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Despite Best Intentions, Most Organizations Misinterpret, Misuse Data


Organizations for the most part agree on the great value of corporate data. Unfortunately, for the most part data professionals believe their organizations do a poor job of interpreting and using that data.

A new study from Dimensional Research reveals this disconnect, and concludes that “data professionals have little confidence in the way business stakeholders within their organizations use corporate data when making important business decisions.”

The study finds a number of areas in which those that capture and manage data, and those that act on it, are out of sync.


• 81 percent of data and development professionals say data is misinterpreted

• 75 percent say data is misused when making business decisions

The data use and misuse study was sponsored by Embarcadero Technologies, and polled 402 data stakeholders, including data professionals developers who build the applications that use data, and IT managers who make decisions about data technologies and processes.

The study also found that:

• Only 13 percent of data professionals believe the right data is being used; while just 9 percent say the data is being interpreted correctly.

• Mistakes with data are more likely to occur with business stakeholders in large organizations, with organizations of 5,000-plus employees ranked as the highest for misuse and misinterpretation of data

• Data silos are more common in organizations that IT executives realize.

Contributing to all of the above are issues related to communication. Ironically, while 100 of executives agree that it is important for data and development teams to communicate well, only 25 percent believe they do within their own organizations.

With regard to new data platforms (i.e. cloud, graph, columnar, and Hadoop databases), 85 percent of executives cited communication between data and development teams as important.

Less than half of data teams (45 percent) say they are included at the beginning of a project; while 25 percent of them say they don’t learn about a new project until it is too late for them to do their best work.

Data models are also valued, but not used effectively, at many organizations. Again, the vast majority of data professionals see the value of data models, but only 20 percent of IT leaders fully understand that value. And, conversely, a majority of business users complain about data professionals on the same point.

• 95 percent of data stakeholders say application and data quality would improve if developers understood data modeling better.

• 95 percent of developers say the use of good data models increases the quality of an application.

• 87 percent of IT leaders use data models but only 18 percent have a data modeling team responsible for them.

Finally, the vast majority (96 percent) say they have challenges with data models. The top three challenges cited are:

• 52 percent said “moving data between platforms or formats”.

• 43 percent said “business stakeholders and IT using different terminology for data”.

• 43 percent said “business stakeholders not getting full value from the data available”.

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