For all business leaders, the past two years have been filled with trial and error as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time of health and safety, regulations, and shifting consumer needs. As the global economy seeks stability throughout the fluid pandemic mandates, we are finding that high-quality data has been a key play to maintaining customer centricity.
New research from Experian has revealed that better data management and data quality has helped businesses to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing them closer to their customers. The annual Global Data Management report, which surveyed 905 data practitioners and data-driven business leaders worldwide, found that 89 per cent of businesses regarded contact data as key to customer engagement, while 88 per cent suggest data management has allowed them to keep up with understanding their customers’ rapidly changing needs as they continue to be impacted by the pandemic.
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 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 report highlights how businesses can seek to overcome the challenges caused by data management and data quality limitations. Firstly, it is important that they make a significant investment in talent. As well as providing 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.
Secondly, it is important for businesses to clean up their data. The report reveals that only 44 per cent of businesses say that their customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning data is clean, and that they can fully leverage it, compared to 50 per cent in 2020. By enriching data, organisations can open up new information about customers while also making sure their existing data is accurate. When purchasing a data set from a trusted source, you can be sure the data regularly refreshes to keep your data lists updated and reliable.
Finally, businesses must make sure to prioritise their data insights. A total of 72 per cent of respondents say they have so much data in their organisation that it is difficult to prioritise where data management can add most value. DataOps for example, can shorten development cycles, increase deployment frequency, and create more dependable releases of data pipelines, in close alignment with business objectives. This practice helps organisations adapt more quickly to changing conditions and prioritise data effectively.
As a data programme matures, organisations are now able to tap into their consumer data to understand who their customers are, what they need, and how to reach them. With a constant flow of trustworthy and reliable insights to teams across the business, a data-driven culture can begin to flourish. This allows customers to remain at the heart of every business, and across every department.
Read this year’s annual report here: https://bit.ly/3t41oVU
Andrew Abraham is global managing director of data quality at Experian
This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.