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8 in 10 business leaders say data is critical in decision-making at their organization today
However, they also cite challenges in using it — 41% of business leaders lack understanding of data because it’s complex or not accessible enough
73% of companies plan to continue or increase spending on data skills and training for employees to close the gap
A new global survey of nearly 10,000 business leaders reveals that while they know using data is important to their business, the vast majority aren’t harnessing its power for better decision-making and business results.
According to Salesforce’s Untapped Data Research, business leaders are struggling to put data into practice to quickly make strategic business decisions and navigate economic uncertainties because they can’t make sense of it.
With the proper training on data skills, data can help business leaders make better decisions, earn trust, and reduce uncertainty — even amid challenging times.
Companies aren’t tapping their data’s potential
Companies see value in using data to drive business decisions, especially in times of uncertainty:
- Today, 8 in 10 (80%) business leaders say data is critical in decision-making at their organization.
- Seventy-three percent agree that data helps reduce uncertainty and make more accurate decisions in business conversations.
While companies agree about the advantages of using data, there’s a clear disconnect from how they’re actually using it in practice. For example, a majority of companies aren’t actually using their data to make critical business decisions:
- More than two-thirds (67%) of business leaders are not using data to decide on pricing in line with economic conditions, such as inflation.
- Less than one-third (29%) are using data to inform their strategy when launching in new markets.
There are also missed opportunities for companies to use their data to drive company values:
- Almost 8 in 10 (79%) business leaders are not using data to inform their organization’s diversity and inclusion policies.
- Only 17% of business leaders are using data to help guide their climate targets.
Data creates efficiency and trust amid uncertainty
When integrated and leveraged correctly, data has huge potential to build efficiency and trust among both customers and employees:
- Seventy-two percent of business leaders think data keeps people focused on the things that matter and that are relevant to the business.
- Seventy-three percent agree data helps accelerate decision-making.
- Seventy-three percent believe that data builds trust in business conversations.
- Two-thirds (66%) think that data helps minimize the influence of personal opinions or egos in a business conversation.
Companies need to close the data skills gap to realize data value
Business leaders report being paralyzed by the influx of data, their knowledge of how to best operationalize it, and how to use it to invest strategically going forward:
- Forty-one percent of business leaders cite a lack of understanding of data because it is too complex or not accessible enough.
- One-third (33%) of business leaders cite the lack of ability to generate insights from data.
- Almost one-third (30%) are overwhelmed by the amount of data, which is expected to more than double in size by 2026.
To address these concerns, 73% of companies are planning to continue or increase spending on data skills development and training for employees.
Data literacy training for employees can establish a data culture that supports business goals and improves resilience during the tough economic climate.
Business leaders are experiencing one of the toughest economic markets of our time, but they have an untapped advantage for better decision-making: their data.Juan Perez, Chief Information Officer, Salesforce
“The secret to driving true insights is marrying data with analytics. A combination of data, analytics, and the necessary data skills enables companies to maximize their technology investments and uncover opportunities that drive business strategy and strengthen customer trust,” said Perez.
- Read how decision intelligence can help everyone make data-driven decisions that benefit the organization.
- Register for Tableau Conference 2023, the annual data event of the year happening May 9-11, 2023.
- Learn about free data skills programs, including data literacy training for individuals and a guide for organizations.
- Discover how to deliver success now with real-time data.
Salesforce conducted this global survey in partnership with YouGov in September 2022. The total sample size was 9,837 business leaders and decision-makers, including top- and mid-level managers, directors, chief executives, partners, and owners at companies of all sizes and sectors in the following countries: Singapore (1,102), India (1,095), Australia (1,072), Japan (1,026), U.K. (1,011), U.S. (1,010), France (1,008), Germany (1,005), Brazil (1,004), and Mexico (504). The figures are representative of adult populations (aged 18+).