Organizations that put data at the center of their vision and strategy have a competitive advantage over non-data organizations, and 58% of organizations adopting data intelligence are more likely to exceed revenue goals than non-data intelligent organizations, according to a new report.

More than 900 global business analysts were surveyed in January about their use of data to drive decisions and achieve key business objectives, according to the report, The Business Impact of Data Intelligent Management, by Forrester Consulting and data intelligence company Collibra.

While 84% said it is very important to put data at the center of their crucial business decisions and strategy, 43% said their organizations fail to routinely use data to guide business decisions, the report said.

Data intelligent organizations are defined as those that have the ability to connect the right data, insights, and algorithms so people can drive business value. Such organizations realized an 8% advantage in improving customer trust, an 81% advantage in building revenue, and a huge 173% advantage in better complying with regulations and requirements, according to the report.

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Without a data management strategy, analysts often spend time on tasks that take away from their ability to perform analysis and provide value, the report said. This is a resounding issue for less data-mature organizations, which are 55% less likely to say their data management strategies positively contribute to optimal business decisions, Collibra said.

Competitive advantage with data

Those insights-driven decisions are also yielding more successful outcomes, giving data intelligent organizations a competitive edge in achieving their key business objectives.

These organizations “are able to achieve their top business priorities, which respondents reported as cost savings, revenue growth, and improved customer experience,” the report stated. “Data intelligent organizations also see advantages across the seven pillars of data management: discover, access, comprehension, collaboration, sharing, trust, and execution.”

The report also found that the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates how risk mitigation strategies can arguably be as important—if not more so—than growth objectives in times of economic uncertainty.

“Here too, data intelligent organizations show they are more adept at key areas like addressing privacy and risk exposure, simplifying organizational and operational hierarchies, complying with regulations and requirements, and improving customer trust,” the report said.

Data intelligent organizations were considerably more likely to say their data management strategies support business objectives than their less mature peers, the report said.

Despite broad agreement around the importance of effective data management, organizations differ widely on how effectively they pursue this vision. For example, nearly half of organizations fail to always, or even routinely, put data at the core of their business decisions.

Australian respondents were most likely to routinely, or always, leverage data for decisions (66%), followed by organizations in North America (62%), and Europe (52%), the survey found.

Leading with data requires an enterprise to successfully navigate seven pillars of data management and, not surprisingly, more mature organizations enjoy significant advantages with each, the report said.

The seven pillars are discover, access, comprehension, collaboration, sharing, trust, and execution, according to the report.

Respondents also told Forrester “they were hungry for tools that streamline the process of locating, trusting, and collaborating across their enterprises,” the report said. More than six out of 10 respondents reported that software that makes it easy to search for analysis, automate data access, empower collaboration, and manage data quality and access will significantly aid them in their ability to do data analysis and generate insights.

“To lead with data, companies need to advance how they discover, organize, collaborate with, and execute on the data they have,” said Felix Van de Maele, co-founder and CEO of Collibra, in a statement. “Companies also must optimize how data analysts spend their time and automate rote tasks with data management technology. By freeing analysts up to spend more time on value-added tasks, organizations can decrease time to insight and accelerate trusted business outcomes.”

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