Everyone can and should be an advocate for data management.
Data quality and data management are relevant to almost every modern organizational discipline and role. Consequently, more companies should realize that championing data management should not rest solely on the shoulders of their data team. In our latest survey, the 10th Annual B2B Data Report, we indicate where organizational teams agree and disagree on data health and how they can begin to create change together.
One of the more interesting findings to come out of this year’s survey of more than a thousand senior decision makers in sales, marketing, finance, risk, and data roles is that there is overwhelming agreement (81%) that the primary role of data in their organization is “to help grow the business.” This was overall the biggest theme to emerge, outpacing “creating operational efficiencies” (58% agreement) and “protecting the business” (just 45% agreement).
But while these leaders recognize the role data plays in business growth, the emerging reality is very different. Far fewer of the respondents — only 57% — believe their data can actually help them achieve the goal of growing their business.
These findings led us to ask why there is such a wide gap between what teams expect from their data and what it actually does. Part of the answer, we found, was that perceptions about data seem to be influenced by the people using it.
For example, 65% of survey respondents who are in sales roles agree that their data helps with business growth, whereas only 55% of respondents who are in data roles agree that their data helps them on that point. As another example, 65% of respondents who are in sales roles also agree that their data enables them to improve operational efficiencies while only 54% in data roles do.
There is a common denominator in these findings, however: respondents indicate that data is not being optimally used within their business. For example, survey participants were clearly split on whether they believe that data is used to provide a competitive advantage — 50% think their organization’s data does provide a competitive advantage and 50% do not.
Shifting Data Attitudes
The subtitle of this year’s report is “How Every Role Plays a Part in Data Management.” We think it’s apt, given how important data is for all organizational teams and the common processes to which they contribute.
A large part of this year’s survey focused on attitudes concerning the adoption of a more integrated approach to data — a master data management (MDM) strategy that can deliver a single source of truth for the entire organization.
Amy Cooper, a Senior Principal Data Advisor at Dun & Bradstreet, says that an MDM strategy has to start with teams asking key questions about data: “Is it trustworthy? Dependable? Does it meet your business need, and is it a good foundation for the most strategic business decisions that you make?”
Some of the most common challenges that teams mentioned include data inconsistency across platforms, missing data, and lack of integration.
AI and Our Data
One of the biggest shifts noted is the movement toward artificial intelligence (AI), and the respondents had a lot to say about its emerging role. Within the context of an MDM strategy, AI may hold the promise of less spending, greater scalability, and more objectivity — and fewer human mistakes.
The survey reflects a definite groundswell of activity around AI in terms of powering an MDM strategy. Among respondents, 25% say their organization is already leveraging AI technologies for data integration and analysis within their MDM processes, while 38% say they have implemented some AI capabilities. The future of data management is coming fast.
Data Corresponds to Resiliency
We also looked into perceptions of organizational readiness for challenges and disruptions. Currently, just one in three (33%) respondents believes their organizations are “very prepared,” while 44% consider themselves “moderately prepared.” Notably, those who believe their data provides a competitive advantage are more likely to feel very prepared.
The Value of Data
Data can offer valuable insights to teams across an organization and lead to better collaborative decisions that help drive business growth, mitigate risk, create efficiency, and reduce cost. The findings in our survey show that despite the difference of opinions, teams do recognize the importance of data quality and its potential to help their organization adapt and thrive.
Read the entire report here.