The growth rate of companies’ data maturity has almost doubled since 2018, from 8% to 15%, said Boston Consulting Group when releasing results of a related survey.
The survey, the third in a series conducted by BCG since 2015, asked more than 1,100 respondents across industries worldwide to evaluate their level of maturity and set target aspiration levels for the following three years, according to BCG.
Using a scale of one to five, participants assessed themselves on seven core data capabilities, which collectively encompass 40 competencies, the firm noted.
Advances in all capabilities have contributed to companies’ growth in data maturity since the previous survey in 2018, but particular gains were made in core areas such as data governance, data platforms, and ecosystems and partnerships, BCG pointed out.
However, a gap between champions and laggards remains across all capabilities, the firm said.
Companies in the technology and telecommunications, financial institutions, and consumer industries continue to lead in data, BCG noted.
Significant gains were also made in the energy and public sector spaces, BCG noted, adding that each showed improvement, 23% and 25%, respectively, in data maturity since 2018.
Many policymakers’ increasing focus on digital government services may be a key driver for public sector growth, BCG pointed out.
By contrast, the automotive industry showed little progress, despite producing vehicles that are increasingly digital, BCG said.
While the US strengthened its lead as the most data-mature country, Asian countries are increasingly closing the gap, according to the company, adding that China and Singapore registered 20% and 22% growth, respectively, since 2018.
Companies are setting ambitious growth targets—as high as 30% across all seven core data capabilities—with many hoping to achieve state-of-the-art capabilities over the next three years, survey results indicate.
However, that is double the growth rate seen over the past three years, BCG pointed out.
Realistic targets matter
Top-performing companies set more-realistic targets of about 15% growth that they successfully hit, BCG advised.
By contrast, less mature companies often set higher targets that they are unable to reach, the firm added.
“Focusing on setting achievable targets is key to closing the gap between data champions and laggards,” said Antoine Gourévitch, a BCG managing director and senior partner and coauthor of the study.
Three critical success factors
According to BCG, there are three critical success factors when it comes to building data capabilities.
Focus on business outcomes. Data capabilities are a means to an end, rather than a goal. Their real value lies in generating insights that lead to smarter business decisions and improvements in business and financial performance.
Rather than investing in data capabilities for their own sake, companies should identify specific business problems that they are trying to solve and direct their efforts to specific use cases with the potential to unlock value.
Apply a broad-based approach. Rather than over-emphasising a particular data capability, the best companies invest to build their maturity in all seven core capabilities of the pyramid.
There is no magic bullet, and if companies underperform in one area, over-performing in another will likely not be enough to compensate.
Build incrementally over time. Rather than aiming for a “big bang,” companies should build data capabilities in a deliberate, incremental manner over time.
Teams should adopt a mindset of test, learn, and improve. This approach will build momentum and credibility throughout the organization as others see successes mount.