Data is a strategic asset for many businesses as they look to gain a competitive advantage in the digital economy. But while data is plentiful across many systems, organizations are often short on trusted, meaningful insight.

Each year, Experian conducts a global data management benchmark study to look at how organizations are using and managing their data.

This year, we see that many organizations have a long way to go until they reach the optimum level of data management maturity to support business initiatives, like customer experience.

Key findings from the report this year include:

Business priorities are driving change in data management, with customer experience at the center.

Customer experience is the leading business priority for 2018. According to the survey, 61 percent of organizations say that better relationships with their customers can provide a true competitive advantage in their markets. In the digital economy, much of that experience is dependent on data and developing a better understanding of the consumer. This is why we see demand for single customer view projects and other data management initiatives to consolidate data assets.

Current data management strategies can’t keep pace with growing demands.

Although the benefits of accurate data are widely recognized, most businesses today still suffer from poor data quality. On average, organizations believe 30 percent of their customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way. That inaccuracy is directly leading to challenges, with 78 percent of c-level executives saying inaccurate data is undermining their ability to provide an excellent customer experience.

Many organizations lack a modern data management strategy that incorporates not only technology, but people and processes that are distributed. From the study we see the biggest contributors to inaccuracy are human error, a lack of internal communication between departments and a lack of skill needed to use current technology.

Data management projects are on the rise with new requirements.

The vast majority of businesses are planning a data management project in the next year. In fact, the number of respondents planning projects increased nearly 10 percent over last year.

Some of the most popular projects are around data integration and analytics, with many companies also focused on MDM and data governance. While these projects have been around for a long time, the requirements for technology in these areas are changing.

Data management responsibility is slowly shifting from IT to the business. Ninety-one percent of c-level executives believe the responsibility for data should ultimately like with the business, with occasional help from IT. This means new technology needs to be oriented around ease-of-use by business users, which we see as the top factor today when choosing data management technology.

In the coming years, we expect to see organizations recalibrate their expectations around data management. As the digital economy continues to put pressure on existing data management techniques, organizations will evolve to rise with the market demand.

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