February 24, 2012 – Fewer than one-fifth of enterprises have achieved a single view of customer data, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of data management provider DataFlux, but the survey found that a wave of implementations are underway to change that.

The survey involved questions of customer data management practices from 551 respondents in North America, 40 percent of whom are C-level executives. It was conducted in November by New Jersey-based consultancy Lodestar Research and released Thursday by DataFlux.

Only 17 percent of executives surveyed stated that their business had a “single view of our customers,” which the report on the findings noted as the fullest realization of data assets. However, interest in forging a  single view of customer information has led to activity with data strategy and solutions with the majority of the remaining enterprises, according to the survey. Thirty-one percent stated they are in the process of implementing a system for a single customer view, and 17 percent are planning for such an implementation in the next 12 to 18 months. Another 14 percent will be “investigating the idea of a single view of our customers” at some time. A final 22 percent had no interest in achieving this, or did not know about their customer data strategy and capabilities.

For those enterprises that have reached or are in the implementation phase of a full view of customer data, the biggest challenges cited were lifecycle implementation, followed by data quality efforts, finding the right resources and skills, and building/migrating to the master repository.

The difference in data management initiatives causes issues with some of the gaps in customer data. In a survey question where multiple answers were allowed when applicable, data management initiatives over the last two years ran the gamut from integration (59 percent) and federation (13 percent), to data quality (55 percent) and master data management (31 percent). Tony Fisher, president and CEO of DataFlux, pointed to problems in execution of data strategies found in areas such as business-side use of data separated in silos. In part, enterprises should seek more all-encompassing answers like MDM in their broader data goals, he suggests.

“Master data management requires the executive to apply a comprehensive framework of policies – supported with technology – that will break down the data barriers that inhibit companies from fully leveraging their assets,” Fisher said in a summary of the survey.

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