In this, the first of three articles summarising our 2021 Global Data Management Research Report, we take a look at how the pandemic has caused untold disruption but has also provided the platform for organisations to deliver rapid and effective business transformation.
Rapidly changing businesses to fit a rapidly changing world
The pandemic has forced businesses to reconsider their entire operating models. Massive disruption to supply chains and changing consumer behaviours have led organisations to consider both their agility and resilience.
Of the organisations we surveyed, 75 percent said they had seen a dramatic change in the behaviours of their customers. Typically, this was a digital transition with significant growth of eCommerce and the impact of home working providing the major impetus.
Organisations had to rapidly adapt to cope with the digital expansion and ensure they could keep their supply chains robust. There was also a large emphasis placed on deepening levels of customer insight in order to handle the changing attitudes and behaviours.
When asked about their current business priorities, unsurprisingly organisations cited customer experience (49%) and data security (46%) as their main focus. Managing talent (42%), maintaining operational resilience (40%) and reducing risk (39%) followed. Interestingly, the number of organisations looking to drive efficiencies dropped nearly 10 percent to 38 percent, signifying a shift to survival mode and a focus on the customer.
Accelerating digital transformation
Businesses, now more than ever, rely on digital channels for customer interaction and conversion, as well as many other aspects of their operations. To effectively drive this increase in digital effort businesses need accurate and reliable data.
Our study found that 72 percent of organisations said that an acceleration of digital transformation has made their business more reliant on data and data insights, and 67 percent said the pandemic has accelerated many of their data initiatives. The need for a data-driven digital operation has made companies realise how immature their data functions are. 84 percent of respondents say there has been more demand for data insights in their organisations.
A higher demand for data means a need for more investment in staffing and hiring talent with expertise in both data and data management tools. This also calls for more automated processes, the right technology, and data literacy programs. Trustworthy data, managed by intuitive data systems and support for data literacy programs, facilitates the transition to a highly digital operation.
A defining moment – data for good
The pandemic has also brought about usage of data in new ways. Consider how many politicians and public officials in the last year reference data daily. Data has played a critical role in assisting many in fighting Covid-19 and trying to determine the right response. This is a clear example of data being used for good.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents say Covid-19 is a defining moment for organisations to set up and use data for societal good where they can. Many organisations found ways to leverage data assets to assist public health and safety officials in combating Covid-19.
However, we believe that using data for good goes far beyond the pandemic. The research finds that 86 percent of business leaders are interested in ‘data for good’. Most notably this could mean increasing collaboration with other organisations to better support those in need. Our study showed that 77 percent of respondents say that in the wake of the pandemic, they would like to be able to use their data in some way for societal good.
Download the research for more data-related insights
Hopefully this article has sparked an interest for more data management-related insights, in what has been a very challenging and unusual year. Simply head to our insights hub to download your full copy of the 2021 Global Data Management Research which features a broad analysis of the current state of the data management market.