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Big data is big business, as companies track the performance of all assets with extremely granular precision. The companies who can most efficiently turn data into action will receive the spoils—and we’ve got the data to prove it.

Why do companies love data?

Companies collect and process data because it allows them to make informed decisions for the highest return. It’s a growing asset across all major industries with companies investing an incredible amount of resources.

We recently released the 2017 edition of our Data Chasers Survey, examining the challenges and opportunities of data within industries. The survey found that modern companies overwhelmingly see data as an essential asset to their business. Of the companies surveyed:

  • 93% of respondents believe data has driven significant improvements in their industry in the last 5-years.
  • 92% believe that better-using data will directly impact their industry’s long-term success.

While modern companies prioritize the collection and application of data, they struggle in turning data into valuable actions. In 2015 alone, companies spent an average of $7.4 million on data-related initiatives. Yet, nearly 40% of companies today struggle to take effective action on data with a sizable portion believing their efforts are wasteful.

What’s holding companies back from taking action?

Our survey findings point to outdated tools and a lack of direction on data actions as the biggest time wasters that modern companies are facing today. Data must be processed into information before it is useful to management. This can be a resource intensive process and the mounting work and pressure from management are overwhelming. Some of the factors that lead to contribute to a waste of time include:

  • 44% reported using outdated data tools
  • 30% felt their efforts where congested from too many data sources
  • 28% poor data collection methods require extensive cleanup

While data is essential for big decisions, 43% of those surveyed felt the company could make the most of their decisions without an exhaustive use of data. This was especially true for the retail industry where 5% respondents felt that time was wasted on data efforts—more than any other industry. Retail respondents were more likely to cite too many data requests, too many data sources, and poor data collection practices as major factors that lead to wasted time.

In some instances, management teams are relying on exhaustive data use as a crutch for poor communication throughout the company. Instead of asking for briefs and status reports, management teams rely on data alone for visibility into activities outside of their department. What’s more concerning is a staggering 41% of managers take the opposite actions proposed by the data.

What can companies do to fix this?

Most of the issues holding back valuable actions can be fixed with the right tools for the job. Some companies still rely on manual tools like spreadsheets and word processors as the primary tool for every data function. If given the right tools, 75% of those surveyed believe they would perform better in their jobs.

Management teams can also improve performance with better communication across the company. 72% of those surveyed said that if they had a single organization-wide view of data they could do their job better. On top of that, 50% said they currently had limited visibility into company data outside of their department.

Data can be super insightful—giving everybody working with the data some pretty awesome insight into challenges lying in wait and untapped opportunities for more business. You’ll get the most out of your data by giving your team more transparency and application.

Everyday Square Root works with large, multi-unit organizations to help them turn data into action with our store relationship management platform, CoEFFICIENT®. Are you spending big bucks on data with little action? Download our infographic to see how your organization stacks up and how Square Root can help.