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Data reduces uncertainty and drives better decisions
Wed, 15th Mar 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

While Australian business leaders know using data is important to their organisations, the vast majority are not harnessing its power for better decision-making and business results, according to new research.

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
Australian companies see value in using data to drive business decisions, especially in times of uncertainty. The research found about 7 in 10 (71%) business leaders say data is critical in decision-making at their organisation. Seventy-six percent agree that data helps reduce uncertainty and make more accurate decisions in business conversations.

While companies agree about the advantages of using data, theres a clear disconnect from how they are actually using it in practice. For example, a majority of companies are not actually using their data to make critical business decisions:

More than two-thirds (69%) of business leaders are not using data to decide on pricing in line with economic conditions, such as inflation. Less than one-third (27%) 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.

The research found that almost 8 in 10 (79%) business leaders are not using data to inform their organisation's diversity and inclusion policies. Only 22% 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-four percent of business leaders think data keeps people focused on the things that matter and that are relevant to the business. Seventy-six percent agree data helps accelerate decision-making. Seventy-five percent believe that data builds trust in business conversations. 7 in 10 (70%) think that data helps minimise the influence of personal opinions or egos in a business conversation.

Companies need to close the digital skills gap to realise data value
Australian business leaders report being paralysed by the influx of data, their knowledge of how to best operationalise it, and how to use it to invest strategically going forward. 

The research found 45% of business leaders cite a lack of understanding of data because it is too complex or not accessible enough, while 36% of business leaders cite the lack of ability to generate insights from data. Almost one-third (31%) are overwhelmed by the amount of data, which is expected to more than double in size by 2026.

To address these concerns, 77% 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," says Juan Perez, Chief Information Officer, Salesforce.

"The secret to driving true insights is marrying data with analytics," he says. 

"A combination of data, analytics, and the necessary data skills enables companies to maximise their technology investments and uncover opportunities that drive business strategy and strengthen customer trust."