Business leaders continue to be enthusiastic about data, with two-thirds (67%) acknowledging the potential of data in helping them grow their businesses. Emphasizing data’s business impact, a new study [download page] from Dun & Bradstreet that surveyed more than 500 business decision-makers in the US and UK has revealed that half (50%) of these executives say their company will not be able to survive without quality data.
So, what technologies are business leaders currently using to collect and analyze data – and which ones do they plan to add in the next 12 months? Currently, more than two-fifths (43%) of business leaders are using data management software and another one-quarter (25%) plan on using it in the next year.
A study by Evergage found that more than three-quarters (77%) of companies using machine learning for personalization have seen a 10% or more lift in performance. But it appears the use of machine learning is still in its infancy. Currently only 22% of businesses report using machine learning for data collection and analysis, although 26% say they will turn to such solutions within the next 12 months.
Three in 10 (31%) also say they plan on using artificial intelligence (AI) in the next year, adding to the 21% of respondents already using the technology. While the adoption of AI has been slower than its hype, many B2B marketers that do use this advanced technology have found it to be effective.
Blockchain and edge computing technologies are also expected to see greater use in the near future with one-quarter (25%) of the executives surveyed saying they will be using each of these technologies, compared to the 19% and 17%, respectively, that are currently using them.
Challenges With Data Are Expected to Continue
Although business leaders are well-aware of the benefits that data currently provides and the potential it has for the future growth of their companies, they aren’t under the illusion that everything will be plain sailing. In most cases, they actually believe the same challenges they have faced today and in previous years will continue to plague them over the next decade.
Close to 3 in 10 (28%) respondents named effective data management as the biggest data-led challenge they will face in the next 10 years. It’s also the biggest data-led challenge they face today, and the second-largest (by a nose) of the last 10 years.
Old and inaccurate customer-provided data is currently one of the biggest data challenges facing marketers, with one survey indicating that executives make it a priority to verify this data regularly. In this latest research, maintaining accurate data on customers and prospects is expected to become an even more challenging endeavor in the years ahead.
People Still Matter
Regardless of the value that data brings businesses, without people to manage the data the value it brings can struggle to be fulfilled: a sizable share of executives surveyed agree that people are key to maximizing the value of data.
Some executives also acknowledge the existing skills gap that hinders getting the most out of their data, noting that employees with the right data and analytic skills are increasingly harder to find. This finding is also reflected in earlier research from Econsultancy that found that data analysis and measurement was one of the most important skills for marketers in the future.
To read more, find the report here.
About the Data: Some 510 UK and US business decision-makers were surveyed in March 2019. The businesses ranged in size from sole traders/sole proprietors to those with over 500 employees and came from a wide range of industries, including finance, manufacturing, retail, marketing, and IT.