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November 15, 2017updated 20 Jul 2022 6:24am

CEOs sacrificing sustainability on the altar of connectivity quick wins

Only half of UK companies are using data and connectivity to boost long-term sustainability.

By Sabrina Dougall

IT companies are in danger of losing out on long-term sustainability in exchange for reduced production costs owing to poor data connectivity strategy, a new report suggests.

Data and connectivity came out as the top priority among 80% of IT executives, while sustainability ranked a close second.

Almost all CEOs interviewed (93%) claimed their industry is highly aware that data and connectivity could contribute to sustainable business practices. Yet surprisingly, just half said their company is using such technological strategies to support business longevity.

Qualitative interviews revealed IT bosses are in the know about IoT – 98% were confident that it is essential for a sustainable business future and will be for at least the next five years – yet lack the know-how of how to use their data to meet long-term operational goals. Only 52% of leaders are deploying data analytics to serve sustainability goals.

Encouragingly, 65% of respondents are already using data and connectivity to day-to-day operations more efficient. However, this research points to the short-sightedness of many business leaders, most of whom use connectivity for quick wins such as cost reduction.

Untapped potential in data and connectivity includes product and service innovation, business model development and improving brand value.

The research by Wipro Digital further highlights the need for increased data literacy among the workforce. Additionally, it underscores the need for better data storage systems hardware, as the volume of electronic data is predicted to increase ten-fold by 2025.

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Furthermore, security protocols need to strengthen in line with IoT and data connectivity improvements. Findings from Gartner indicate that a quarter of all cyber attacks will involve IoT devices by 2020.

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Security needs to be carefully managed so as not to inhibit connectivity innovation. Open Data Institute Gavin Starks claims “treating data as infrastructure and opening up access to it will have as profound an impact on our society as providing electricity.” Furthermore, the digital divide between wealthier and poorer communities also poses a threat to data sharing potential.

Usman Haque, founder of thingful.net agrees, reiterating that IoT technology will not solve all these problems alone, but “designing for complexity” will be “key” to reaping the benefits of connected data sources and linked silos.

In addition to data integration, other innovations recommended in the report include cross-departmental collaboration, data monitoring for transparency and digital citizenship, where private citizens are given more access to interconnected data.

The report, entitled “Vision 2030: A connected Future” surveyed 250 C-level executives, vice presidents and senior public sector leaders.

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