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Business Leaders See Challenges in Customer Data, Digital Channels

Consumer/retail, technology executives wary of digital changes

In the fast-moving global economy, business executives who aren’t planning ahead are getting left behind. According to a June 2013 survey of business executives worldwide conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the top challenges faced by businesses were closely related to the state of constant change that businesses now operate in.

In fact, 20% of respondents named large-scale transformation as the top challenge for which firms were unprepared for, while 19% cited openness to innovation. But issues related to digital changes also factored prominently in the concerns of executives. Eighteen percent said businesses were not ready to deal with leveraging consumer data, while 17% thought companies ill-prepared to handle digital channels.

According to BCG, executives from the consumer/retail and technology sectors saw challenges in digital initiatives such as leveraging consumer data and managing digital channels more often than executives working in other sectors. While 70% of retail executives and 65% of technology leaders saw obstacles in leveraging consumer data, just 43% of senior professionals working in healthcare cited the same challenges.

Though retail executives were concerned about leveraging consumer information, figures released by 1010data in December 2013 painted a more optimistic picture. When asked which industries would see the most success with Big Data by the end of 2013, US business executives ranked the sector second at 42%, just behind finance (49%).

BCG found that more than seven in 10 executives working in technology considered digital channels to present a challenge, making them significantly more sensitive to the issue than respondents from the other sectors studied.

But the industry seems to be addressing this challenge. Q3 2013 data from Millennial Media, based on campaigns on its network, ranked the technology sector as one of the leading industries worldwide for mobile ad spending growth—a hot topic when it comes to digital—at 132%.

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