Pandemic accelerates data use by European businesses

The majority of European businesses say COVID has accelerated their use of data in operations, but many are still struggling to win the confidence of customers when it comes to safely handling that data.

Over 800 senior managers responsible for data in companies of 100-plus employees and 4,100 consumers across the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands were questioned about the impact of the pandemic on data analytics and management as part of research commissioned by data analytics company Splunk.

Over three-quarters of businesses in France (79 per cent) and the UK (77 per cent) believe that COVID has accelerated the way they use data in their operations, with almost two-thirds in Germany (64 per cent) and the Netherlands (61 per cent) agreeing.

The large majority of European companies said the up-tick in usage will “help ensure future success” at firms, with 80 per cent of UK businesses saying it will help drive innovation. On average, 90 per cent of all European businesses said visualising real-time data has helped them to make better decisions.

Frederik Maris, vice president of EMEA at Splunk, said: “Developing a data strategy carefully tied to business objectives can improve the quality of decision making within an organisation.

“This cannot only improve short-term performance but help differentiate a business from its competitors by allowing for a culture of innovation to develop based on data.”

But, he added: “this cannot be done in isolation. Businesses need to keep consumers and their data concerns front of mind if they are to succeed in the data age.”

Banks are seen as a safe bet for sharing personal details. In the UK and France, when it comes to personal data such as their email, consumers are more likely to trust their bank than their partners or parents.

British consumers are more likely to give their email address to a bank (68 per cent) than to a company manufacturing smart (IoT) devices (19 per cent).

Less than half of French consumers would tolerate a data breach by a business, whereas 60 per cent of Brits and 66 cent of Germans would be more understanding, jumping to three-quarters of Dutch people.

When given the choice of a more personalised service - like a news feed - over a free, generic service with non-targeted advertising, half of Brits (50 per cent) would still take the generic option. Only 16 per cent would prefer a data-driven personalised service.

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