Data maturity is a race

Data maturity is a race

Where does your organization stand in the data race? Are you keeping up, ahead of the pack, or further behind the competition than you think?

Many businesses overestimate their data maturity

A survey of over 1,000 leaders responsible for data governance in businesses across 21 countries worldwide found that many businesses aren’t as data mature as they think.

Winning the data race requires a multidisciplinary approach with excellence in multiple arenas, and the stamina to go the distance. It requires meticulous coordination and cooperation between multiple business areas.

While analysts extract insights from their data, top leadership must also have the capacity to leverage these insights and transform business models. And, while a business may invest in the most advanced data technologies, employees at every level must play a role to ensure that investment yields maximum value.

Data maturity is the key to growth

Most businesses are in the data race at some level. But the fastest-growing companies are also the ones furthest ahead in data maturity. In other words, businesses that are excelling at every stage of their data journey and passing the baton from insight to action are also unlocking a competitive advantage.

We are delighted to have been able to access data leaders worldwide and across a broad spectrum of industries with this survey.

If you know your business still has ground to make up, we hope this study will help you identify your business’ data maturity gaps. However, if you’re convinced your business is a front-runner, this study may reveal that you’re not as far ahead of the crowd as you think, and help you guard against the pitfalls of overconfidence.

Businesses are devoting significant resources to data

Big data is seen as businesses’ most important source of growth for the next ten years, with many already devoting significant time, money and effort to data. It’s high on leaders’ agendas, draws in significant numbers of employees and forms a major part of businesses’ technology roadmaps.

Major investments are in the pipeline, especially in AI

Businesses are going to keep investing. A large majority will spend more on data (governance, architecture, tools, etc.) in 2022 than in 2021. Their biggest priorities are data quality and data strategy, with the area receiving most investment is artificial intelligence.

But, businesses are overconfident in their data maturity

While a significant majority of businesses have begun putting data tools in place, too many think they already have a competitive advantage. The reality is that most are failing to meet the best practices that underpin data maturity.

Most still fall short of best practices on data quality

A majority of businesses risk undermining their investments in data because they fall short of best practices on data quality. Poor data quality is a major issue, negatively affecting important investments, particularly those in AI. Specific challenges arise from incomplete data mapping and a lack of data training across a range of key roles.

Majority lack best practices on data access

Although businesses have made efforts to share data resources internally, there are important gaps in their architecture for both centralization and universal access. This applies especially to middle management, who are less likely than top decision-makers and frontline analysts to access and use data. Most businesses also have ground to make up on data knowledge repositories and data governance.

Data maturity best practices are associated with growth

Across multiple factors, including data centralization, data governance, data quality and data mapping, the fastest-growing companies are those most likely to have adopted data best practices.

Two in five expect a “significant” data breach within 12 months

Cybersecurity risks are seen to be increasing by a majority of businesses. Despite most businesses saying their data is “completely protected,” a large portion (40%) expect to experience a “significant” data breach within the next 12 months.

There are important gaps for many businesses to fill in their cybersecurity plans: employee training and awareness (only 39% of companies make sure that all employees are formally, regularly trained) and the rigorous, timed testing of incident recovery plans (around one-third of businesses do not do this).

Unlock a competitive advantage through data

Our research identifies seven best practices to help businesses reach data maturity, drive growth, and unlock a competitive advantage through data.

  1. Operationalize a data governance program.
  2. Enforce organization-wide data mapping.
  3. Use a shared dashboard to monitor data quality regularly.
  4. Fix data quality issues at the source.
  5. Centralize your data in a shared location.
  6. Make data available to anyone who needs it.
  7. Share data knowledge with everyone in your organization.

Read the Data Race study to learn more.