In today's digital world, data is a vital asset that gives organisations the ability to uncover valuable insights about customer behaviour, which ultimately provides businesses with a competitive edge.
However, new research commissioned by managed services provider Claranet has revealed that UK retailers are struggling to capitalise on the vast amounts of customer data they collect.
The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne and surveyed 750 IT and Digital decision-makers from a range of organisations across Europe, is summarised in Claranet's Beyond Digital Transformation report. The findings reveal that despite the increasingly large quantities of data that organisations are now collecting, half of UK retailers (50 per cent) struggle to use and understand their customer data to help them make important business decisions.
According to the survey responses, 40 per cent of UK retailers cite centralising customer data as being a key challenge encountered when trying to improve the digital user experience, and 40 per cent also reported that they were unable to provide a consistent experience across channels as a result.
For John Hayes-Warren, Head of Vertical Markets at Claranet UK, the findings highlight how the often-siloed and legacy approaches to data management are preventing retailers from exploiting the potential of the information at their fingertips.
Hayes-Warren commented: "Data has quickly become an incredibly valuable asset in the retail sector today and a source of important intelligence that can be applied to respond to changing customer demands. Most retailers are sitting on vast amounts of data and those that can harness it effectively can gain a much deeper understanding of their customers, better predict, improve and personalise the customer experience and, ultimately, create stronger brand loyalty and repeat business. It's therefore troubling that over half of UK retailers are reporting challenges in this area, so addressing data management shortcomings needs to be a priority for any company that is passionate about delivering a positive customer experience.
"To realise the benefits of data you've got to be able to combine and mine different repositories of data and make it actionable in real time. However, that's a process that is often frustrated by legacy systems and batch processing. These unconnected and incompatible IT systems create data siloes and prevent data and insights from being discovered and actioned within organisations," he continued.
"Cloud technologies can help a great deal, providing the tooling and infrastructure needed to collect, process, and analyse vast sets of data from across the organisation and make it actionable in real time. By creating a platform that can capture and analyse data from across an organisation, retail leaders can discover unique insights, issues and opportunities that will ultimately help them achieve the competitive advantage they seek," Hayes-Warren concluded.