Looker Blog : Data Matters

Top 4 Data Strategy Trends for 2019

John O’Keeffe, VP of EMEA, Looker

Mar 31, 2019

Recent research from Gartner1 found that 91 percent of organizations across the globe have not yet reached a "transformational" level of maturity in data and analytics, despite it being a number one investment priority for CIOs in recent years.

Large enterprises are typically reliant on legacy software and systems alongside best-of-breed cloud applications. Gartner2 reports that on-premise deployments still dominate globally, ranging from 43 to 51 percent depending on the use-case, while hybrid environments make up between 26 and 32 percent. It is these hybrid environments — with their potential for data silos — that have held many organizations back and prevented them from benefiting from the wealth of information at their disposal.

With this challenge in mind, many enterprises have only scratched the surface when it comes to the role data can play in driving business development. However, as we go deeper into 2019, we will see many large organizations close the gap on smaller players and evolve in terms of how they’re harnessing data.

I anticipate that we’ll see four key pillars as part of this data strategy framework change:

1. The role of the chief data officer (CDO) will become more prominent

A recent Forrester3 study found that 51 percent of organizations had appointed a CDO, with another 18 percent planning to do so. Additionally, two-thirds of existing CDOs were appointed in just the past two years, indicating a significant rise in the requirement for data leaders.

With CIOs, CTOs and CSOs increasingly stretched in their roles as part of the wider digital transformation and security challenges, the CDO will be tasked with defining a business’ global data strategy. The increased importance placed upon this role within organizations is a clear indication that large businesses are placing more emphasis on data as the architect and enabler of change. Ensuring they have the right platform in place will be key to delivering on this vision.

2. Reducing data silos will become more pervasive

There are already concerted efforts to bridge organizational data silos, placing an onus on centralizing data in order to achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of one source of truth across an organization. While this has long been — and will continue to be — an industry challenge, reducing the silos will enable companies to unlock access to insights, improve customer experiences, and maintain data protection regulatory compliance.

3. Firms will begin to monetize data more effectively

Leveraging the data they already analyze and/or manage, enterprises will unlock new opportunities for their existing businesses. This will enable them to develop new business models and drive new revenue streams.

Urban Airship, which helps some of the world’s best-known brands leverage mobile, has worked with Looker to empower even moderately data-savvy marketers to run queries, explore new ways to look at data, and answer tough questions. This has resulted in its clients being able to react to trends faster, experiment with new ways of reaching customers, and to quickly evaluate and improve on efforts — reducing the friction between insight and action.

4. Data strategies will prioritize GDPR compliance

Last year, IT leaders were rightly committed to ensuring their organizations were compliant with GDPR. The typical drivers behind this were around eliminating the risk of the significant fines, and reputational damage associated with being publicly called out by a regulator as non-compliant.

Now that more businesses are compliant with this legislation (or working towards it), leaders can look to use their more streamlined data-sets to improve processes and glean insights into their employees, customer base, and other key stakeholders in order to improve decision-making.

That said, the work isn’t done yet. Businesses must ensure they remain GDPR compliant in the way they work today and moving forward. This means the development of a long-term data governance and analysis strategy, in which analysts can still provide their organization with game-changing business insights, while maintaining compliance with the regulation.

The Modern Approach to Data-Led Business

Easier processes, a clearly defined data strategy, and new business openings — that is the modern approach to analytics a data-led business should consider. I predict we’ll see more of this as we move deeper into the year, and those that embrace such a culture will steal a march on their competitors, gather market share, and will unlock more growth opportunities.


1 Gartner Survey Analysis: Traditional Approaches Dominate Data and Analytics Initiatives, Nick Heudecker & Jim Hare, October 13 2017
2 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, Cindi Howson, James Richardson, Rita Sallam, Austin Kronz, February 11, 2019
3 Forrester: Insights-Driven Businesses Appoint Data Leadership, Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D., Gene Leganza, Elizabeth Cullen, Jun Lee, March 19, 2018

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