While it’s unmistakably clear that the digital economy will be led by companies that harness the full power and potential of data, it’s also becoming alarmingly clear that most companies have failed to equip themselves to capitalize on the data-driven future.
Without question, business leaders face a daunting challenge in mapping out how to get their hands on and optimize data that’s trapped in silos, lost in the IT jungle, corrupted by skunkworks, and subject to rapidly growing regulatory, compliance and governance issues.
But as daunting as that challenge no doubt is, it surely beats the alternative, which consists of little more than hoping that somehow, some way, your stuck-on-analog business can miraculously stay relevant and survive in our digital world.
With data taking on an increasingly strategic role across every part of every business, CEOs and other C-suite leaders are beginning to recognize that the only solution is the creation and execution of an end-to-end data-driven strategy that covers every part of the organization, every business process, and every possible engagement model with customers, partners, suppliers and employees.
However, the gap between recognizing the seriousness of this existential challenge and being ready to deal with it is, unfortunately, enormous.
But for those companies willing to commit—from the CEO on down—to devising and deploying an enterprise-wide data strategy to get out in front of today’s intensely fast-paced economy, the potential for innovation, growth, deeper customer engagement and market leadership is enormous.
According to a report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services based on its survey of 185 global executives, “The most exciting organizations today not only excel at data management, they also bring an insight-driven approach to everything they do—from evolving their business models to embedding analytics capabilities across the organization and incentivizing corporate culture to become more galvanized by data and the interpretation of the story it tells.”
The study reveals that a significant majority (73%) of executives recognize that “their data resources hold the key for creating business value.”
And within that 73%, a particularly enlightened 33% gave that initiative the highest possible rating of 10 out of 10.
At the same time, the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report lays bare the deep-seated problems that must be aggressively addressed and solved before that optimal outcome can happen. Here are a few bracing highlights from the survey.
- While 69% of executives surveyed admit they need a comprehensive data strategy to be able to achieve top business priorities, only 35% say they have the data-management capabilities to deliver on that need.
- Asked if they have the internal capabilities to implement a sophisticated analytics approach called continuous intelligence that will soon be the norm, only 40% said they’re able to move their data into the required environments, only 22% can ingest data rapidly enough to generate real-time decisions, and a mere 20% have developed necessary stream-processing capabilities.
- The sheer number and range of obstacles cited by respondents looking to achieve the desired data-strategy state are not for the faint of heart: problems with legacy apps, 49%; security, 42%; complying with rapidly expanding regulatory and governance issues, 35%; data trapped in silos, 31%; LOBs working with different cloud providers, 22%; and the loss of data, metadata or history after changing cloud providers, 17%.
The ugly truth is that this chaotic state of data-strategy readiness comes at precisely the same time as digital-savvy consumers are growing increasingly intolerant of companies that don’t or can’t deliver the sophisticated, personalized and high-value experiences those consumers are demanding.
And that state of data chaos is also occurring as B2B companies are frantically attempting to differentiate themselves via data-driven innovation that creates new revenue streams, new levels of customer intimacy, and increasingly relevant products and services.
The Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study sums up the situation perfectly:
To create intelligent products and services, improve automation, or achieve any future business objective that requires data, organizations will need to run a range of analytics with their data from wherever it is. Most are not ready.
The good news is that the tech industry has become fully aware of these glaring and dangerous gaps between companies’ desires around data and their capabilities. And those tech vendors fully understand the enormous business value that can be unlocked among their customers via a modern, comprehensive and truly open enterprise data platform.
Among those tech companies is Cloudera, an enterprise cloud data company that sponsored the study and is preparing to introduce a sweeping solution intended to give business customers the ability to turn those data-dreams into reality.
To meet that top-priority objective, Cloudera says, businesses need to be able to identify the right data, ingest it, transform it, and determine the optimal analytics framework. And those businesses need to be able to do all of that across on-premises systems, public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and the rapidly emerging multiclouds—quite literally, anywhere and everywhere enterprise data might be located.
Cloudera says its new Cloudera Data Platform is designed to make all of those essential processes possible by offering the following: full capability to operate within hybrid cloud and multicloud environments so data and apps can be moved across different systems without needing to be rewritten; a design that handles edge to AI to manage not only all current but all future needs on one platform; central management of data security and governance; and the elimination of vendor lock-in concerns because the Cloudera Data Platform is built entirely with open-source technologies.
This article is brought to you by Cloudera.
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