Lack of data maturity failing UK firms

Growth and innovation stifled by limited ability to create value from data, says HPE research

Posted 7 December 2022 by Christine Horton

A lack of data maturity is hindering both the private and public sector from achieving success.

That’s according to new research released today by YouGov on behalf of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

The average organisation’s data maturity level globally – or ability to create value from data – is 2.6 on a five-point scale. Only four percent of UK firms are reaching the highest maturity level.

“There is broad consensus that the world’s data holds an enormous potential to advance the way we live and work. However, unlocking this potential requires a shift in organisations’ digital transformation strategies,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO of HPE.

Lack of data capabilities impedes key outcomes

The survey is based on a maturity model developed by HPE that assesses an organisation’s ability to create value from data based on strategic, organisational and technological criteria. The lowest maturity level (1) is called ‘data anarchy’; on this level, data pools are isolated from one another, and are not systematically analysed to create insights or outcomes.

The highest level (5) is called ‘data economics’; at this level, an organisation strategically leverages data to drive outcomes, based on a unified access to both internal and external data sources. These are analysed with technologies such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.

Survey results reveal that 18 percent of UK organisations are on maturity level 1 (‘data anarchy’), 30 percent on level 2 (‘data reporting’), 31 percent on level 3 (‘data insights’), 16 percent on level 4 (‘data centricity’), and just four percent are on level 5 (‘data economics’).

The lack of data capabilities, in turn, limits organisations’ ability to create key outcomes such as growing sales (26 percent), innovating (22 percent), advancing customer experience (23 percent), improving environmental sustainability (15 percent) and increasing internal efficiency (22 percent).

Organisations must close strategic, organisational and technological gaps

Other findings include:

  • Only 17 percent of UK respondents say that their organisation’s data strategy is a key part of their corporate strategy.
  • Almost half of respondents say their organisation allocates either no budget for data initiatives (32 percent) or only occasionally funds data initiatives via the IT budget (21 percent).
  • Only 29 percent of respondents confirmed they have a strategic focus on providing data-driven products or services.
  • And almost half of respondents say their organisations do not use methodologies like machine learning or deep learning but rely on spreadsheets (42 percent) or business intelligence and canned reporting (20 percent) for data analysis.

Organisations want control across ‘clouds and edges

A characteristic of a low data maturity level is that there is no overarching data and analytics architecture, but data is isolated in individual applications or locations. This is the case for 34 percent (43 percent) of respondents. On the other hand, only 19 percent (18 percent) have implemented a central data hub or fabric that provides unified access to real-time data across their organisation, and another seven percent say this data hub also includes external data sources.

Given that data sources are increasingly distributed across clouds and edges, most respondents (51 percent) say that it’s strategically important to have a high degree of control over their data and the means to create value from data. Forty-six percent are concerned that data monopolies have too much control over their capability to create value from data, and 16 percent are re-evaluating their cloud strategy due to increasing cloud costs (36 percent), concerns over data security (42 percent), the need for a more flexible data architecture (44 percent) and the lack of control over their data (19 percent).

The findings were announced today at HPE Discover Frankfurt 2022. There, HPE announced new application, analytics, and developer services for its ‘edge to cloud’ platform, HPE GreenLake.

“Because of the massive growth of data at the edge, organisations need hybrid edge-to-cloud architectures where the cloud comes to the data, not the other way around. HPE GreenLake empowers organisations with the ability to access, control, protect, govern and unlock the value of data anywhere, unified into one consistent experience,” added Neri.