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CMOs are still struggling to get the most out of data analytics, but do executives even have access to the right data for their efforts? As it appears, they mostly do across the organization. Three-quarters (76%) of respondents to a recent global survey [download page] by MIT Sloan – of more than 2,400 individuals representing various industries and job functions – report having access to data that is either frequently or always useful. This number is consistent with last year’s survey.

Confidence in analytics data’s accuracy is relatively high. Nearly half (47%) of respondents reported that they often or always trusted the accuracy of their data, while around one-third (37%) said they trusted it sometimes. Only a small percentage (6%) of respondents felt that analytics data was rarely accurate.

While trust in the accuracy of data is high, the same cannot be said for how complete it is. Only 34% of respondents trusted that data was always or often complete. Another 42% reported that they trusted the data’s completeness some of the time. Most telling, however, is that a quarter (24%) of respondents believed that analytics data was rarely or never complete.

The MIT Sloan report also makes reference to the importance of communication in encouraging an analytics mindset, which supports the fact that marketers find storytelling through data a critical challenge and struggle to deliver actionable insights.

Below are some other highlights from the research.

Verifying Internal and Customer Data a Priority

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of executives trust insights based on internally-generated data, making this first-party source the most trusted. At the same time, internal data is verified regularly by most companies (62%).

Customer-provided data is also verified more regularly than other sources of data. Half of the executives who took part in the survey report verifying customer data regularly and 42% say they verify it sometimes. However, customer data ranks fourth (37%) when it comes to being a trusted source. Supporting this finding, separate research has shown that marketers’ trust in audience data tends to be somewhat apathetic.

Competitors’ data is considered the least trusted data with 21% of respondents saying they do not trust insights based on competitor data. This data is also not verified often. Only 34% say that they regularly verify it, while 49% say they sometimes verify and 18% say they never do.

Leaders Are Using Analytics Data to Make and Support Decisions

Past research has revealed that CMOs are incorporating analytics into their decision making, albeit somewhat gradually.

This most recent survey indicates that 19% of company leaders (not just CMOs) always seek data and analytics to support decisions, with 40% often doing so. Another 17% always – and 36% often – incorporate data and analytics in decision-making.

One positive sign in regards to analytics data and leadership is that leaders are seeing the value in analytics. Although only 19% of respondents always champion the value and use of analytics, 32% report often doing so. One-quarter of leaders also often prioritize investment in analytics tools.

Here are some other highlights from the survey:

  • 55% of companies have either significantly or somewhat increased their budget for data quality.
  • 47% of respondents say they track where all data is stored and 44% have a response plan in place in case of a data breach.
  • 41% of companies notify customers on how their data is collected, stored and shared. However, 14% say that this is not an issue they are concerned with.
  • Only 16% of respondents are fully GDPR compliant. Another 27% are actively working on being compliant and 18% have no plans for compliance.

To read the report in full, you can download it here.

About the Data: MIT SMR Connections conducted an online survey of MIT Sloan Management Review subscribers in May 2018, drawing 2,413 respondents. Respondents represent a broad range of functions and industries, with more than 70% identifying themselves as being in management, C-suite, or board roles. The survey included respondents from all regions of the world.

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