Digital for all now

#DigitalCompanies: data: uncharted territory?

Econocom 29 Nov 2016

Data is one of the key issues of the digital revolution. But how far have companies progressed with using it in 2016? Is data collected? Stored? Secured? These are just some of the questions 400 decision-makers from more than 329 large organisations in France were asked as part of the second edition of the Barometer of Digital Practices, published on 4th October 2016 by Econocom, Sia Partners and Ifop.





87% of large companies see themselves as advanced or very advanced in terms of data security. The banking & insurance sector came out top in this category, with 57% claiming their company is very advanced in data security.


In total, 83% of companies have implemented a privacy policy and 67% conduct regular security tests to prevent internal penetrations. Data is mostly stored on-site (63%) rather than in the cloud (37%). Only 5% of respondents said they only store their data in the cloud. None of the companies in banking & insurance, a sector in which security concerns are particularly high, chose the cloud as their only storage solution, and only 14% store part of their data there.


“Data security is often used as an excuse not to use cloud solutions,” explained Gregory Haik, Chairman of the EuroCloud France security commission, in May 2016, “which isn’t a very rational way of looking at the matter. Whether the data is stored in the cloud or locally, an analysis of security should focus on the same thing: technical protection resources, the skills of the operations team, organisation and responsibility.”


-> Also on our blog: Security: should we be wary of the cloud interview with Gregory Haik, Eurocloud France


On the whole, the other aspects of data are rather limited: only 1 in 10 companies considers itself to be advanced in the collection, processing and analysis of data.




The majority of data collected by companies (81%) consists of internal data gathered from CRM tools, websites, apps and connected devices. However, 77% also gather data from external sources: public data (50%), data from partnerships with the ecosystem (45%) or social media (41%). 1 in 3 companies uses specialist third-party providers such as Weborama or BlueKai, and as many as 50% of engineering/consultancy firms do this.



data use is limited to customer knowledge


As CRM is the main source of data (41%), customer knowledge is one of the few areas of data use (67%) prevalent in companies. The second commonest use is for HR management (42%), as is the case for SNCF, the French railways, for example.


Other areas of data usage, however, have as yet to be widely implemented by companies, particularly where predictive analytics is concerned. Only 25% of companies carry out predictive maintenance based on customer and market data, whilst 23% do predictive analysis of behaviour.


Of course, certain industries are more advanced than others: the energy and engineering/consulting sectors carry out predictive maintenance (62% and 55% respectively), whilst 1 in 2 banking & insurance companies use data for predictive analytics.



complexity: a major obstacle


The main obstacle to collecting and exploiting data is complexity – be it technical (52% don’t have the right tools), organisational (51% lack agility) or human (51% don’t have the requisite in-house skills). Security, on the other hand, is not considered an obstacle (only 23% of companies cited this).


Lastly, almost half of companies don’t consider data as a priority, and yet there are numerous examples of exciting data-driven projects implemented by companies. Take Reykjavik airport: in August 2016, we found out how data collected by sensors connected to visitors’ smartphones can be used to analyse traveller traffic and thus converted into added-value information to improve services. “With this data, we’ve been able to identify and better understand congestion. It’s allowed us to identify the recurring problem of job rotations, which typically used to happen too late,” Project Manager Guðmundur Gautason explained.


“Data is the fuel of the digital economy. Its value increases with each use; it brings about a change in paradigms,” said French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs Axelle Lemaire in March 2015 at the opening of the 4th edition of the Big Data Paris. The possibilities offered by data exploitation are endless: look, for example, at how American retail giant Walmart has become a big data champion. As Axelle Lemaire said last year: “You just need to nurture the potential,” and introduce this aspect of digital to organisations – NOW!


-> Also on our blog: Where data collection, exploitation and security is concerned, is your company leading-edge, play-safe, bold or indifferent? Find out about the four main “data player” profiles identified by Econocom, Sia Partners and Ifop.

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