Data-driven business initiatives are failing

Data-driven business is the new breed of enterprise and start-up alike in the digital economy.

It’s all about the data: the zeros and ones are crucial in powering the new, most exciting technologies and in providing actionable insights that can help turn an organisation’s fortunes around.

But… there’s always a but… new research from Exasol — the analytic database provider — has found that more than half of data-driven business initiatives are failing in enterprise organisations. This rises to more than 60% in the public sector, financial services and energy and utilities companies.

Don’t fail on me

One of the most common reasons for data-driven business initiatives failing was a lack of employee skills, with a marked difference from sector to sector: 40% of retail and financial services stated the skills shortage was to blame for failure.

Source: Research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Exasol, of 500 IT and business decision makers, from enterprises in Germany and the UK.
Source: Research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Exasol, of 500 IT and business decision makers, from enterprises in Germany and the UK.

According to the research, the most common data-driven business initiatives to fail are data consolidation (29%), data migration (28%) and GDPR (20%).

Financial services and (IT, technology and telecoms) organisations were the worst for GDPR failure at 31% and 30% respectively. And, other data-driven projects cited as having failed in enterprise organisations were machine learning and IoT projects.

One in four data driven initiatives not delivering cost and time saving expected

The reasons cited for the failure of data initiatives included:

• Data security issues (29%)

• Poor data quality (28%)

• Lack of employee skills (27%)

• Lack of employee buy-in (25%)

• Siloed data (25%)

• Not delivering the time and cost savings expected (24%)

• Cannot collect data in real time (22%)

ource: Research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Exasol, of 500 IT and business decision makers, from enterprises in Germany and the UK.
Source: Research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Exasol, of 500 IT and business decision makers, from enterprises in Germany and the UK.

Sam Sibley, Strategic Partners and Alliances manager at Exasol, commented: “Businesses want data to work for them, and this is very much behind the rise of data-driven initiatives such as machine learning, where the algorithm takes control. Investment in this area is rising fast, a recent Deloitte survey highlights that 57% of businesses are increasing spending in the technology. In general, this technology is no longer seen as a cost, but an opportunity and a revenue driver. However, there is still work to be done to ensure data-driven initiatives succeed and are understood at all levels of the business.

“The most successful businesses will be those that invest in their technology and hire the skills to make those investments work.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.