Why 2016 will be the year of the global data culture shift

Perceptions of data are maturing rapidly

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Data and the digital journey will become a top trend this year. There is no doubt that the way organisations perceive the value of data is maturing rapidly.

The latest global data quality research from Experian confirms this, finding that 84% of participants see data as an integral part of forming a business strategy and by 2020, 79% believing the majority of their organisations’ sales decisions will be driven by customer data.

Enabling this new strategic view of data is the sheer pace of technological change which remains relentless. In an ‘always-on’ and highly-connected world, smart businesses now accept that many of their traditional operational methods prevent agility and that they must adapt.

> See also: How CDOs can harness the right combination of people and technology

So not surprisingly, blurred lines between digital services and data have resulted in a convergence of activities. Mature organisations are already taking advantage of this convergence, and in some cases are undertaking a complete rethink of their business model to accommodate this.

This is a defining trend for 2016. Organisations that are considering data to drive innovation and differentiation in their revenue streams are likely to be the ones that survive and thrive.

Analyst firm Gartner also believes that digital business success will require companies to take bold actions, changing the way they function.

This is having a direct impact on organisational structure and for many organisations it is the main motivating requirement for appointing an overarching senior business leader to manage data, guide the business through this change and fully embrace the possibilities it brings.

The importance of data within organisations has rapidly increased. Businesses now recognise its real value and are adapting their operating models as a consequence. This acceleration in significance is driving the growing need for senior data professionals to act as the guardians to the amassing amounts of data being produced – the Chief Data Officer (CDO).

Experian's research projectRise of the CDO’ spoke with over 40 Chief Data Officers and senior business executives from blue chip multinationals, showing how CDOs are firmly taking their seat on the company board, driving business decisions from the top, with 70% reporting directly into the CEO.

Embedding data at the heart of a business and getting buy-in from the people at all levels, requires a culture shift. Great importance is placed on making sure data is weaved into the fabric and culture of an organisation to drive value.

Organisations are investing in professionals who have the mind-set and skills to drive tangible value from data as operating models evolve – this, again, is where the ‘data force’ comes into play.

> See also: Want to be a data leader? Here are 8 attributes you'll need 

Thorough their experiences of newly appointed data guardian, the research also explored how in the past year digitalisation, amongst other factors, has been a major driver in turning data management into strategic ‘business as usual’ activity.

There is no doubt that the way organisations perceive data is maturing rapidly, with most boardrooms now recognising that data is important.

It seems that, in 2016, data strategies and the role of data within organisations will continue to be dictated by digital ambitions and growing customer expectation. 

Sourced from Boris Huard, Experian

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