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Make your data smarter

CEOs are working to bridge the gaps in their business capabilities, which includes translating a deluge of data into better decision making.

Almost all Australian CEOs (95%) know the long-term success and durability of their business depends on data about their customers' and clients' preferences and needs. Yet only 7% believe their customer data is comprehensive.

Leaders need to call out data as a critical business enabler, see it as a business accountability and build capabilities to mine data across the customer-facing parts of the business. This will shift data from being ‘tech-led’ to ‘business-led’ and is the first step to a data-driven organisation.

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Leaders also need a data and analytics strategy to develop an ‘Insight System of Record’ to corral data into useable and actionable intelligence across the business. Over 90% of CEOs stress the importance of data to brands, financial forecasts, customer preferences and business risks, but few have access to a system that leverages company-wide data, analyses it and delivers valuable insights.

Following the breadcrumbs of what customers are actually doing rather than solely using surveys or focus groups can provide better evidence for forward-looking decisions. Without this knowledge, leaders are relying on intuition alone to guess what customers want.

Globally, many top companies are now using predictive data systems, and local CEOs know they've got some catching up to do. Less than half (44%) feel they are on par with competitors in their ability to make decisions based on data and analytics.

Make use of what you've got - and keep collecting

Getting smarter about data means letting go of legacy issues. The emergence of cheap, cloud-based open source and data warehousing, alongside sophisticated analytics tools, means technology is not critical to generating powerful insights from data. Today, data itself is becoming more important than technology.

By focusing on business issues, it’s possible to generate valuable insights with the data you already have. Marketing, sales, finance and HR data is all useful. At the same time, you need to be able to keep integrating new sources of data. Today, more than 70% of new data is 'unstructured', such as voice data mined for insights into mood or intention, emails, or data from IoT GPS sensors or health devices.

Address the skills gaps

There is a shortage of skilled talent to clean, integrate, and extract value from big data and the gap between the information CEOs need and what they get has not closed in the past ten years.

Yes, expectations have risen as technology has advanced. But CEOs also recognise they simply don’t have the capability to use the data they have to take optimised decisions. The problem is not a lack of data (the volume of data has expanded exponentially), nor the inability to secure and protect it, or the constraints of privacy regulation. According to Australian CEOs, the ‘lack of analytical talent’ (52%), ‘data siloing’ (51%), and ‘poor data reliability’ (49%) are the primary reasons the data they receive is inadequate.

Finding the right data talent is a significant challenge for CEOs looking to become more data-driven.

How to become a data-driven CEO

To benefit from data you need to get your house in order and make your data work smarter. Build a strong data foundation and create an Insight System of Record. Start with these three focus areas:

  1. Understand your data: What data do you have and what data do you need to develop or acquire to properly execute the organisation’s strategy and achieve outcomes?
  2. Organise that data: After you understand and procure the right data, you need to streamline, organise and integrate it. This typically involves data in the cloud, data lakes, and other emerging data storage and integration technologies operated by new business data capabilities.
  3. Build trust in the data: It needs to be transparent and secure, with good data governance, data quality and data cleansing processes in place.

Contact us

John Studley

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 3770

Adam Lai

Partner, Marketing, Sales & Service GTM Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 400 435 621

Scott Gillespie

National Thought Leadership Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 3229

Kieran McCann

Head of Content and Thought Leadership, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 0252

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