New Study Reveals Companies Still Stuck Chasing Data

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National survey from Square Root uncovers key challenges with data in the workplace

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A new national survey from Square Root, the leader in enterprise store relationship management software, reveals that despite a huge focus and time investment in collection, analysis and reporting, companies across industries still fail to take meaningful action on data.

The survey, The Data Chaser Challenge, compared motivations and behavior regarding data collection, analysis, reporting and use, and included respondents ranging from associates to executives across the retail, financial services, automotive, technology and healthcare industries.

Key findings across industries include:

  • Nearly 1 in 3 companies fail to act on collected data. While employees spend up to 20 hours per week collecting, analyzing and reporting on data, nearly 50% say their time would be better spent elsewhere.
  • Employees work against data. More than 55% of respondents admitted to manipulating data to work in their favor, while nearly 20% say managers ignore data and 50% say managers make decisions counter to data.
  • Data is seen as waste of employee time. 36% say data is required to make decisions that could be made without it, with one-third saying too many data requests wastes time.
  • Data tools are scattered and outdated. More than 70% of companies still rely on manual tools such as spreadsheets and word processors. One third say too many data sources wastes time, with 70% relying on at least three tools.

“Data can be a powerful tool for driving positive change, but simply chasing down large volumes of information can lead to decision paralysis and waste both time and money,” said Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root. “The key to data success in 2016 will be a focus on actionable, timely information. Software will help companies apply just-in-time insights on the front lines, driving organizational change and enabling greater agility.”

Retail insights

  • Compared to other industries, managers are most guilty of ignoring data that’s collected (25%)
  • 25% say their company spends time collecting data, but doesn’t act on it, and 40% cite lack of tools needed to act on data
  • 50% admit to manipulating data, and 43% say time spent on data would be better spent elsewhere

Automotive insights

  • While auto employees are the least likely to ignore data (11%), they are the biggest culprits of manipulating data (60%) to work in their favor, or making decisions counter to data (70%)
  • Compared to other industries, automotive employees say too many data requests waste time (45%), with 65% believing time spent on data would be better spent elsewhere
  • 37% say their company collects data, but doesn’t act on it

Financial services insights

  • Compared to other industries, financial services companies are the most likely to collect -- but not act on -- data (40%)
  • 40% say too many data sources causes wasted time
  • 40% admit to manipulating data and 47% say managers make decisions counter to data

Healthcare insights

  • While data efforts in other industries were driven by manager demands, healthcare employees are motivated by a desire to better understand what is happening in their business (60%)
  • 60% say time spent on data efforts could be better spent elsewhere, with 37% citing their company fails to act on data
  • Nearly 1 in 5 said time spent on data is rarely or never useful

Technology insights

  • Behind automotive, technology employees are most likely to manipulate data to work in their favor (55%) or make decisions counter to data (55%)
  • Ironically, 80% of technology employees cite use of manual tools such as spreadsheets and word processors as the primary way for collecting and analyzing data
  • 35% of technology employees say too many data sources waste significant amounts of time

About Square Root:
Square Root, an Austin-based Software as a Service (SaaS) company, creates technology solutions that power data-driven decision making for leading automotive and retail enterprises. Built for companies with distributed retail networks, Square Root’s store relationship management platform, CoEFFICIENT®, delivers actionable data insights to align organizations, increase transparency, encourage collaboration, and improve store performance. Founded in 2006, Square Root has been bootstrapped to success, and serves as a trusted partner to many of the most well-known and complex enterprises in the world. For more information, visit

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Molly Wilson