissioned research to explore the data experiences of over 500 businesses in the UK and U.S. – and the results reveal widespread shortcomings in building, leveraging, and organizing data in corporate environments.

The survey showed awareness of the benefits of data use in business: 60% or more of polled businesses said that data had helped to develop a more holistic view of business relationships, identify new opportunities for revenue growth, mitigate risks, and improve services. However, most businesses (56%) know that they have not leveraged the full potential of big data – and 47% admit that data has been treated as a “buzzword.” The report goes on to highlight specific areas of concern – data accuracy (25%), processing power (23%), data access, (20%) and timely data (18%). 

The picture became murkier still when businesses were asked to define the role with the most responsibility over data-related matters – 17% responded that they didn’t know which role would be most responsible for data matters in 2029. This is compounded by issues with the “fundamentals” of data: over 40% of businesses said they lacked sufficient technology, struggled with inaccurate data and had relegated data to their IT departments. A staggering 80% said they struggled to manage the volume, variety, and veracity of their data – a problem that may be exacerbated by the mere 25% that report having employees dedicated to data management.

Data concerns of business leaders over time (Dun & Bradstreet)

The report shows that these failures have had real costs: 15% report failing to sign a new contract due to flawed data and 19% report losing a customer due for the same reason. The latter statistic rises to 25% for business over 500 employees. A lack of data can also impact finances very directly – for example, by leading a business to offer excessive credit to customers or by the business incurring fines from data issues. Those fines are becoming a serious concern as GDPR and other smaller-scale regulations create more – and larger – pitfalls for businesses that are not careful about data management.

But business leaders also know that fixing these shortcomings offers real opportunities – 75% say it could lead to competitive advantage and 68% to more sales opportunities. This has a majority of business leaders reporting that data will become more important than business relationships in the future. 

Accessing those opportunities will necessitate serious action from most companies – particularly the 52% that lack any specific budget for data management. Companies report an eagerness to work with third-party data – 56% say that more would be valuable – as well as technologies like data management software (68%), machine learning (53%), blockchain (44%), and edge computing (42%).

Overall, the report shows a stark gap between the promises and potential of data and the current state of corporate data management. “Data has already changed the world,” the report reads, “but that change has really only just begun.”

To read the report discussed in this article, follow this link.