Data has become essential to business success in the 21st century. The economy is increasingly transitioning away from a market where companies are valued primarily on their physical assets to, according to Gartner, one where information portfolios become the primary way to assess a company’s worth and future potential.
Data is so valuable because it enables organisations to create new products and offerings, and engage with customers in a hyper-personalised way – and business leaders, by and large, recognise this. Across sectors, investment is being poured into key areas like data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data platforms in order to extract measurable business value from their data and stay ahead of the competition.
Cost of not being data-driven
Plenty of organisations, however, still struggle to make the most of their data. It is widely estimated that around 87% of data science projects never make it into production and thus fail to generate value for an organisation. Such data-challenged organisations face a wide array of negative outcomes ranging from a disengaged workforce to higher operational costs, and ultimately, to lower valuations.
A decade ago, many experts in the industry would have likely pointed to technology as the main blocker to data exploitation, perhaps blaming slow data warehouses or technologies being unable to keep up with real-time data. However, the maturation of areas like big data and cloud mean that technology is no longer the constraint. Today, people and organisational culture issues tend to be the greatest challenges to securing the benefits of Data and Intelligence.
Many organisations have a significant data skills gap. Indeed, Gartner estimated this year that 50% of organisations lack sufficient AI and data literacy skills to achieve business value. This skills shortage means that many organisations restrict those able to contribute to data science projects, but this, in turn, creates damaging data silos within businesses.
Beyond skills deficiencies, there are strategic issues at play, too. Leaders are still producing data strategies because they feel they ‘have to’ to keep up with competitors and miss the fundamental reason to have one in the first place: to identify how they are going to use and provide data to empower the wider business strategy.
How to secure the benefits of Data & Intelligence
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to overcome these obstacles. Organisations need to work rigorously to embed the principles of Data and Intelligence across their teams. At NTT DATA, we believe that every step of this journey needs to be built around data trust. This principle is the essential foundation upon which to start enhancing value from a company’s data, and ultimately enable a much better data experience amongst users.
For us, data trust is about three key areas:
- Knowledge – ensuring that, whenever data is made available, users understand the business definitions in use and the context of intended use of the data.
- Reliability – ensuring that users understand to quality of the data they are using, warts and all. After all, data doesn’t always need to be perfect, just fit for purpose.
- Engagement – ensuring that the right stakeholders are involved in the governance processes and communication about data.
NTT DATA put these principles into practice recently at The Open. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of this year’s tournament. To fill the void, in partnership with The R&A, we used data analytics to help deliver a virtual tournament of the greatest players in golf history: The Open for The Ages.
Our knowledge of the entertainment focus of the engagement set the context for our work scrutinising the data available on golfing greats – there was no need for this to be a peer-reviewed, scientific piece of work. Working with The R&A, we could be reassured of the reliability of the data we were handling, with scorecard records from the 1970s through to radar data from the 21st century all going through the organisation’s rigorous governance procedures. And through engagement, we ensured key stakeholders understood our work with the data and, in the end, enhanced the viewer experience.
If you are interested in finding out more about the topics discussed in this blog, or NTT DATA’s processes for turning data into strategic business assets, get in touch.