Businesses and data management, only 15% are future proof

Data Management, Data Analytics and Data Security occupy a prominent place in the future plans of all companies

Only a minority (15%) of companies currently meet the criteria to be called a “Data Leader”. The data emerges from a report commissioned by Lenovo, ‘Data for Humanity’, carried out through interviews with executives of companies with a turnover equal to or greater than 500 million dollars present in five different countries, which analyzed how the largest global companies value data and what are the opportunities to use them to achieve their goals and obtain benefits in an extremely competitive market context. Data Leaders are an elite group of companies that have implemented successful strategies based on three fundamental pillars: Data Management, Data Analytics and Data Security, which allow more effective use of data in all company functions. As a result, these data-centric businesses have seen a number of benefits and have successfully increased revenue (78%) and improved customer satisfaction (70%) over the past 12 months. Data leaders are also much less likely to suffer the effects of low employee productivity (13%) and reduced rate of innovation (10%).

Although only a minority fall into the category of Data Leaders, Data Management, Data Analytics and Data Security occupy a prominent place in the future plans of all companies. Business leaders say that over the next five years they will invest primarily in: cyber security tools (59%), artificial intelligence tools (58%), data analysis tools (57%), data archiving (55%). Other aspects considered fundamental for the valorisation of data are greater automation in management and/or analysis (89%) and improvement in the use of different types of data, such as external and unstructured ones (88%). The companies involved in the research are performing well in some specific areas. The majority of executives surveyed believe their data solution is scalable (58%), highly automated (57%) and easy for employees to use (55%). Many also believe that the tools and technologies currently available improve visibility, helping to provide a single view of all company data (54%) and being able to store most of it in the cloud (52%).

However, only half (52%) of executives are satisfied with their existing data platform, and about a quarter (23%) believe they are lagging behind the competition in this area. Security and skills are both cited as key areas holding companies back, along with internal communication and data integration challenges. Over half (56%) find it difficult to access their data from anywhere, an increasingly important factor in the age of hybrid work.

“The three data pillars play a major role in future IT investments, and it is only a matter of time before we see more and more companies become Data Leaders through the use of new tools and solutions,” comments Giovanni Di Filippo, EMEA President, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group. “Every business is at a different stage in their data journey – some are just getting started, while others are further along the journey. Our research suggests that the same is true for data management and analytics : Enterprises have built the foundation by storing most of their data in the cloud and implementing solutions that offer scalability, simplicity and visibility.But there is room to go much further, especially when it comes to making data more accessible and making it more actionable to inform or make business decisions. To achieve this, companies need the support of technology providers, while partners must work together to create the most effective solutions”.

Nearly all (91%) of executives surveyed say that improving cybersecurity solutions will be important or essential in enabling their organization to unlock the value of data. However, while the majority (57%) are confident that their data is secure, a significant percentage (43%) feel unsafe. Furthermore, when it comes to sharing data with external partners and organizations for purposes such as supporting environmental and health initiatives, improving education or encouraging innovation, security appears to be a key factor holding companies back. Security issues are cited as the top barrier to data sharing (89%), ahead of legacy systems and technological backwardness (88%), costs (87%) and competitiveness concerns (86%). Many (84%) believe that a lack of actionable data is a barrier. Almost a third (31%) admit to having suffered cyber risks as a result of not evolving their ability to manage and analyze data.

“Data security is seen by leaders as the area that needs the most attention, which is not surprising as cyber threats continue to evolve and the landscape becomes more and more complex,” comments Marco Pozzoni, director EMEA Storage Sales, Lenovo. “Security strategies require continuous application, not piecemeal. As the amount of data in companies’ possessions increases exponentially, also due to the growing adoption of AI and analytics, security capabilities must expand at the same pace With a greater emphasis on security solutions rather than products, combined with the difficulty of finding personnel with adequate security skills, enterprises are looking for unified and self-contained solutions to be able to safeguard their data.Basically, without the security, nor the Neither data management nor analytics will be able to express their full potential. The three data pillars depend on each other and this must be taken into consideration for companies to use them effectively”.

Companies certainly intend to make more use of their data and are starting to put plans in place to make this goal a reality. But a limited data-driven culture could be an obstacle to this goal. A majority of business leaders are looking to implement data strategies internally that include employee training plans on how to use data effectively (89%) and data management and analytics training (88%). Appointing a single role responsible for improving data integration and usage, such as a Chief Data Officer, is also seen as important (90%), although only a fifth (21%) of respondents say they have one already done it. While the majority (88%) of respondents consider recruiting and selection an important or essential part of their data strategy, more than three-quarters (79%) view a lack of skills as a threat to their business in the next few years. three years and only a third (35%) believe they currently have the know-how and capabilities within their organization to implement their plans. Many believe that data is the key to improving their performance in solving talent selection challenges (88%). And a quarter (23%) believe they have experienced difficulties recruiting and retaining staff as a result of not improving their ability to manage and analyze data.

However, the majority of business leaders agree that embedding a data-centric culture throughout the organization will be one of the cornerstones of data strategy in the coming years (whole 88%). Consistent with this percentage, two-fifths (40%) of those recognized as Data Leaders say their IT team works in partnership with the business to deliver data-driven initiatives, compared with just a quarter (24%) of those recognized as Data Leaders. who are considered Data Followers. “When it comes to data, talent shouldn’t be isolated within the IT team: all employees need to be empowered to use it effectively, and that starts with adopting the right culture,” comments Di Filippo. “While they are busy implementing plans related to the three data pillars, companies must not forget the invisible fourth pillar: data skills. Today, solutions are available that enable Data Management, Data Analytics and Data Security, employees must be able to use and apply them within their own professional arena to drive better business outcomes Business leaders have a burden to provide staff with more opportunities to develop technology skills beyond their traditional roles so as to create a generation of “Business Technologists” capable unleash the full potential of data. By doing so, companies will be able to achieve higher productivity, greater customer retention and improved revenues, as demonstrated by Data Leaders”.