Businesses are losing customers and missing out on revenue growth opportunities due to poor data practices, according to a Monday report from Dun & Bradstreet.

Nearly 20% of businesses said they have lost a customer due to using incomplete or inaccurate information about them, according to the report, titled The Past, Present, and Future of Data, which surveyed 510 business decision makers across the US and UK. Another 15% said they had failed to sign a new contract with a customer for the same reason.

SEE: Special report: Turning big data into business insights (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Another 22% of businesses said their financial forecasts have been inaccurate, and 17% said they offered too much credit to a customer due to lack of information about them, losing money in the process, the report found.

Data security compliance has been more of a concern in the US than the UK (31% vs. 16%), the report found, likely due to GDPR requirements. More than 10% of the organizations surveyed said they have been fined for data issues.

Here are the three biggest challenges businesses still face when it comes to making use of big data, according to the report:

  1. Protecting data privacy (34%)
  2. Having accurate data (26%)
  3. Analyzing/processing data (24%)

Part of the problem is that 41% of business leaders said no one in their organization is responsible for the management of data, the report found.

“Businesses must make data governance and stewardship a priority,” Monica Richter,
chief data officer of Dun & Bradstreet, said in a press release. “Whether leaders are exploring AI or predictive analytics, clean, defined data is key to the success of any program and essential for mitigating risk and growing the business.”

Responsibility for data should be a C-suite priority, the report noted, particularly as 65% of business leaders said data will be “vital” to their organization’s future success.

“Information has always been critical for businesses, but over the past decade, the volume of data, the types of information available and the ability to do new things with that data have expanded enormously,” Anthony Scriffignano, chief data scientist at Dun & Bradstreet, said in the release. “It’s not surprising that many business leaders feel they are still catching up and their organizations are yet to make the most of data – and some have even been fined or lost customers due to incomplete or ‘dirty’ data.”

For more, check out 4 ways to improve big data project management on TechRepublic.

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