Data-driven decision-making: From hype into reality

digital-marketing-2Brand owners are being urged to implement the three key measures of investing in data skills, improving data continuity and boosting data security to ensure that data-driven decision-making becomes a reality.

The call follows the release of a new report which claims that nearly half (47%) of big businesses worldwide feel they cannot rely on their CRM data to provide a single source of truth regarding customer data.

Carried out by Forrester and commissioned by Odaseva, “The State of Enterprise CRM Data Management: 2021” study reveals that high expectations for actionable insights from CRM data are rarely being met.

Although over eight out of 10 companies (85%) say they are prioritising data insights for business decision-making, roughly half that number (44%) are unable to perform advanced customer analytics with CRM data. A similar number (40%) are unable to use CRM data to drive improved personalisation.

Surveying data architects working in EMEA, APAC, and the US, in enterprises with at least $300m (£280m) in annual revenue, Forrester discovered that this inability to achieve real business benefit from CRM data is caused by a number of key challenges.

First, the majority of businesses lack the basic foundations of data management. Nearly eight in ten (78%) say that gaps in their data management prevent them taking full advantage of their data, while two thirds (64%) find it challenging to actually move CRM data to platforms where it could be valuably used.

Unsurprisingly, almost the same number (63%) report they struggle to link data to business outcomes, with no metrics to track data insights to actual results.

Meanwhile, struggles with data security requirements are reducing the value of CRM data. Over half of businesses with a federated data management structure (53%) say it is their biggest limiting factor – often because a desire to reduce risk can suffocate useful projects.

For many firms, there is an even more basic problem: the majority (55%) say that determining the appropriate level of security and privacy for CRM data is a primary concern.

Odaseva CEO and founder Sovan Bin commented: “More than three-quarters of large enterprises admit that they’re lacking fundamentals in data management, and this is preventing them from unlocking the full value of their CRM data.

“And yet, most expect that the number one benefit of CRM data is an improved customer experience. There’s a clear disconnect here – and it must be addressed by rethinking data strategies, so CRM data becomes useful and actionable.”

Forrester’s research underlines the importance of these steps. If they are to transform CRM data into valuable, actionable insights, enterprises must invest in the skills to manage data more effectively – more than half (52%) currently report a lack of specialist data skills.

There must also be greater focus on improved data continuity – over eight out of 10 businesses (82%) report that the impact of improved data continuity is either “critical” or “very high”.

Finally, clear, effective data security must be the bedrock of CRM data management. The majority (51%) of enterprises are still challenged by the need to determine the impact of data protection regulations on their data. Investment in solutions that seamlessly provide appropriate protection is a must.

Bin concluded: “It’s essential to actively increase data literacy in business and technical domains. Organisations must invest in data security and protection, while ensuring continuous value through data continuity.”

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