Since this executive survey was first launched in 2012, nearly a decade ago, leading companies have steadily invested in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives in efforts to become more data-driven and apply data to make better business decisions. Big Data and AI investment has reached a state where it is nearly universal, with 99% of firms reporting active investment in these areas, and 91.9% reporting that the pace of investment is accelerating. Even with these levels of committed investment, challenges remain. Firms are continuing to struggle to derive value from their Big Data and AI investments and to become data-driven organizations.

The following findings from our 2021 survey reflect the challenges that firms are facing:

▪ Only 48.5% are driving innovation with data

▪ Only 41.2% are competing on analytics

▪ Only 39.3% are managing data as a business asset

▪ Only 30.0% have a well-articulated data strategy for their company

▪ Only 29.2% are experiencing transformation business outcomes

▪ Only 24.4% have forged a data culture

▪ Only 24.0% have created a data-driven organization.

Clearly, there is opportunity for growth and improvement. Afterall, becoming a data-driven organization represent a transformational process. For the 5th consecutive year, executives report that cultural challenges – not technology challenges – represent the biggest impediment to successful adoption of data initiatives and biggest barrier to realizing business outcomes. Data is a journey, and in this spirit, the theme of the 2021 executive survey is “The Journey to Becoming Data-Driven: A Progress Report on the State of Corporate Data Initiatives”