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Businesses missing sophisticated approach to data, finds study

24th February 2016 • Notebook

Ninety per cent of businesses feel they are missing a sophisticated approach to managing data effectively. This is despite them being increasingly aware of the revenue boosting potential of their data, with 79% stating that they see customer data driving most sales decisions by the end of the decade.

These figures come from a new global data management study published by Experian after analysing feedback from 1,400 businesses across eight countries.

The survey also threw up the usual bugbear of data quality, finding that on average almost a quarter of customer data is inaccurate. The most common errors referenced were incomplete or missing data, out-dated information, duplicates and inconsistencies. Businesses estimate that they could increase sales by almost a third (29%) if customer data was completely accurate.

Boris Huard, Experian, said: “The way organisations perceive the value of data is maturing rapidly and this latest research reinforces that. The digitalisation of our world means that we are all now confronted by a sometimes overwhelming amount of data to manage. Getting your data strategy right is critical to business success.”

As data volumes continue to grow, 82% of businesses are looking to hire ‘data-centric’ roles as part of their data management strategy in the next few years. As a previous Experian study found, the role of Chief Data Officer, who can turn the management of data into a strategic ‘business as usual’ activity to drive value, is on the rise.

“It is encouraging that we are seeing a clear response with more and more appointments of ‘data champions’ who are entering organisations at board level and have the skill set to drive change and culture from the top,” added Huard. “This is even more important in a digital world where data, processing and interconnectivity are everywhere, meaning poor data quality can have a profound impact.

Increasing volumes of data and a shift in channel usage is also adding to the complexity of data management. Data volumes are on the rise with 39% of respondents claiming their organisation manages 50 or more contact databases, up from just 10% last year. Use of social media is reported to have grown by 81% in the last 12 months.

According to 75% of the respondents, email is cited as the most used channel for marketing communications this year, and of those respondents, 73% can point to a business impact as a result of the inaccuracy. Not only does this impact revenue, businesses cite poor customer service, an inability to communicate with subscribers and unnecessary costs as common business problems caused by poor email data quality.

With 97% of organisations looking to achieve a single holistic view of their customers, an increasing emphasis is being placed on using data effectively to offer customers tailored relevant experiences.

With the biggest drivers for this single view cited as increased loyalty, sales, and strategic decision making, it’s clear that businesses recognise the importance of accurate customer data and the impact this ultimately has on revenue.

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