Oxford Economics marks north European companies down on digital data

European companies are serving poor digital experiences and failing to exploit digital data, according to research from Oxford Economics

European companies are failing to exploit digital data, and are serving poor digital experiences. 

According to research from Oxford Economics and IT services firm Cognizant, only one quarter of companies are effective at collecting and using digital data from customers.

The research – based on interviews with 150 senior executives with responsibility for consumer data and analytics in companies based in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries – revealed that only 3% would describe their customers’ digital experience as “excellent”. 13% of respondents came from the IT function, and 18% from "digital" -- chief digital officer or similar. 

This follows Experian research indicating that companies in the UK, the US, Australia and western Europe have poorer quality data this year than last.

The Oxford Economics research, carried out with Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work, looked at how companies use web sites, apps, in-shop digital devices and wearable technologies to engage customers, and how they use the resulting data.

Read more about customer data analytics

Analysis ambitions outstrip ability

It found 59% of respondents considered the analysis of such data to be important to their companies. They also agreed that the analysis of implicit, behavioural data – such as clicks, searches, social media posts – can provide insight into customers’ needs. Cognizant’s term for this is “code halos”. Others talk about “exhaust data”.

The survey found only 24% of respondents claimed to be effective at collecting and using digital customer data. And only 17% are using analytics generated by application programming interface (API) traffic to understand customers’ “purchasing journeys”.

A common obstacle is a lack of skilled staff. Only 44% said they had the adequate talent to analyse digitally generated data.

Ben Pring, co-director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work said: “We can now clearly see just how far many companies have to go – especially when it comes to job one, collecting, analysing and distilling meaning from data.”

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