The pandemic taught us that the greatest weapon against uncertainty is information. Companies that had already begun their data and digital transformations before COVID fared far better as the market shifted.
So it should come as no surprise that in response to our annual Talend Data Health Barometer survey, 99% of our respondents said that data is important to their organisation. As a company whose entire existence is dedicated to helping other businesses maximise the value of their data, we couldn’t be happier with that stat. Half our job is already done — you value the data you have.
Here’s the not-so-good news. While nearly everyone knows that data is important, almost no one is able to use it to its full potential. No exaggerations here: fully 97% of our survey cohort admitted that their organisations are dealing with challenges in using data effectively. There is still a lot of work ahead, and the pressure to get it right is increasing. With a full-fledged recession looming, businesses that are successful at making data management a priority now are much more likely to weather an economic downturn successfully — and emerge on the other side with an established competitive advantage.
- 99% of companies recognise that data is crucial for success
- (Yet) 97% face challenges in using data effectively
- Nearly half say it's not easy to use data to drive business impact
- A full one-third say that not everyone in the company understands the data they work with
- 46% don't feel that their data has the speed and flexibility to satisfy the demands of the business
- The year’s survey recorded a 10-point YoY drop in satisfaction on all five markers of data health: timeliness, accuracy, consistency, accessibility, and completeness
With strong economic headwinds, the timing of this downward trend could not be any worse. These results suggest that for every business going forward, the focus needs to be on the final mile: bringing companies that lag behind up to par on their data initiatives and helping companies that already prioritise data get even more value from their investment.
A company’s overall data health describes not just the state of a company’s data, but how well it supports its business objectives. Compared to a year ago, we’ve seen an alarming slip in all five markers of data health. In particular, we saw an 18-point drop in the timeliness of data, with 25% of companies questioning whether their critical data is up to date.
Timeliness: 18-point drop
Accuracy: 11-point drop
Consistency: 11-point drop
Accessibility: 9-point drop
Completeness: 11-point drop
Driving impact with data is a challenge
Nearly half of companies say it’s not easy to use data to make a difference where it matters most.
Q6. In your company, how easy is it to use data to drive business impact?
Overall data health is falling
On all five markers of healthy data —timeliness, accuracy, consistency, accessibility, and completeness —companies rate themselves around 10 points lower in 2022 than they did in 2021.
Q18. Please rate your company's current capabilities as it relates to ensuring data quality and reliability: Timeliness (data is up to date), Accuracy (data is correct), Consistency (data format is homogeneous), Accessibility (data is readily available or easily retrievable), Completeness (data is sufficiently complete for its intended use)
In your company, how easy is it to drive business impact?
The #1 barrier to getting real value from data isn’t about budget or technology — it’s about people. Building a data culture that fosters a common understanding about data and how it’s used should be a top priority for organisations that want to realise the operational and economic promise of data initiatives.
1 in 3 companies have reservations about how well employees understand the data they work with.
Data literacy is becoming a priority
A clear majority of companies have already realised the need for a common language around data. 65% of the companies we surveyed have started data literacy programmes to improve data understanding.
Q15. Is there a data literacy programme in place at your company?
The first step: a shared understanding data
In a turbulent economy, democratised data is the key to survival. But 1 in 3 companies have reservations about how well employees understand the data they work with. Without a common language for data, these businesses may not be prepared to face the challenges ahead.
Q14.7. How much do you agree with the following statement: Everyone in my company understands the data they work with (i.e., knows where the data comes from and shares the same definition for data points)
65% have a data literacy program.
Now more than ever, organisations must be ready to adapt to changing conditions — and that requires data agility. Agile businesses have the speed and flexibility to satisfy their data demands quickly, reliably, and at scale. This year, we found that a sizeable number of companies are still falling short of their need for fast access to trusted data.
46% lack speed and flexibility.
Time is of the essence
In the face of a tightening economy, companies can’t spare a second — yet almost half (41%) say they don’t have fast access to the right data.
Q8.2. Which challenges does your company face in using data effectively? Getting fast access to the data we need.
It's harder for the people to access the data they need.
Data agility lags behind
Nearly 1 in 2 companies claim that their data doesn't yet have the speed and flexibility they need to satisfy all the demands of the business.
Q13. Do you feel that your company's data has the speed and flexibility to satisfy the demands of the business?
41% don’t have fast access to the right data.
How has flexible work affected data agility?
COVID-19 made remote work an immediate priority, but for many, the data infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with new working styles. 57% of companies report that remote working has had a negative impact on their data agility.
Q14.5. How much do you agree with the following statement: With remote work, it’s harder for people to access the data they need
Without data trust, organisations will continue to hesitate and second-guess their data-driven decisions — potentially losing precious time when being strategic and responsive matters most. In 2022, data quality is a serious concern, leaving companies doubting both their data and the decisions they make based on that data.
Do we trust our data?
Not at a sustainable level. More than one-third of companies report that trusting the data they rely on to make business decisions is a major challenge.
Q8.5. Which challenges does your company face in using data effectively? Trusting data to make business decisions
Nearly 1 in 2 companies reported that ensuring data quality is a challenge.
With data in doubt, we don’t trust our decisions
Nearly one-third of the people we surveyed report a lack of company-wide confidence in decisions backed by data. This is hardly a surprise when the quality of the data is in question.
Q14.8. How much do you agree with the following statement: Everyone at my company feels confident in the business decisions we make on our data
36% report trusting data to make business decisions is a challenge.
Confidence comes from quality data
Yet nearly 1 in 2 companies reported that ensuring data quality is a challenge. In fact, of all the challenges that face in using data effectively, data quality was the top concern.
Q8.1. Which challenges does your company face in using data effectively? Ensuring data quality.
Everyone at my company feels confident in the business decisions we make on our data.
In the coming years, we are only going to become more reliant on data to navigate the challenges of a turbulent economy and an increasingly competitive marketplace. By putting a focus on healthy data — supported by a strong data culture with a focus on agility and trust — businesses can not only weather any storms, but come out ahead. Talend’s unified, end-to-end data management gives organizations the power to run lean in tough times without sacrificing their long-term strategy. For those looking to take action, we invite you to contact a Talend representative today to learn more.
Appendix: Where we got our data
In June 2022, Talend and Qualtrics led a global survey of independent data experts and leaders who regularly work with data. These professionals work in a range of large and medium-sized companies. 892 answers were considered complete for analysis.
Because data has become a key asset for many types of organisations, the respondents represent a variety of industries and departments. Of those who completed the survey, 64% said their role is more on the IT side, while 36% were on the business side. When we dug deeper, we learnt that 25% primarily deliver data, 22% primarily analyse data, and 21% both deliver data as well as analyse data, while 32% manage teams that deliver and analyse data for the rest of their organisation.
The survey focused on professionals in France, Singapore, the UK, and the United States — giving us a broad view of global data trends. And while the most common industry was technology (23%), the survey included respondents from over a dozen industries, including retail, finance, manufacturing, education, and utilities.
To see a more detailed breakdown and the complete survey results, download the complete Talend Data Health Barometer 2022.