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June 22, 2021

Data Integrity a Major Concern, Precisely Says

Companies are facing considerable headwinds when it comes to their analytics and AI strategies, particularly when it comes to the data, according to Precisely’s new report, titled “Data Integrity Trends: Chief Data Officer Perspectives in 2021,” which it unveiled today.

For starters, data teams are spending an average of 40% of their time on data cleaning, integration, and preparation, Precisely’s survey found, with some CDOs reporting spending up to 80% of their time at that task. Four out of five CDOs say data quality concerns are a barrier to data integration projects, while 65% indicate they would only trust data-driven insights that confirm their existing gut feel.

“There’s a genuine sense of urgency as businesses in all industries and all regions engage in significant digital transformation initiatives,” Amy O’Connor, Precisely’s chief data and information officer, says in a press release. “However, these programs must be built on a foundation of data integrity if they are to be successful.”

It’s not all doom and data gloom, however. Nearly nine out of 10 CDOs surveyed by Corinium Global Intelligence on behalf of Precisely said they’ve started building automation into their data management processes. Nearly two thirds (63%) of the CDOs say customer experience demands are driving their data investments in 2021, indicating their responsiveness to customers. Almost 60% say that scaling AI or advanced analytics initiatives is a priority, with firms in telecommunications, financial services, and retail leading the way.

Gut instincts are strong, according to Precisely’s Data Integrity Trends report

However, there was a tinge of concern detected in the Data Integrity Trends report, which appears set to be a recurring feature for Precisely, the Pearl River, New York company formerly known as Syncsort.

Overall, progress in data and analytics initiatives appears to be a mixed bag, with considerable differences among companies based on their industries, and less difference depending on geography.

On the one hand, 61% of CDOs say their organizations’ have been “quite successful or very successful” when it comes to with implementing core data management and governance programs. About 55% said they were quite or very successful promoting data literacy, and the same percentage said the same about “establishing and maintaining a base of trusted data for analytics.”

But on the other hand, However, 42% of companies report “mixed” or “disappointing results” in their attempts to do implement a base of trusted data for analytics, a figure that jumps to 50% in financial services. Only about a third of survey respondents say their colleagues will trust data-driven insights that run contrary to their own intuitions, indicating there is still substantial work to do.

“If people don’t trust the insights, they’re not going to act on them, especially when the insights conflict with their so-called gut reaction,” says Dan Power, who has the title of managing director of data governance, global markets for financial services at State Street bank. “Solving this challenge is partly about trying to work backwards from the statement of, ‘I don’t trust the results.’”

On the data integrity front, more than 80% of CDOs report data quality concerns are “very challenging” or “quite challenging,” the report says, with a slightly smaller percentage of CDOs reporting difficulty in building real-time data pipelines. Skills continue to be a big concern, with nearly 90% of CDOs saying the skills issue was very or quite challenging.

The sources of CDOs’ data quality concerns (courtesy Precisely’s Data Integrity Trends report)

It would appear that data usage is widening, with three out of five CDOs say breaking down data silos are a priority over the next 12 to 24 months. On average, companies have adopted 27 third-party data sources used, according to the data; the highest number of third-party data sources was 90. About three out of four CDOs report that dealing with multiple data sources and complex data formats is “very” or “quite challenging.”

More than a third of CDOs say their organizations are making extensive use of data quality process automation solutions, such as the type that Precisely sells, while about 50% make limited use. Only 12% of CDOs report using no automation tools when it comes to data quality, the report says.

“The biggest killer of data governance programs is lack of automation,” State Street’s Power says in the report. “Data quality tool vendors, whether they’re integrated into a data management catalog or not, need to do better at incorporating AI and ML techniques.”

You can access the full 25-page report here.

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