By Daniel Hunter

Businesses across the UK are failing to turn the data at their disposal into competitive advantage, with many unsure how to make the move from being 'collectors of information' to 'users of insight'.

The result, according to KPMG’s head of data & analytics, is stagnation, as organisations “remain unable to align business objectives with their data mining capabilities, at best, or tame the data beast, at worst.”

Presenting his views in a series of blogs, Eddie Short argues that the biggest problem facing Boardrooms is a growing mismatch between C-suite expectations and the capabilities of their business. His comments come in the wake of research suggesting that just 10 percent of organisations are ‘masters of their data’*.

“The leadership, in many organisations, is increasingly demanding that data collection extends beyond customer and competitor intelligence, but at the same time they have accepted that it will take much more than capital investment and new software packages to turn data into lasting value," Short said.

“In truth knowledge does not always equal power; collecting information for its own sake increases the risk of organisations drowning under a sea of information. The real test of a healthy analytics capability is whether it keeps an organisation focused. In other words, in the current environment - where cash-flow is tight — only if data analytics highlights what products and services need to be stopped or improved to delight customers and consumers, is it doing a good job.

“Three years ago, some commentators suggested that data would become the new currency of business, almost on a par with capital and labour. Since then, information has clearly moved to the core of most organisations, but questions remain about how to extract real value because the journey from traditional business analytics to business enabler requires organisations to fundamentally rethink how they collect, analyse, distribute and monitor their data.

"In my view, three years from now it will be the businesses who have answered these questions by combining their hunger for data with an appetite to match it with the needs of their business who will win the day and become masters of their own data.”

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