Organisations need to be data innovators to make a real difference

Credit: ID 154742021 © Pop Nukoonrat |

Data is the lifeblood of any organisation. It’s what drives customer engagement, boosts employee productivity, streamlines operations and, in some cases, even transforms age-old companies into digital powerhouses.

An organisation’s “data use maturity” – its sophistication in discovering and operationalising all of its data – can be measured by looking at three characteristics, including its commitment of resources to finding dark data and putting it to use, the prevalence of modern tools and skill sets optimised for data investigation and the overall effectiveness of the organisation at operationalising its data. Together, these attributes indicate an organisation’s ability to not only glean insights from its data, but to convert these insights into concrete, data-driven decision making and real-time action.

There are key stages that organisations need to take to harness available data, but it’s the data innovators, those which place the strongest strategic emphasis on data and have an advanced strategy in place to extract business value, that are truly making a difference to operational efficiency and profitability.

Recent data from Splunk’s “What's Your Data Really Worth?” research report has shown that 74% of Australian organisations have reduced their volume of dark data (unknown and untapped data) over the past 12 months. This is more than any other country, showing a willingness for Australian businesses to harness that potential and do something meaningful with it. 

How we measure data maturity

When looking at the different stages of data maturity, it’s the organisations committed to being ‘data innovators’ that can make the most impactful difference. But what does that mean, exactly? Data maturity refers to how organisations use data, by comparing the commitment of resources to discover and use dark data, based on the priority to investigate.

Credit: ID 124449250 © Pop Nukoonrat |

A high level of data maturity is reached when data is woven deeply into the fabric of an organisation and has become incorporated in every key decision that an organisation makes. This means that employees have the right investigation tools and skills, allowing them to have the best opportunity to capitalise through investigation, monitoring, analysis and through thoughtful action.

There are three levels of data maturity to help a business determine where it is on the data journey. Data deliberators represent organisations that are in the early phase of their data strategy implementation, while data adopters are those that are in the early phase of their data strategy implementation. It’s the data innovators that are leading the charge, placing the strongest strategic emphasis on data and having procedures in place to properly extract business value.  

The benefits of being a data innovator

It’s clear that organisations have an opportunity to use data more effectively when it comes to making insightful decisions and tapping into data resources to lead strategical thinking, therefore maximising effectiveness. But a wealth of data alone does not guarantee business gains. In fact, many data-rich organisations fall short of ambitions to glean actionable insights from customer profiles and transactional records. Ultimately, the farther a company is along the data maturity curve, the more likely it is to realise a return on their data assets.

Being effective with data goes beyond decision making and strategical thinking though, being able to focus on customers is one vital way to ensure a business can truly succeed in an ever-changing market. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and satisfaction drives loyalty, with retention proving more important than ever. 

Credit: ID 143210544 © Wutthichai Luemuang |

In fact, 74% of data innovators confirm that they’ve managed to improve customer experience by uncovering dark data and revealed that user satisfaction scores are higher than their competitors/peers. This proves that being able to properly employ data can have great success in improving customer experience, increasing bottom-line outcomes.

How Australian organisations stack up

Australia is in many ways leading the charge when it comes to data utilisation, which bodes well for organisations in the land down under. With almost three quarters of Australian organisations having reduced the volume of dark data over the past 12 months, this is a larger improvement than any other country, showing that Australians are keen to adapt and learn to make improvements.

Beyond the dark data organisations have uncovered, 64% are also most likely to report improved time to market or manufacturing time as a result of better data utilisation, and the companies that attribute an operational cost reduction thanks to this also reported the largest average decrease in costs over the past year. 

Some ground has been made by Australian organisations to uncover dark data so far, and it’s those businesses that have made the initial strides to maximising their full potential. There is more work to be done though. More Australian organisations need to strive to be data innovators, allowing them to unlock business benefits and stay ahead of the competition. It’s easy to take those initial steps to better understand data maturity; it’s time to push the boundaries even further.

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Simon Eid

Simon Eid

PC World
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