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Microsoft urges organisations to tackle data blindspots

19 Feb 2019

New research has uncovered a significant transformation opportunity for enterprises, with the potential to reduce the risk and cost of failed CX projects and amplify the impact of data for customers and employees.

A study of 505 medium to large organisations conducted by business-to-business research agency, Colmar Brunton, and commissioned by Microsoft Australia, reveals that while most Australian enterprises (69%) say they have an integrated digital transformation strategy, dig a little deeper and it turns out only 28% have a company-wide strategy for sharing data.

Without access to a comprehensive array of data, organisations will be limited in their ability to intelligently use data to engage customers, empower people, optimise and automate processes, and transform products and services. Data locked away in silos, where it is not easily surfaced or accessible, will inevitably act as a brake on transformation.

When asked about the importance of data in terms of automating business processes, 83% of respondents said it was “somewhat to extremely” important; 82% said the same about access to data to gain a 360-degree view of the customer; and 79% said it was somewhat to extremely important for generating a real-time insight into the pipeline of opportunities. 

However, the research reveals that in spite of the critical role data plays to CX transformation almost a third (30%) say that there is little to no data sharing across the organisation.

The blindspot this creates is causing many transformation efforts to fail to reach their full potential and help organisations understand the end to end customer journey with their products and services. 

At present 55% of organisations nominate customer resistance to change as a barrier to transformation.

Data blindspots trigger costly project failures

The research uncovered the challenges organisations are having with regard to accessing all the available data through an integrated strategy, and how this is triggering a rash of costly CX project failures.

Despite the significant focus placed on CX transformation – over a third (37%) of Australian organisations claimed between that more than one in five of their projects failed.

There can be big dollars involved. Almost a third (32%) of survey respondents said these failed projects had cost $100,000-$500,000. Seven per cent had experienced project failures costing more than $500,000.

Crafting corporate-wide data sharing policies and implementing technology that allows all of an enterprise’s data to be accessed when and where it is required is critical, to optimise decision making and take informed action across an organisation, and reduce the risk of failed and costly CX projects

Customer engagement leads the way

The survey, which focussed on the finance, retail and government sectors, asked organisations to rank the prioritisation of four key areas aligned to their transformation efforts:

  • Customer engagement
  • Employee empowerment
  • Operational optimisation
  • Product/service transformation

This delivered some useful insights about the progress that organisations are making with transformation, and where there are opportunities not yet being addressed.

Survey respondents were asked to rate their maturity in intelligently using data across those four goals on a scale of zero to ten, producing a ‘Net Data Intelligence Score’ based on methodology similar to that used to calculate net promoter scores. Only ‘customer engagement’ entered positive territory at +2.

While CX transformation is important, addressed in isolation it is unlikely to deliver the full transformation dividend to an organisation that comes from also transforming the employee experience, operational processes, as well as products and services.

The impact of that relative lack of maturity in using data, other than just for customers is clear when it comes to tracking the success of transformation efforts in each area. Put simply, if you don’t have access to or use data appropriately, you can’t expect transformation success.

Respondents noted that the two major barriers to successful transformation were a lack of senior management support (64%) and a lack of company strategy from the board down (61%). Interestingly customer and employee resistance to change also ranked highly at 55 and 56% respectively.

This suggests that there needs to be a much clearer narrative from the top about the importance of transformation to the organisation, and the benefits it will deliver.