RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Global CPGs recognize they need to be data and insight-led, but many are unsure how to do it—and that comes at a cost.
  • Digitally fluent companies are 5.4x more likely to be projecting high revenue growth (over 20%) in the next three years.
  • Training doesn’t equal adoption. Digital tools and training must be designed around people’s needs and tasks in order to enable a data culture.
  • Closing the digital skills gap and being fully insight-led can help propel CPGs ahead of competitors, but only if leadership prioritizes this.


Being data-led requires digital fluency

Becoming data-led is critical for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies today. Large, global CPGs recognize they need to be data and insight-led, but many are unsure how to do it: 74% of CPG executives say they are struggling to scale data and analytics. Most are focusing on one side of the equation—investing in digital technologies. When CPGs invest in data programs without investing in user adoption, they are forsaking value.

Digitally fluent companies are 5.4x more likely to be projecting high revenue growth (over 20%) in the next three years.

Leaders concentrate not only on technology adoption, but also on its penetration across the enterprise. Accenture looked at ways to close the digital achievement gap, collecting data on technology adoption, penetration and organization/culture to identify the leaders and laggards. We found that Leaders are seeing more than 2X the revenue growth of Laggards.

So, how can large, global CPGs follow the lead of disruptors and digital leaders to unlock the full value of data and create competitive advantage? By addressing the other side of the equation: people.

A data culture starts with the CEO

Becoming insight-led has to start at the top. Leaders must be digitally fluent themselves, continually learning and experimenting with technologies just as workers do. Some CPGs are starting to create environments in which it is safe for their people to test, take risks, fail fast and learn from digital mistakes. They are empowering people to see data differently and actively use it as an asset by creating a strong “data culture”.

Digital tools and training will support the data culture when they are designed around people. For instance, if a CPG wants to scale analytics and give people “superpowers,” data-led insights must be accessible across the organization, in digestible formats and at the point of need for the individual worker. When employees have easy-to-access data insights in their daily work, they are more likely to use them for their decision-making routines. Currently, less than 30% of the people who are supposed to use data and analytic tools actually do.

Meeting digital needs requires digital talent

CPGs already face a shortage of digital talent needed to meet consumers’ demands at scale.

To be able to meet needs and grow in the future, businesses must not only upskill current talent, but also become more creative in how they recruit, train and retain digital workers. Larger companies in the US have been increasing their investment in staff training over the last three years, with the average number of training hours provided annually per employee increasing from 42 in 2017 to 103 in 2020. Having workers with digital skills is essential, but it’s also important to complement those with other needed skills, such as creativity, analytical skills and strategic thinking.

Having workers with digital skills is essential, but it’s also important to complement those with other needed skills, such as creativity, analytical skills and strategic thinking.

3 steps to shrink the digital talent gap

The need to be a digitally enabled, insights-driven CPG business will only increase, as consumer needs evolve and speed of change accelerates. To keep up—and ultimately grow—CPGs must build the foundation. Here is how to get started.

Prioritize digital skills enhancement at the top

The CPG CEO must drive the digital upskilling agenda. Digital learning initiatives should follow clear objectives that directly correlate to your company strategy and your vision of a data-driven enterprise.

Create a data culture

Design the experience of data around employees’ daily work. Lean on people who can serve in the roles of ‘data translators’ and ‘data storytellers’ to foster the understanding of data and analytics.

Skill for the future

Digital upskilling initiatives should be multi-layered, relevant and future-oriented. Provide training in digital technologies, such as cloud and AI, that is personalized, function-specific and engages workers.

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Anne K. Kotzorek

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Consumer Goods & Services


Marc van der Net

Managing Director – Consumer Goods & Services

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