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Business leaders failing to use data for critical business decisions

By Shannon Williams
Fri 14 May 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

While business leaders know the importance of data to an organisation, more than a third are not using it to make critical business decisions, according to new research.

The survey, from data integration and integrity firm Talend, highlighted the challenges businesses face in becoming data-driven organisations and the solutions to these challenges. 

The research showed that while is it clear business leaders know how important data is, two-thirds report that they use data every day (76% of APAC respondents), yet 78% of these leaders say they face challenges in using their data (96% of APAC respondents), and more than a third say they simply aren't using it to make the majority of their decisions (35% of APAC respondents). 

"There's a difference between data-saturated and data-driven," Talend says.

"Companies have more access to data than ever before, but theres very little way to make sense of it."

According to the report, only half of executives highly rate their ability to deliver the basics (45% of APAC respondents): timely, accessible, complete, and accurate data.

"Data management companies have been offering to solve these problems for years but they're focused on the mechanics of data like moving it and storing it," it says.

 Christal Bemont, chief executive officer at Talend, says the business world's relationship with data is unhealthy. 

"Only 40% of executives always trust the data they work with (45% of APAC respondents), and more than a third of executives are still making decisions based on gut instincts (35% of APAC respondents)," Bemont says.

"The reality of data is falling well short of the industry's vision. Data management, which largely focuses on moving and storing data, doesn't take into account the overall health of data.

"Therefore, in trying to manage data, all companies are creating digital landfills of corporate information. This has to change. Our vision of data health is the future because it recognises the fundamental standards that are critical for corporate survival."

Data health is Talend's vision for a holistic system of preventative measures, effective treatments, and a supportive culture to actively manage the well-being of corporate information. It is designed to allow companies to answer basic questions about their data that remain challenging for many to address where it resides, who has access to it, whether its accurate, and how much it is worth. 

"Data health would help organisations understand and communicate in a quantifiable way the reliability, risk, and return of this extremely critical business asset," the company explains.

Talend's data health survey also revealed that 22% of executives do not think that their company's investments in data management is worth it (13% of APAC respondents).   

More than a third of executives report that there are no standards for data quality at their company (40% of APAC respondents), and in an ideal world, 73% of executives would like to make the majority of their decisions based on data (75% of APAC respondents).   

The research found decreasing cost of operations is only a corporate objective for 49% of executives (40% of APAC respondents), far behind monitoring performance for 68% of executives (71% of APAC respondents), improving customer service for 67% of executives (76% of APAC respondents), and increasing revenue for 59% of executives (53% of APAC respondents).  

To make data the critical asset in the entire organisation, the challenges that executives face are both technical and human, with 50% to ensure data quality (56% of APAC respondents), 39% to make data available to the right person (47% of APAC respondents), 36% to have enough skilled resources (52% of APAC respondents), 36% to meet compliance and security requirements (49% of APAC respondents).   

The research revealed 95% of executives agree there should be cross-industry standard metrics to assess the quality of all enterprise data (97% of APAC respondents).  

Among the executives surveyed, the sales and marketing teams are the least data-driven departments. Nearly half of sales and marketing executives (48%) make the majority of their decisions without data. The finance department follows closely with 44% of finance executives reporting that they make the majority of their decisions without relying on data. 

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