Roughly 2 years ago, Gary Cokins was quoted as saying that "organizations are drowning in data but starving for information" (see Forbes article). Today, Experian released a report that explains why we are still struggling with this issue today. The Chief Data Officer: Bridging the gap between data and decision-making is a report from over 250 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the US with some fascinating insights:

"There are always ways to generate more revenue or provide greater ROI by using data as an asset", says Experian Data Quality Senior Vice President and General Manager, Thomas Schutz. "Once organizations are able to stop seeing data as a risk or an obstacle, they will be able to see their data as a competitive advantage and truly make a huge impact on business performance."

Why does data continue to be so underused?
According to the Experian Data Quality report, 44% of CIOs see high-quality data as a strategic asset for their business and 42% see data as having monetization potential in the future. So what's stopping CIOs from fully leveraging the data they have today? The report points to two categories of issues: (1) practical issues and (2) organizational issues.

Practical Issues:

These are not insignificant hurdles that the CIO must face, which is why the Experian Data Quality report spends much of the time addressing the need for a Chief Data Officer which is a key focus of the solutions to the organizational issues.

Organizational Issues:

This report is extremely timely as it's clear that the amount of Big Data is only growing in volume and complexity for most companies. In fact, 57% of CIOs anticipate that the volume of data that their organization will need to manage will increase by 33%! This includes:

Hence the reason that the Experian Data Quality report focuses on the growing trend of hiring Chief Data Officers (CDO) to bridge the gap between data and decision-making. 63% of organizations without a CDO would like to see a CDO role created in the future. This is primarily because the CIOs surveyed do not have the time nor the capacity needed to drive successful and profitable data projects. A full 68% of CIOs without a CDO in their business think their current role fails to cover the majority of responsibilities a CDO would have.

While there are many distinct roles that a CDO could play within organizations, the "guardian of the data" role appears to be one of the most critical. 92% of the companies surveyed have experienced problems as a result of inaccurate data in the last 12 months. These problems include:

I have only scratched the surface on this comprehensive, 12-page report. If you are interested in better leveraging your data assets for increased ROI and increased business performance, I recommend that you download The Chief Data Officer: Bridging the gap between data and decision-making and read the full report.

Weather you know it or not, your data is both a strategic asset for your business and, when deployed properly can be a distinct competitive advantage. If you don't have one already, it's a good idea to build (or update) your data management strategy. Companies like Experian would be happy to help you with this effort if you feel like you're downing in a sea of your own data. Don't feel bad. You're not alone.

That said, companies who figure this out and leverage their data as a strategic asset will reap the rewards through better decision making and better customer engagements throughout the buyers journey. Figuring out how to deploy your Big Data assets is worth the struggle. When implemented correctly, your data provides better insights for key decisions and will help drive a more profitable business.