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The state of behavioral data in 2022: Research report highlights

Behavioral data has enabled some of the world’s most successful companies to dominate their markets. Organizations like Amazon, Netflix, and Meta have harnessed its power to better understand their customers and deploy sophisticated data applications such as product recommendation engines, churn propensity scoring, and advanced audience analytics. 

With the emergence of new tools and platforms, however, behavioral data is no longer the preserve of tech giants; companies of all sizes, shapes and industries can now compete.

The question, though, is whether most companies are actually doing so. 

To understand, we’ve conducted a survey of 480 data practitioners across enterprise software, retail, and media organizations, delving into their experiences of, attitudes towards, and challenges with behavioral data.

The full report is being released in mid July, so here’s a sneak peak of its main findings. 

The state of data-led transformations

While the value of data is well understood, most organizations are yet to realize its full potential. Despite investing in a range of tools and technologies to drive data-led transformations, many companies are held back by an immature data culture.

This section of the report highlights the current environment of data-led transformations and how:

  • Executive support already exists
  • There’s the opportunity to enhance data culture
  • The full potential of data is yet to be realized
  • The adoption of data tools is on the rise

The key takeaway from this section of the report is that over one-third of organizations (35%) are being held back by an immature approach to data—even though they have high confidence in its value. These organizations still have work to do in building data maturity, yet this can be a time-consuming process that requires a reevaluation of culture, leadership and technology.

The state of data teams

There is a clear disconnect between data practitioners’ aspirations and the reality of their day-to-day roles. Time spent wrangling incomplete or inaccurate data is dissatisfying and takes away from time spent pursuing more innovative projects. As a result, 71% are considering leaving their current roles in the next year.

This section of the report finds that in the current state of data teams:

  • Data practitioners feel disconnected
  • A critical skills shortage looms
  • Data teams want more time to innovate

We found that many organizations think the industry will be impacted by a skills shortage. 

Over two-thirds (68%) predict a critical data skills shortage in the next three to five years, suggesting an urgent need to future-proof and safeguard data capability and talent.

What’s holding organizations back?

Data teams face a number of issues with data itself. It may be incomplete, inaccurate, messy, or limited in its utility. And they may lack the time, resources, or tools to turn it into a valuable, useful data pipeline.

This section of the report focuses on the findings contributing to holding organizations back from driving value with behavioral data.

  • Data teams find it hard to extract insights
  • Time is wasted cleaning data
  • There’s a lack of investment in data quality
  • Governance and trust is lacking
  • Privacy is a growing concern

One in four data practitioners are spending more than half their working week fixing poor quality data. 88% of those at VP and Director level say they spend over one quarter of their time finding, cleaning, and preparing data. 

Given that the average salary of a VP or Director is US$167,000, this equates to at least $41,750 of that salary being spent on tasks better suited to data analysts or engineers. 

While nearly a third (31%) of those at VP and Director level spend more than half their time on these tasks.

The future: Data Creation

What is Data Creation

Data Creation is the process of deliberately creating data to power Advanced Analytics, AI, and ML data applications. It differs from data exhaust, which is the byproduct of existing systems. 

Data practitioners know that they have more value to offer their organizations, but they are limited by the quality of the data available to them – this research report attests to this. Leading organizations are embracing Data Creation as an alternative to current approaches for dealing with data.

For more detail on the statistics discussed and the future of data creation as a whole, keep an eye out for the full report!

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Katie Leitch
Katie Leitch

Marketing Communications Manager at Snowplow

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