Quality data proves critical to business performance but most business are not able to capitalise on data, an executive at consumer crediting reporting giant Experian has told City A.M.
City-based Andrew Abraham, global managing director for data quality at Experian, said that “the last year has tested every industry, with a new requirement for business models to be agile and change in line with their customers’ rapidly shifting demands.”
His firm found that businesses who have improved their data quality were not just better equipped for this but exceeded their performance expectations too.
New research by Experian showed that three in four of all businesses who improved data quality in 2021 exceeded annual objectives, but data quality and skills shortage leave 56 per cent of businesses still not able to capitalise on data
“Business experiences with data accuracy and issues around how data is managed remain and are unlikely to improve unless businesses upskill current employees and continue to work with wider industry and government on addressing the data skills gap,” Abraham noted.
Better data management and data quality has helped businesses to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing them closer to customers, he added.
The firm’s annual Global Data Management report, which surveyed 905 data practitioners and data-driven business leaders worldwide, found the majority (75 per cent) of businesses who have improved their data quality in the last year have exceeded their annual objectives in some way.
This includes objectives relating to customer experience, managing talent and workforce development, data security, and improving business resilience. Meeting these objectives will ultimately help these organisations reach their revenue growth targets.
Recognising data as a critical asset to build business resilience, most businesses (89 per cent) say that contact data is key to customer engagement, indicating its use in building a recovery plan.
Similarly, 88 per cent suggest data management has allowed them to keep up with understanding their customers’ rapidly changing needs that continue to be impacted by the pandemic.
Almost every business respondent (97 per cent) said they plan to make their data management programme more flexible and agile over the next 12 months.
Improving customer experience is a top priority (52 per cent), with businesses eager to use data to enable more customer centricity though better operational efficiency (48 per cent) and better customer experience for customers offline and online (44 per cent), for example.
However, inherent barriers are hampering businesses from maximising on data usage, such as a lack of data skills and a decline in data accuracy.
Over three quarters (77 per cent) say that inaccurate data hurt their ability to respond to market changes during the pandemic, while 39 per cent say poor quality data has negative effects on customer experience.
Meanwhile, 84 per cent think a lack of data skills in the business hampers agility and flexibility in their organisations.
The Global Data Management report further highlights how businesses can seek to overcome challenges as a result of data management and data quality limitations.
Investing in talent – evidence shows a lack of data skills affecting data management. As well as investing in employee training, previous Experian research found more could be done to attract graduates into data roles.
Most students polled (67 per cent) said they wanted companies to do more to promote data roles, and over half (53 per cent) said they were considering a career in data. With a data literate workforce, a business is armed with talent that can make timely, data-driven decisions.