67% of data leaders cite ‘Getting More Value From Data’ as their highest priority.

Recently, we spoke to some of the biggest names in data at the Big Data Innovation Summit. We asked attendees to rank their top priorities for their data use over the next year, finding that value from data was the highest priority. Our survey results also cemented some of our own experiences – in particular, that a data strategy really is a core foundation for every organisation.

The Big Data Innovation Summit is a conference dedicated to everything data. It attracts professionals from many charities, government bodies, and industries (this year taking place alongside the Big Data and Analytics for Pharmaceuticals Summit). The Predictive Analytics Summit also took place at the same time.

The summit’s sessions offered real-world advice, introduced new tools, and presented case studies on cutting-edge data techniques. It’s a good place to be if you’re interested in data, and we decided it was a great opportunity to uncover the priorities of today’s major data influencers.

Our main findings


  • Getting value from data comes out on top across everyone surveyed, with 67% of respondents selecting this as their first or second priority.
  • Selecting the right technology and having the right team in place come in second and third for top priorities.
  • Frontline data professionals, who execute data projects and/or process data, place the most importance on getting the right technology.
  • Data leaders and board members placed the most emphasis on getting more value from data.
  • Finding the right data leader was the lowest priority (with only 5% of respondents ranking it), followed by data governance.

So what do these findings tell us?

First, that getting value from data is a challenge that most organisations are facing, and making a top priority. It’s more widely recognised now that data holds value, but many companies still struggle to unlock this potential. Having a well-thought-out data strategy is a great way to begin unlocking this data value.

We can also see that ‘technology’ and ‘team’ play on the minds of most business leaders. Without the right skills or tech stack in place, executing any kind of data vision becomes impossible.

People who were more ‘hands-on’ with their data were more likely to prioritise their organisation’s tech stack, which makes a lot of sense. Likewise, they were the group who were most likely to suffer from legacy systems and/or poor tech investments.

Despite being critical to a data project’s success, having a strong data leader and good data governance didn’t rank well amongst survey members. This is surprising, as a data strategy doesn’t really work without someone to spearhead it, or data governance to protect it. This will be especially true in the post-GDPR era. However, overall businesses are realising the importance of data leadership, as over 60% of organisations lacking a data leader are hoping to appoint one in the next 2 years.

A data strategy meets all top priorities

The value of a well planned and executed data strategy is highlighted by the survey findings. Meeting all the top priorities is only possible with a coherent strategy that looks at data’s value, the data team, and tech stack.

Although the value of data has caught on with many professionals, the importance of a data leader and good governance is yet to be realised. As time goes on, this may very well change. The respondents of the survey were primarily data leaders themselves, which might go some way in explaining why they didn’t rank recruiting other leadership as a priority. It’s also seen as a costly endeavour that may be out of reach for many organisations.

Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see whether some of these priorities change and whether we receive the same results next year. One thing is certain: our survey shows that data is being asked to prove its worth.


Written by Jason Foster


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