Mazars global study reveals most businesses are overconfident about their level of data maturity

Mazars global study reveals most businesses are overconfident about their level of data maturity

16 December 2021

  • 93% of respondents say that data is a top priority in their technology roadmap
  • 82% think they’re more data mature than peers
  • But most don’t meet best practice on a range of topics critical to data maturity
  • Only 37% of respondents make data constantly available to anyone who needs it
  • Data maturity is key to growth

Mazars, the international audit, tax and advisory firm, with research partner DataGalaxy, announces the release of its first global study on data – The race to data maturity: Is your business as far ahead as you think? Over 1,100 business leaders from 21 countries, working in different size organisations in various industries and sectors participated in an online survey. The goal was to determine the self-assessed data maturity – or ‘fitness’ – of organisations and gauge how this self-assessment measured up to the actual programmes, processes and policies they have in place.

Nicolas Quairel, Partner and Global Head of Technology and Digital Consulting at Mazars, comments: „Countless businesses are racing toward the same objective: to be data-driven. However, our findings underscore the inherent difficulty of this journey. The path to data maturity is often longer, more complex, and more fraught with challenges than business leaders anticipate – or even realise.

Being data-driven is no longer optional; it’s required

Our results show that businesses across the board are investing effort, money, and executive time on data: it’s the top priority, or among the top priorities, in the technology roadmap of 93% of companies surveyed; and top executives and board members address data management and governance issues quarterly, or even more frequently, in 80% of companies.

Becoming data-driven requires hard work and tough decisions that can make the difference between just keeping up and taking the lead.

Data has become one of the most important assets of a business. With the continuous development of the applications capable to collect, store and utilize large volume of data, there is an increasing need for the implementation of a better data governance as well as adequate measures for protection and secure access.”, mentioned Răzvan Butucaru, Partner, Financial Services & Advisory Leader, Mazars Romania.

Many businesses are overconfident in their data maturity

A strong majority of businesses (82%) believe they are more data mature than their competitors. While they have begun putting data tools in place, most don’t meet best practices that underpin data maturity.    

Lazhar Sellami, Co-founder, DataGalaxy, explains: „Leaders must check their overconfidence, identify and then bridge their data maturity gaps to design a successful path toward data transformation. This study identifies the most common gaps and gives leaders actionable insights to get ahead in their race to data maturity.”

Data is only useful when it’s high-quality

Business leaders should keep in mind that their company’s data should be accurate, complete, consistent, reliable, and up to date.

Data quality is crucial to making the most of investments in data – especially when that investment is in AI. Data quality issues have an impact on AI, machine learning and advanced analytics projects in 82% of organisations. Given that 43% of companies plan “major” new investment in AI (more than in any other area), data quality may be the biggest obstacle to companies realising returns on their data investments.

Data collection and storage are processes under continuous evolution and optimization, with data quality assurance being the direction in which companies will invest material and technological resources, as the impact of data quality is decisive for the good results of future projects.”, mentioned Horațiu Nistor, Senior Manager, IT Audit & Advisory, Mazars Romania.

Building a data-driven culture is critical

Being data-driven can feel similarly precarious until you get the hang of it. But, once data is integrated into every part of your business, and once your teams understand its value and know where to find it, making data-driven decisions comes naturally. To adopt a data mindset, teams at every level should feel comfortable accessing and using data.

Businesses have begun making data available to all users on centralised systems, and are trying to advance good data governance practice. But only a quarter of organisations have their data fully centralised in a shared location. Less than two in five (37%) make data constantly available to anyone who needs it.

Data maturity is key to growth

Nicolas Quairel continues: „Our findings show that the fastest-growing companies are also the ones furthest ahead in the race to data maturity. In other words, businesses that are excelling at every stage of their data journey and passing the baton from insight to action are also unlocking a competitive advantage.”

The companies expecting the highest levels of growth are also the most likely to meet best practices on data across multiple factors. This study identifies seven best practices to help businesses reach data maturity, drive growth, and unlock a competitive advantage through data:

  • Operationalise a data governance programme. Nearly half of businesses (46%) don't have a functioning data governance programme, which is critical to ensuring your data is usable, accessible and protected.
  • Enforce organisation-wide data mapping. While only about half (51%) of organisations currently meet this best practice, it’s critical to increasing the overall accuracy and useability of your data.
  • Monitor data quality using a shared dashboard. Less than half (43%) of businesses use a shared dashboard to monitor data quality. This helps track, measure, and gain real-time insights into the quality of your data, and helps you take action to fix issues.
  • Fix data at the source. Only 40% of businesses have the processes in place to fix data quality issues at the production/gathering stage. This saves teams from the time-consuming task of cleaning up errors in the effort to make poor-quality data useable.
  • Fully centralise data in a shared location. Only a quarter (26%) of surveyed organisations have their data fully centralised in a shared location.
  • Make data available to anyone who needs it. Only one in three (33%) businesses meet this best practice to help teams move more quickly to test and operationalise use cases.
  • Share data knowledge with everyone in your organisation. Only 38% of businesses have a comprehensive data knowledge repository that is shared by all.

Not only does this study establish a close link between these best practices and faster business growth, it also shows that overconfidence – especially where data quality is concerned – can undermine investments in sophisticated data tools like AI and advanced analytics.

Download the study




Emilia Popa, Head of Marketing and Communication, Mazars Romania / +40 741 111 042

About the study

The Mazars global data study 2021 - The race to data maturity: Is your business as far ahead as you think? – is published with the participation of our research partner DataGalaxy. It explores the concepts of data maturity: how do leaders self-assess the data maturity of their businesses and how does this measure up to the actual programmes, processes and policies they have in place?

1,111 senior data governance, data management systems and/or data quality control professionals from 21 countries were surveyed between 12 July and 2 August 2021. Fieldwork was conducted online by GQR research on behalf of Mazars.

About Mazars

Mazars is an internationally integrated partnership, specialising in audit, accountancy, advisory, tax, and legal services*. Operating in over 90 countries and territories around the world, we draw on the expertise of more than 42,000 professionals – 26,000+ in Mazars’ integrated partnership and 16,000+ via the Mazars North America Alliance – to assist clients of all sizes at every stage in their development.

*where permitted under applicable country laws. | Mazars on LinkedIn

About Mazars in Romania

In Romania, Mazars has over 26 years of experience in audit, tax, financial advisory, outsourcing, and consulting. Our strength lies in the people we work with – the local team has 7 partners and 250 professionals. | Mazars Romania on LinkedIn

About DataGalaxy

Founded in 2015 in Lyon-France, DataGalaxy is an innovative startup specialising in collaborative data governance. Focused on user experience, we help organizations leveraging their teams data knowledge to make their organization Data Centric.  DataGalaxy offers the first integrated data knowledge platform bridging the gap between all data stakeholders.