Data-driven businesses vastly more optimistic – research
Optimism at data-driven businesses is massively higher than at those where digitalisation has not been embraced.
That’s the key finding of research undertaken by data management company Tableau and researchers from YouGov.
The study, which focused on European businesses, found companies were failing to adjust to data-centric operations, particularly in the UK where 48 per cent did not regard themselves as data driven (versus 46 per cent that did).
In Germany, France and the Netherlands, the balance was tipped in favour of data.
In the context of Covid-19, 80 per cent of business leaders claimed they had a critical advantage by being data driven, leading researchers to conclude that a data divide was opening up. Data driven companies were able to make strategic decisions faster, improve communication and increase cross-team collaboration.
The YouGov survey, commissioned by Tableau, asked more than 3,500 senior managers in small, medium and large enterprises, about their approach to data during the pandemic.
‘Wake up or fall behind’
Tony Hammond, vice president strategy and growth EMEA at Tableau, said, "This year has been an accelerant of change for businesses, ushering in an all-digital world faster than anyone could have ever imagined, and data is at the heart of this digital world.
“In this age of data, our research shows that data-driven companies are seeing clear advantages and are more confident in the future of their business. As a result, they are really leaning into the power of their data. Companies that have not yet woken up to this are at risk of falling behind. But all companies, large or small, can be reassured that it's not too late to harness the power of data – the time is now.”
"We started building data skills across our business in 2013, and the pandemic has definitely seen us benefit from these capabilities," states for Henkel, one of the world's leading consumer goods and industrial companies. "For example, we were able to record the entire control of our personal protective equipment within a few days, so that every plant can see how we are equipped in this regard - allowing our business to continue operating. I am convinced that we will take some good lessons with us into the future, especially when it comes to collaboration."
- Dr Dirk Holbach, corporate senior vice president & CSCO (laundry and home care)
"Our data-driven strategy is helping the business respond to consumer behaviour - enabling us to pivot and react with greater speed and clarity. It's all about empowering the full organisation through data. Employees are exploring data from across the whole organisation and turning it into insight we can act upon, whether that's revenue forecasts, distribution effectiveness, or marketing spend."
- Jay Kotecha, data scientist
Harnessing APIs to unlock and operationalise your data
Data is the fuel that powers modern businesses. It’s widely accepted that unlocking insight from data is key to driving successful digital transformation and competitive advantage. Yet the gap between understanding the importance of data-driven insight and being able to achieve it remains stubbornly wide, as critical information remains locked away in silos. To overcome these challenges, businesses must try a new approach. API-led connectivity offers a reusable, standardised way to integrate data across multiple platforms, systems, and applications. When done right, it can be the fast-track to IT and business teams productivity, innovation, and growth.
A data explosion
The past decade has seen a data explosion. Analyst firm IDC predicted that over 59 zettabytes (ZBs) of data would be “created, captured, copied, and consumed” in the world last year alone. In the next three years it’s predicted to continue growing at a CAGR of 26%, during which time more data will have been created than during the past 30 years. At the top of any CIO or business leader’s wish-list is the ability to extract insight from these vast troves of information in order to make more effective decisions. According to McKinsey, data-driven companies are 1.5 times more likely to report revenue growth of greater than 10%.
Unfortunately, just like much of the population for much of the last 12 months, data is locked down and isolated. MuleSoft’s 2021 Connectivity Benchmark report reveals that data silos and existing IT infrastructure are making it difficult for most firms to integrate new technologies and make changes to IT systems and applications. In fact, currently less than third of enterprise applications on average are integrated, so there is still significant room for improvement. Those organisations that are able to connect the dots between their data stand to realise increased customer engagement, business transformation and innovation benefits.
Journey towards API-led integration
Legacy custom code point-to-point integration may have been fine a decade ago when enterprises ran relatively few applications. But today’s businesses need something altogether more agile. Point-to-point can be expensive and complex, which means IT ends up spending too much of its time on maintenance and not enough on innovation.
This is where APIs come in, offering a more seamless and cost-effective way to drive integration through discoverability, self-service, and reuse. Rather than building the same point-to-point integration for use in 10 different projects, which requires each to be maintained individually as unique sets of code, a single API can be developed to be reused across them all. An API-led approach therefore means companies only have to unlock each data set just once to empower business teams across the organisation to use that data in their own projects.
The value of this approach can be extended even further with today’s low-code tools, which support drag-and-drop integrations. This can help to ease the burden on IT teams and empower business users to deliver their own integration projects.
The LendingTree experience
One company that has driven major improvements through reusable APIs is online loans marketplace LendingTree. Originally its 16 different business units were operating with siloed, incomplete data, meaning 360-degree customer insight was impossible—affecting sales and the end-user experience. The firm was not able to capture or analyse call centre data, limiting its ability to improve experiences for its customers.
Using APIs to draw in data from multiple systems and databases in real-time, LendingTree was able to consolidate its customer data on Salesforce to create a single source of truth for cross-departmental teams. This approach empowers service agents by giving them access to individuals’ loan application history from a single console, drastically reducing the time it takes them to consolidate various sources of customer data. As such, its API-led integration approach has allowed LendingTree to free up time and resources to launch new capabilities faster.
The future’s digital
Organisations have been affected in many different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. But across the board, the desire among business leaders over the coming months will be to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever. Data-driven insight will be vital to this achievement, as businesses push ahead with digital innovation. API-led integration can help them to ensure that data strategies are long-lasting and sustainable, paving the way for long-term success and a brighter digital future.