Only one-third of leaders have comprehensive data strategy

'Data has become the most valuable currency for organizations in a digital, cloud-first world'

Only one-third of leaders have comprehensive data strategy

Only about one-third (34 per cent) of Canadian business leaders say their business has a comprehensive data strategy in place.

However, almost two-thirds (61 per cent) agree that data – and knowing how to draw actionable insights from that data – are key to business success in today's economy.

So finds a survey by Microsoft Canada looking into how employers are effectively leveraging data to drive growth and innovation, stay competitive and improve the customer experience.

Even fewer (31 per cent) of the 658 business decision-makers surveyed feel their organization is a data-led business.

"Data has become the most valuable currency for organizations in a digital, cloud-first world," said Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada. "Leveraging AI, data and analytics is crucial for Canadian organizations to foster innovation, deliver on evolving customer demands and, ultimately, stay competitive in the global economy as we continue to recover from the pandemic."

Despite multitudes of data being available to modern HR professionals, many decisions are still made in an old-fashioned way, according to a finance and accounting manager who also lectures at universities.

Gaps in data

There is a significant delta between what business leaders say they need for success and what they're doing to achieve it, finds Microsoft.

For instance, while 71 per cent of respondents say their company is either on par within the industry or a leader in its level of digital sophistication, only four out of 10 say their organization currently uses the cloud.

And only a few respondents (34 per cent) say that making better use of the data they have will be a priority for their organization in the coming year.

While nearly half (46 per cent) of survey respondents say their organization aims to become more data-savvy, only 34 per cent currently use data analytics tools or services. Further, of those not using data analytics tools or services, fewer than a fifth (18 per cent) have any plans to adopt such tools in 2022, finds Microsoft.

The findings are alarming, says Peesker.

"Many organizations invested in technology such as the cloud and AI to manage disruption in response to the pandemic. Time to impact, innovation and secure scalability has been proven. Now, it's critical for these organizations to optimize their investments to enable real digital transformation. That includes deriving the right insights from the wealth of data available to them so they can compete in their industry and on a global scale."

More than four in five (81 per cent of) Canadians are struggling with learning the digital skills needed for work. And that number is expected to rise in the next five years to 86 per cent, finds a survey by Salesforce Canada.

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