Data Has Become “The Most Valuable Currency for Organizations”

Information is business gold

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – A data gap is hampering the ability of business to make information based decisions. “Data has become the most valuable currency for organizations in a digital, cloud-first world,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “Regardless of the size or type of organization, leveraging AI, data and analytics is crucial for Canadian organizations to foster innovation, deliver on evolving customer demands and ultimately stay competitive in the global economy as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of Canadian business leaders agree that data – and knowing how to draw actionable insights from that data – are key to business success in today’s economy.

However, only about one-third (34 per cent) say their business has a comprehensive data strategy in place and even fewer (31 per cent) feel their organization is a data-led business. These are some of the key findings in a new survey from Microsoft Canada, exploring whether business leaders are effectively leveraging data to drive growth and innovation, stay competitive and improve the customer experience.

Microsoft surveyed 658 business decision-makers from Canadian organizations, including public sector, private sector and non-profits and ranging from micro (fewer than 10 employees) to large enterprises (500+ employees).

The survey revealed that there is a significant delta between what business leaders say they need for success and what they’re doing to achieve it. For instance, while 71 per cent of those surveyed say their company is either on par within the industry or a leader in its level of digital sophistication, only 4 out of 10 say their organization currently uses the cloud. This, despite near-consensus across global consulting firms that the cloud is critical to meet the demands of a modern business. In fact, in a recent study, Deloitte found that cloud adoption is a competitive necessity in today’s economy. Along with low cloud adoption, only a few respondents (34 per cent) from Microsoft’s research indicate that making better use of the data they have will be a priority for their organization in the coming year.

While nearly half (46 per cent) of survey respondents say their organization aims to become more data-savvy, only 34 per cent currently use data analytics tools or services. Further, of those not using data analytics tools or services, fewer than a fifth (18 per cent) have any plans to adopt such tools in 2022.

“What the findings reveal when it comes to how most business leaders prioritize data as part of their digital strategy is alarming,” says Peesker. “Many organizations invested in technology such as the cloud and AI to manage disruption in response to the pandemic. Time to impact, innovation and secure scalability has been proven.  Now, it’s critical for these organizations to optimize their investments to enable real digital transformation. That includes deriving the right insights from the wealth of data available to them so they can compete in their industry and on a global scale.”

Last March, Microsoft announced the creation of the Data Innovation Centre of Excellence (DICE) as part of its new Toronto headquarters opening this year. DICE, Microsoft’s first dedicated data and innovation centre of its kind, will help Canadian private, public and non-profit organizations harness the power of data and cloud technology to accelerate their digital transformation and co-innovate on cutting-edge solutions. To better serve the unique needs of customers and partners within the public sector, Microsoft has established the Microsoft Government Innovation Centre located in Ottawa.

“Organizations that are using their own data to implement solutions tailored to their specific needs, may not only bolster business resilience but also improve operations and become more responsive to evolving citizen and customer demands,” said Peesker. “With DICE, we’re empowering organizations to take advantage of the data they create to develop comprehensive strategies that solve some of their most pressing business challenges and accelerate growth.”

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