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72% UK Analytics and IT Leaders Struggle to Drive Business Priorities with Data – Salesforce Research

Quick take: Salesforce’s State of Data and Analytics report, based on a survey of more than 600 UK technical and business leaders, reveals how companies are tackling data management and decision-making in the age of AI. 

Editor’s note: Visualisations included throughout this article set global responses as default. UK responses are available via filter.


Data security and reliability have long been critical to the success of business initiatives. But rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have made these elements all the more important.

Nearly nine in ten (89%) UK analytics and IT leaders agree: advances in AI make data management a higher priority, according to a new survey of over 600 analytics, IT, and business decision leaders.

These findings, part of Salesforce’s global State of Data and Analytics survey of more than 10,000 respondents across 18 countries, finds a lack of confidence in data accuracy among respondents.

To navigate these challenges, leaders are focusing on improving data governance and creating a data culture to meet the moment.

Advances in AI make trusted data — and data management — more important than ever

Over three-quarters of UK business leaders surveyed (77%) are worried that their company is missing out on the transformational benefits of generative AI, to improve productivity, efficiency, and grow revenue.

Teams closest to the data, namely, data and analytics teams, have the most confidence in their data’s accuracy.

Less than half (47%) of UK analytics and IT leaders report being completely confident in their data

Levels among lines-of-business departments, like marketing, sales, and service, are lower, with only 40% of UK business leaders completely trusting their data.

Security threats and lack of data harmonisation hinder data reliability

UK business and technical leaders agree on the biggest challenge when it comes to their data’s usefulness: security threats. 

Rising cyber concerns are compounded by another major issue: organisational data is increasing in both volume and complexity.

While more data can improve personalisation, analytics and IT leaders are overwhelmed. Seventy-two percent say their organisations struggle to drive business priorities with data. Often due to challenges around standardising, or harmonising, high volumes of disparate data. 

Fortunately, analytics and IT leaders are tackling these business concerns head on with “improving data quality” listed as their top priority. By focusing on their data foundations, technical leaders are also getting a jumpstart on building out their AI capabilities.

Data governance and culture lays foundation for data-driven decisions

A key part of building a foundation for AI success is data governance —  the set of rules or policies by which information is collected, managed, stored, measured, and communicated within an organisation. The vast majority of analytics and IT leaders surveyed use data governance to ensure and certify baseline data quality (88%).

Of course, improving trust in data is more than a technical fix; fostering a strong data culture — creating a mindset and practice around the value of being a data-driven company — is critical to driving confidence and adoption. 

Over three-quarters of UK analytics and IT leaders are investing in more data analysis tools (81%) and training (75%) for greater productivity, innovation, and better customer service

“The AI revolution is actually a data revolution, and a company’s AI strategy is only as strong as its data strategy, with trust at its core,” said Salesforce’s Chief Data Officer Wendy Batchelder. “Managing data is the most important action a business can take to successfully implement generative AI. To effectively manage data, leaders must use data governance strategically and invest in a strong culture now more than ever.” 

More information

Methodology

Data in this report is from two double-anonymous surveys conducted from June 16 through July 31, 2023. The first survey generated 300 responses from UK analytics and IT decision and the second survey generated an additional 300 responses from UK line-of-business leaders. The global survey entailed 5,540 responses from analytics and IT decision makers and 5,540 responses from line-of-business leaders respectively, from 18 different countries across North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. More details can be found in the report. Cultural bias impacts country-level survey results.

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