Why so few master the data economy


The data economy is still in its infancy. There are big gaps between the types of data access and sharing activities that companies would like to do, what they actually do. This was evident in this week’s Snowflake report titled “How to Win in Today’s Data Economy”, which showed low private sector mastery of the data economy, but by contrast, high margin of growth.

Former Forrester analyst Jennifer Belissent, who is now Snowflake’s chief data strategist, was the report’s lead author. She sought to explore the extent to which companies are actually participating in the data economy (versus what they claim to be doing) and discovering what is holding them back.

The report is based on a survey of 1,000 data and IT professionals in companies across multiple industries located around the world, as well as interviews with Snowflake customers. Participants had to answer questions such as: to what extent do you base your business decisions on data? Can you share data internally? Do you share or access data externally? And how confident are you in the quality of the data?

“It was really about how to participate in this larger movement that we see around the data economy,” she says.

At a high level, Belissent found very few companies that are doing everything right when it comes to participating in the data economy. In fact, only 6% of companies surveyed by Snowflake could be considered leaders in the data economy.

According to Snowflake, leaders in the data economy share these characteristics:

  • They have unlimited access to their data, wherever it is;
  • They use data to inform all or most of their business decisions;
  • They use data to advance their strategic goals, such as increasing revenue and identifying new business opportunities;
  • They are able to share data securely with external partners.

Surprised the number is so low? Not Belissent, who spent 12 years tracking data at Forrester. “Frankly, I was not so surprised”, she says datanami. “In terms of consistency with research I’ve seen in the past, this study was pretty much on target.”

Participating in the data economy is a mixed bag at the moment (Source: Snowflake report “How to win in today’s data economy”)

The survey identified several areas where companies are particularly weak when it comes to participating in the data economy.

“Skills came up as one of the biggest hurdles. It’s not really surprising. The talent barrier was the highest,” she says. “A lot of the challenges really stay on the people and process side. Get people to change the way they think about technology. »

The survey found that 55% of all survey respondents said they were able to share and access data between their business units within their organization, and 45% said they were able to share and access data externally.

“We would like to see higher percentages across all companies when it comes to sharing, especially external,” Belissent says. “Ideally, companies could access their internal data and share data internally. I think it should be higher.

Other dichotomies have emerged between leaders and laggards in the data economy. For starters, Leaders are more likely to have clear data governance policies and goals than Laggards (75% to 61%). Leaders are also significantly more likely to be able to access all available data through a single app or system than Laggards (54% vs. 25%). Data literacy programs were also in place more often among Data Leaders than Laggards (79% vs. 63%). And

That old bugaboo data quality has also made an appearance. According to Belissent, tech companies are more likely to trust their data. “If you’re going to use your data, but you don’t trust its quality, you won’t be using it for very long,” she says. “The makers won’t want to bet the farm on something they don’t think is high quality.”

Some industries and sectors are doing better than others in the data economy (Source: Snowflake report “How to win in today’s data economy”)

Success in the data economy is also correlated with having a C-level sponsor – preferably a chief data officer (CDO) – who helps drive the data strategy. The report found that 68% of data economy leaders had a senior person with overall responsibility for implementing the data strategy, compared to just 38% of data laggards.

However, about half of the companies had a C-level person responsible for everything. “That kind of leadership is something we hoped to see more of in organizations,” Belissent says.

Taken as a whole, the report shows that there is still a lot of work to be done before a large part of the real economy participates in the new data economy. Snowflake, which operates a large data marketplace where customers can buy and sell data, is eager to be at the crossroads of this (hopefully) booming marketplace. But we are not there yet.

“I think there’s still a long way to go,” says Belissent. “As you said, not everyone can be a Snowflake customer, but I think we have the tools we need to make it happen, making sure people have access to their own data, to the less to their own internal data and then possibly external data, but I think we still have a long way to go.

The report suggests that it will take a lot of work to get to the point where the majority of businesses are fully participating in the data economy. Considering we’ve been in this big data business for over a decade, should this be considered a failure? Belissent platforms.

“One of the things we see…with our customers is that they were excited about investing in infrastructure, but they recognize that it takes more than that to really get things done. “, she says. “And so questions about how do you set up a center of excellence, how do you put the right processes in place, how do you set up a data governance board to mediate between the different parties that own the data and want to s sure other people are going to use it wisely.

“Some of these process-type questions aren’t necessarily about writing a check. It’s about changing the way they work,” she continues. “The people and process element that can be very challenging.”

You can access Snowflake’s “How to Win in Today’s Data Economy” here.

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