These are uncertain times for UK businesses, with the ramifications of Brexit on the horizon, as well as a changing digital landscape and shortage of IT talent.
Despite these uncertainties, many business leaders are beginning to seize the opportunities offered by big data technologies as they prepare multiple plans for 2019.
Countless reports throughout 2018 have revealed dimming optimism among business leaders and CFOs.
A recent survey we conducted as part of our Data Surge Report reflected this sentiment, with 93%of senior decision-makers in large and medium sized businesses expecting a drop in revenue next year.
In spite of this sinking confidence, our report also showed the business community is positively bullish in the face of the financial challenges ahead.
The survey discovered that businesses are boosting investment in key areas to tackle the revenue drop, with IT coming top by a significant margin, suggesting tech spend is of huge importance to companies next year.
59 percent of businesses will increase spend on IT in 2019, and 80 percent of the companies we surveyed are planning to hire a data scientist or seek data consultancy next year.
So why the focus on IT? Everyone knows that shrewd technology investment can save money, but why should this area above all others receive such a major boost in a time of potential crisis?
The answer, we discovered, lies in the increasing need for organisations to harness the power of data to drive the business forward.
A striking 96% of company leaders told us they understand the importance of data as being critical to their organisation’s future. And nearly three quarters (72%) of decision-makers in our study claimed their company’s response to big data has been positive.
Indeed, many companies are already using data analytics to gain insights, make more accurate decisions and reduce administration and reporting processes.
Yet, despite understanding the importance of data, only one in 10 businesses are yet to implement big data strategies, and less than a third regularly conduct big data projects.
Right now, it appears that companies are all too aware of the uncertainty ahead, investing in IT to overcome it, yet are far from prepared when it comes to using data effectively.
So how can organisations adopt a more proactive approach to data analytics and reap the benefits as we move into 2019?
The good news is that no matter what stage a business is at on the data journey, technologies and solutions are smarter and more available than ever before. Our Data Maturity Quiz helps businesses assess where they are on this journey, and understand the next steps to take.
Uncertainty requires more accurate decision-making. Utilising available and relevant data allows companies to make financial choices based on accurate information.
This can only be achieved with the right analytics tools in place, allowing a full view of the business intelligence available, enabling organisations to move forward with confidence, despite economic unease.
By Nick Felton, SVP, MHR Analytics.