Data-sharing strategy needs business buy-in

A Forrester Consulting survey for Capital One Software has found that data experts and businesspeople have differing views on success

A survey of data scientists for Capital One Software, the software business spun out of Capital One Bank, has found that many struggle to secure funding for self-service initiatives.

Forrester Consulting surveyed 150 data science, analytics, cloud infrastructure and data decision-makers at North American companies from May 2023.

It reported that a self-service data strategy has the potential to transform businesses by making data more accessible, leading to increased usage and faster time to insight across adopting enterprises. The poll found that the data experts surveyed understood the relationship between self-service data strategy goals, challenges and future opportunities.

The survey also found that 86% of respondents see a connection between self-service data strategies and business success. However, Forrester Consulting said the data experts polled are struggling to prove it to secure funding.

Over half of respondents (51%) reported challenges with funding their firm’s self-service data strategies. The primary reason given by the data experts polled is difficulty linking these strategies to business success, especially at the beginning of initiative uptake. The survey also found that high upfront costs are eclipsing the potential for cost savings.

Another finding was that business success means different things to different stakeholders. For data science and analytics decision-makers, Forrester Consulting reported that success may look like company-wide adoption of self-service technology and workflows, leading to greater utilisation of company data at greater speed. But for those in the C-suite, success is tied to conventional metrics such as revenue growth, cost savings and better customer experiences.

The data scientists and analytics experts surveyed said they plan to face technical challenges head-on by keeping pace with governance requirements (73%). In addition, they are also planning to add new self-service capabilities to current toolsets to help with scalability and usability (67%).

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Along with a difference in understanding over what success means, the data science and analytics experts polled said maintaining user-friendly environments (49%), increasing data trust and quality (49%) and scaling self-service for decentralised environments (47%) were all top-selected challenges.

Forrester Consulting reported that data decision-makers are faced with the challenge of applying the appropriate data governance for their self-service strategies. Only 35% of respondents strongly agreed that they are able to apply and comply with changing and evolving regulations. Currently, less than 25% of respondents indicated that their self-service data strategies support data governance managers, which may contribute to this challenge.

For self-service data strategies to succeed, Forrester Consulting urged business leaders to enable all teams, from data scientists to business users, to get value out of data regardless of their skill sets. Forrester Consulting recommended business leaders encourage a more inclusive data culture that leverages user-friendly technology and workflows to support the data teams and make self-service data strategies successful.

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