Economist Intelligence Unit: Leveling the playing field

How companies use data for competitive advantage

The data that companies collect used to be considered intellectual property, to be protected and shared only with a select few. Today, there is an abundance of data—some would say an overabundance—with a wide array of tools to analyse it. Executives are beginning to realise that, if the deluge of information is to be exploited to the full, information should be widely shared, not hoarded. Only then can firms gain the insights that will put them ahead of their rivals.

Nearly all companies realise that the way to gain a competitive advantage is to obtain better data, interpret them quickly, and distribute them in easier-to-use formats. However, there are many obstacles to the effective use of data and few companies surmount them all—a fact that results in a lot of unused corporate data. Indeed, only 17% of companies use 75% or more of the data they collect.
 


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