German sales people quarrel with Big Data Quality

Report from T-Systems Multimedia Solutions and the University of Applied Sciences Reutlingen shows a low level of maturity and quality deficits of Big Data in the sales department

Dresden, 2nd March 2016 – Big Data as an engine of growth? According to the view of 71 percent of Germany’s decision makers in sales, the engine is not running smoothly yet. Especially the weak data quality is regarded as a core problem when using big data in sales. Corresponding problems occur especially when integrating individual CRM systems into Big Data infrastructures. Every fifth corporation tries to realise that integration with the use of standardised, relational database models. 32 percent of firms do not use any specific big data technology at all. New technologies such as Business Intelligence in the Cloud or Hadoop ecosystems are hardly used in sales as well. That was revealed by a current study about the Status Quo of Big Data in the sales department, which was conducted by the University of Applied Sciences Reutlingen on behalf of T-Systems Multimedia Solutions.

The focus on existing CRM systems, which are the most relevant source of data for 75 percent of the respondents, can mainly be explained with objectives of the sales decision makers. Particular attention is paid to the existing customers: Almost 63 percent of the respondents hope to increase cross and up selling potential by the use of Big Data, but the therefore necessary real time data analysis takes place in only seven percent of the companies. 75 percent carry out irregular, demand-based analysis. Even worse: Although goals about what to derive from Big Data are existent, a strategy to use those benefits is missing. Only about 18 percent of the respondents confirm that their firm has an explicit and documented Big Data strategy.

All in all, the use of Big Data in the sales departments of German companies is still in its infancy. It is hardly surprising that nine out of ten respondents see increasing demands on sales due to Big Data. According to the study, the biggest need to catch up lies with the personnel. Sales representatives see the strongest need for investments in the development of the employees’ competences (78 percent), the creation sufficient personnel resources that are responsible and qualified for Big Data (59 percent) and external consulting (51 percent). Soft- and hardware play a minor role in regard to investments.

According to Peter Klingenburg, managing director of T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, decision makers link Big Data quality in the sense of a sales application to the availability of data within their CRM systems. Often that is the source of the problem: Data are not up to date, contain mistakes or are incomplete for different reasons. In combination with the sporadic use of real time analysis and the lack of an automatized elicitation of data, it is comprehensible that the data quality is a subject of criticism. Hence, the solution lies in the establishment of logic for data gathering and analysis in order to use the full potential of Big Data in the sales department.