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by Sofia Villegas
16 April 2024
UK IT leaders facing data handling crisis, report reveals

UK IT leaders are under pressure to use data amid a skills shortage | Alamy

UK IT leaders facing data handling crisis, report reveals

Nearly three-quarters of UK IT leaders are struggling to transform data into significant business value, a new report by Appsbroker and CTS has revealed.

More than 90 per cent of those surveyed are under a specific mandate from senior management to be more data-driven, yet 81 per cent lack the skills and knowledge to enable the workforce to do more with data.

Gathering 150 responses from UK IT decision-makers, the report revealed misuse of data is having significant financial and operational implications for businesses.

Matt Penton, head of data and analytics at Appsbroker and CTS, said: “Leaders are using data for big business-defining decisions, so they’d better be confident that information is right.

“Reporting bad numbers can have very serious and public repercussions, and customer complaints can quickly lead to churn. Unless you’re selling grated unicorn horns, customers can and will go elsewhere. These are the tangible costs that can sink a company when data is used ineffectively.”

Almost four in ten of those surveyed said they had made decisions based on inaccurate data, with more than 35 per cent admitting it had resulted in them overspending or underspending on projects or making inaccurate forecasts. A quarter of respondents also said it had caused their company to miss revenue opportunities.

The inability to make full use of data had also meant less than half – 46 per cent – of the IT projects that relied on data had run on time, within budget, and to the intended scope.

Other ramifications included around three in ten suffering customer complaints, a delay in their product or service launches or missing reporting deadlines.

A majority said the complexity of their organisations data architecture is increasing exponentially, with 79 per cent of respondents stating it’s "near impossible to get a single organisational view" as businesses are using more than 30 different sources of data.

IT data complexity, legacy systems, and a shortage in skills and sources ranked as the main barriers preventing organisations from becoming data driven.

Most respondents - 69 per cent – also admitted to hoarding data in data lakes and only using a fraction of it.

“The moment data is created and available, it should be surfaced to make timely decisions. Hoarding old and irrelevant data escalates cost, reduces efficiency, and increases risk,” Penton explained.

The report listed having external assessments of where businesses sit on the data maturity scale, ranking data sources based on their value, and embracing data automation as some of the key steps towards simplifying the issue.

 “Complexity isn’t going away, but automation, common tooling, low code, and no code can make it easier to manage data. By taking a structured and realistic approach, speaking with experts, and deploying the right tools, every business can unlock the power of their data brain,” Penton added.

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