IT leaders believe they have made significant progress mapping out next-generation data strategies. But selling the strategy to business leaders, translating policy into projects, and effectively executing on the details of specific initiatives remain barriers to data-driven digital transformation.

SwissCognitiveAccording to an exclusive IDG QuickPulse survey, 76% of IT decision-makers say their organization has been extremely or very effective at mapping out a data strategy . That positive view, however, is shared by just 50% of business decision-makers; nearly one in five business respondents describe their company’s data strategy as not very effective.

This perception gap indicates that some CIOs still have not clearly articulated the business benefits of their data strategies to non-IT stakeholders. Or they have not sufficiently aligned their investment priorities with the priorities of their business counterparts.

That’s a missed opportunity, given that many organizations are already seeing quantifiable benefits as their data strategies take shape. Nearly half (48%) of respondents in the IDG QuickPulse survey say they are seeing improved visibility into customer information and behavior, 42% have successfully reduced costs and increased operational efficiencies, and 40% report improved internal decision making.

The results align with growing investment: The just-released 2018 State of the CIO survey finds that one-third of companies are channeling the largest portion of their IT spend to data management and business analytics tools.

Looking ahead, many organizations remain focused on capturing internal benefits. According to the QuickPulse survey, the top four data strategy priorities for the year ahead are:

  • Maintaining compliance with government and industry regulations (78%)
  • Improving productivity (78%)
  • Improving internal decision making (72%)
  • Reducing costs and increasing operational efficiencies (72%).

Yet while organizations are achieving some clarity on direction, challenges remain when it comes to execution. The top five obstacles are:

  • Scoping data strategy into prioritized, phased projects (36%)
  • Skill gaps (30%)
  • Budget constraints (28%)
  • Unclear organizational roles and responsibilities (28%)
  • A corporate culture hesitant to embrace new ways of doing business (28%).

These challenges underscore the fact that, in this time of accelerated change, people and processes often pose greater challenges than the technology itself to successful data-driven digital transformation.

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“Technology can overcome the making-it-possible part, but cultural change is really required to overcome the barriers to making it happen and to obtain end-to-end value from whatever the initiative is,” Graeme Thompson, CIO and senior vice president at Informatica, explains in the Big Pivot podcast episode, “So You Have Big Data: Now What?” […]