‘Majority of data initiatives failing’ in retail

Almost half of data-driven initiatives are failing in retail organisations, with of the most common reasons being lack of employee skills, which affects 43 per cent of retail businesses.

This is according to a survey of 500 UK and German IT and business decision-makers, commissioned by analytic database provider Exasol and conducted by Vanson Bourne.

The research found a marked difference from sector to sector, with retailers struggling most due to the skills shortage. Financial services organisations were also found to be greatly afflicted by a lack of employee skills, with 40 per cent stating the skills shortage was to blame for failed data strategies, while only seven per cent of construction and property businesses were affected by the same issue.

The most common reason for data-driven initiatives to fail for retail businesses were data migration (26 per cent), data consolidation (24 per cent), e-discovery (12 per cent) and GDPR (10 per cent).

The reasons cited for the failure of data initiatives in the retail industry included: lack of employee skills (43 per cent), data security issues (29 per cent), poor data quality (29 per cent), not delivering the time and cost savings expected (21 per cent), siloed data (19 per cent), lack of employee buy-in (14 per cent) and an inability to collect data in real time (10 per cent).

Sam Sibley, strategic partners and alliances manager at Exasol, commented: "Businesses want data to work for them, and this is very much behind the rise of data-driven initiatives such as machine learning, where the algorithm takes control.”

He cited a recent Deloitte survey which found that 57 per cent of businesses are increasing spending on data-driven technology, as it is no longer seen as a cost, but an opportunity and revenue driver.

“However, there is still work to be done to ensure data-driven initiatives succeed and are understood at all levels of the business,” concluded Sibley. "The most successful businesses will be those that invest in their technology and hire the skills to make those investments work.”

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