In brief

In brief

  • Firms across industries recognize data has immense potential but struggle to realize value from it. Why?
  • Our research has identified three key impediments in realizing this value—they relate to operational and cultural challenges.
  • To become data-driven, we recommend that companies adopt an enterprise-wide data strategy and embrace 12 core foundational capabilities.

Expanding chasm between data and value

A survey of 190 executives in the United States conducted by Accenture Research revealed that many firms still struggle to harness the power of data and their challenges extend beyond just technology. The biggest impediments relate to cultural and operational challenges. There is a lack of trust surrounding the use of data and an inability to operationalize it strategically. Added to this is the absence of an enterprise-wide data strategy.



of companies reported being able to realize tangible and measurable value from data.


said data and analytics projects produce insights and recommendations that are highly actionable.

“Companies are struggling to close the gap between the value that data makes possible and the value that their existing structures capture—an ever-expanding chasm we call 'trapped value.'”

– AJAY VASAL, Data Business Group Strategy Lead, Accenture Technology

Unlocking the “trapped value”

Based on Accenture’s experience working with data-driven companies, we developed a data-driven enterprise strategy framework (Figure 1) whereby we identified 12 critical capabilities an enterprise would need to close the gap between data’s current and potential value. Next, we created an index to assess the data-driven maturity of companies and mapped it to their financial performance. This exercise is fundamental to bridging the gap between where an organization is today in its data journey and where it wants to be in the future.

Accenture's Data-driven Enterprise Strategy Framework includes twelve components which are classified under four primary groups - Data Foundation, Data Management and Governance, Insight Generation and Value Realization.

Figure 1

When we assessed the data-driven maturity of companies in our survey, our findings revealed that on average, companies scored 58 out of 100 on the index. However, a small group of companies—6 % of the sample—scored 76 points.
58 | 76
“The small group of champions are high-growth companies. They have grown revenues and profits above their industry average in the last five years and are expected to do so in the future. They have set the bar for becoming a data-driven enterprise.”

– Emmanuelle Payan, IT Strategy and Transformation, Accenture Strategy

So what’s holding companies back?

Companies face three key challenges in tapping into data to realize business value.


Lack of an enterprise-wide strategy for data, C-level sponsorship and skills, resulting in the lack of a data-driven culture.


Poor data quality, requiring tremendous time and effort to improve the trustworthiness of data and make it usable for business purposes.


Siloed data and slow data supply chain due to legacy technologies and outdated data governance practices.

What can firms do to become data-powered enterprises?

Our research shows that data-driven companies are propelled by four key drivers. They:

  • Establish a solid data foundation: Achieved through an agile data supply chain with cloud-based and scalable platforms. Such a foundation helped one of our clients realize a 40 percent increase in conversion rates for new lending products—this was over and above the industry benchmarks.
  • Ensure data is secure, relevant and trustworthy: Accomplished through robust data governance, metadata management and data veracity solutions. This is enabled by machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, right people structures and processes. According to our research, only a third of firms trusted their data enough to use it effectively and derive value from it.
  • Create an analytics strategy: Attained by focusing on augmenting human efforts with AI and by building capabilities in advanced analytics. Almost 90 percent of data-driven champions in our survey could attest to being highly involved in data analytics processes and automated approaches as opposed to 54 percent of others.
  • Envision and launch new data-driven services: Realized through innovative business models and operational efficiency measures. Using data value scorecard, business outcomes can be measured, tracked and reported effectively. Our survey confirms this assertion about the data-driven champions.

So how are data-driven champions releasing value from data?


are using data across their organization to reimagine products and services.


are seeing tangible and measurable value from data, e.g., operations excellence, optimized customer experience, innovative products and services.


are using data as a business case to reduce internal reporting and operational costs.

Pivot wisely to become data-driven

That is the thinking behind our index diagnostic solution, which provides a clear means for businesses to measure the ability of their data capabilities to support value generation. Think about it: Leading companies rely on and reinvent three core assets—their ability to innovate, their financial discipline, and the human capital of their employees and stakeholders. And data lies at the heart of all three. So why not create a competitive advantage with data by pivoting to the New—not just once but every time?

Ajay Vasal

Growth & Strategy Lead – Accenture Applied Intelligence

Emmanuelle Payan

IT Strategy and Transformation Lead, Accenture Strategy

Sanjeev Vohra

Lead – Accenture Applied Intelligence

Yusof Seedat

Thought Leadership Director, Accenture Research


Becoming a data-driven enterprise

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