In May 2020, FactSet, in partnership with Forbes Insights, surveyed more than 200 investment professionals from around the globe to better understand the competitive landscape their firms currently face, the strategies being adopted to keep up, the role of technology in their processes, and how they anticipate their firm’s approach to technology may change in the coming years.
Our research, executed at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, uncovered several drivers behind the need to transform business processes with innovative technologies. During our analysis, we identified a segment of “technology leaders.” This group, based on the technology leaders’ responses to key questions, is in the highest quartile of technology implementation, demonstrating leadership in everything from advanced data platforms to AI, NLP, and blockchain.
The Vital Role of Data
One of key takeaways of our research is that making the most of technology requires the development of a sound data strategy and platform. In our survey, 83% of executives say that improving data management will enable their firms to more efficiently and effectively harness advanced technologies across the enterprise. This figure reaches 100% among technology leaders. Eighty-three percent of respondents overall also believe that improving data management—sourcing, sharing, analyzing, and responding—will be critical to their ongoing success (98% among leaders).
Firms are taking a range of actions in this area, including implementing an enterprise data management (EDM) system. They are also accessing more sources, structures, and types of data (53%), building data repositories/lakes (53%), and migrating to the cloud (47%).
One aspect of these findings warrants closer inspection. In some areas, leaders are just as likely or even less likely to act on their data strategy as the overall sample. For example, while 46% overall say they’re removing data silos, this number falls to 39% among leaders. This likely indicates that leaders have already made this move. Similar inferences are likely true across the board.
Most executives indicate that they are already employing AI to some degree to develop innovative products and services; they soon expect to more actively embrace it. This is one area where technology leaders are far ahead of others. When asked specifically about AI combing through data to identify, develop, and deliver innovative products and services, 59% of leaders say they’re very active in this regard today compared to only 38% overall. The takeaway: technology leaders have a head start in harnessing data and technology to create unique and distinctive customer experiences.
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