TechnologiesCategory2 min read

Bridging the Innovation‑Execution Gap: Is Data Your Friend or Foe?

Joe Baguley

Joe Baguley, VP & CTO EMEA, VMware

The world runs on data. It informs company decisions, strategic direction, product and service development; it aids the delivery of those services to users; and it is generated by users as they use those services, in the form of applications. It’s a virtuous circle, and when it works properly, the opportunities appear limitless.

However, our study of more than 100 C-suite executives in Forbes Top 2000 companies across Europe tells us that accessing and utilising their data is not without its challenges. This in turn is impacting the ‘innovation-execution gap’, which is how we refer to a business’ inability to turn ideas into new products, services and strategies at the pace required, something we first explored in 2018 alongside Bayes Business School.

Our new study tells us that despite increased adoption of new technologies and digital transformation efforts accelerating, nearly three-quarters (70%) of businesses are struggling to unlock the value of their data – directly impacting their ability to innovate. Fifty nine percent believe organisations who are prioritising data-led decision making are stealing market share, with 58% fearing they will fall behind the competition if they do not make better use of their data.

The data barriers flagged by business leaders include organisations having too much data, cited by 83%; difficulty in accessing the right data (74%), and technology constraints (60%). Data sovereignty, where data stored or collected is subject to the privacy laws and governance structures within a nation, industry sector or an organisation, is also a major concern, with national (76%) and industry (67%) directives highlighted as significant barriers to realising the value of data.

“Most companies are not short of good ideas. But despite progress in executing on their ideas, the innovation-execution gap has persisted, due to a lack of digital capabilities and skills, rigid infrastructures, and various constraints and risks associated with data sovereignty and compliance,” said Professor Feng LI, Chair of Information Management at Bayes Business School at City, University of London, who authored the foreword to our new Innovation-Execution report.

The reality is, innovation can’t be put on ice, especially during an economic downturn. It is something that runs through a business’ DNA and it takes time, the right culture, the right processes and the right technologies to foster and ensure it succeeds. It isn’t a nice-to-have, it is what creates competitive advantage, attracts and retains employees, and creates shared value.

Organisations looking to tackle how data is hampering their innovation efforts should focus on their people, processes and technology to bridge the gap between ideas and tangible impact. And when that connection is made, organisations can not only realise value from their data but use it to unlock greater levels of innovation. 

You can access a full download on the research, at this link here.