Martina Naughton, Microsoft and Nick Connors, Tekenable

Businesses still struggling to turn data into an asset

Inconsistent presentation and location of data a headache across SMEs and corporations, finds Tekenable, Microsoft survey
Martina Naughton, Microsoft and Nick Connors, Tekenable

2 April 2024

Businesses are still not getting value from their data according to a new survey from Tekenable in association with Microsoft.

The survey of 201 SMEs and corporations across management levels and industries revealed disparities across management levels regarding the benefits of addressing challenges associated with the ‘Customer 360’ view where all data about a client is agregated and presented through a single interface. 

SMEs, constituting 60% of respondents, showed a stronger belief in the significant contribution of Customer 360 to enhanced customer engagement while corporations were found to be more sceptical, potentially influenced by the complexity and costs associated with implementing and maintaining large databases.




Management levels further revealed varying degrees of recognition, with C-suite and senior management holding a more positive view than first-line managers, emphasising the need for comprehensive education and engagement strategies.

The types of data used in business also varied.  SMEs predominantly used transactional data (27%) with less behavioural (10%) and demographic (8%) data proving less popular.  Corporations, however, showed a more varied usage pattern, with behavioural data (20%) and demographic data (10%) being more prevalent. 

SMEs found Customer 360 most beneficial for financial decisions (77.8%) and service excellence (64.3%).  Customer 360 helped SMEs make more informed financial decisions by providing insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and spending patterns which helped to optimise pricing, marketing campaigns, and product offerings to improve profitability.  It also provided better customer service by providing a single view of each customer’s interactions with the company.

Concern about data protection was cited as a barrier to the adoption of Customer 360 across all businesses.

The lack of a single customer view is a significant challenge for SMEs, with nearly half (43%) of respondents identifying it as their primary challenge. Corporations also found achieving a single customer view a significant challenge, with more than half (57%) identifying it as a major issue. 

“From SMEs to corporations, the imperative for improved data utilisation isn’t just a matter of growth – it’s about staying relevant in an increasingly customer-centric landscape,” said Nick Connors, group CEO at Tekenable.  “While our research shows that investment in Customer 360 is rising, education and engagement strategies need attention.”

A further issue identified by the survey was a widespread inability to make data-driven decisions.  More than two-thirds of SMEs said this was their main challenge, compared with with 33.3% of corporations.

TechCentral Reporters

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