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Over half of data-driven business initiatives are failing

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

New research by Exasol has found that more than half of data-driven initiatives are failing in enterprise organisations, rising to more than 60% in the public sector, financial services and energy and utilities companies.

One of the most common reasons for data-driven initiatives failing was lack of employee skills, with a marked difference from sector to sector. 40% of retail and financial services stated the skills shortage was to blame for failure.


The most common data-driven initiatives to fail are data consolidation (29%), data migration (28%) and GDPR (20%).

Financial services and IT, telecoms organisations were the worst for GDPR failure at 31% and 30% respectively.

Other data-driven projects cited as having failed in enterprise organisations were machine learning and IoT projects.

The reasons cited for the failure of data initiatives included:

  • Data security issues (29%)
  • Poor data quality (28%)
  • Lack of employee skills (27%)
  • Lack of employee buy-in (25%)
  • Siloed data (25%)
  • Not delivering the time and cost savings expected (24%)
  • Cannot collect data in real time (22%)


Sam Sibley, strategic partners and alliances manager at Exasol commented, “Businesses want data to work for them, and this is very much behind the rise of data-driven initiatives such as machine learning, where the algorithm takes control.

“Investment in this area is rising fast, a recent Deloitte survey highlights that 57% of businesses are increasing spending in the technology.

“In general, this technology is no longer seen as a cost, but an opportunity and a revenue driver.

“However, there is still work to be done to ensure data-driven initiatives succeed and are understood at all levels of the business.”

“The most successful businesses will be those that invest in their technology and hire the skills to make those investments work”, added Sibley.

Exasol’s research was conducted by survey house Vanson Bourne on 500 IT and business decision makers, from enterprises in Germany and the UK.

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