Press Release • September 29, 2021

Ignore Data at Your Own Peril, Latest Alation State of Data Culture Report Suggests

Research reveals 74% of CFO’s don’t have the right investment approach for data and analytics

Redwood City, Calif. – September 29, 2021 – Ignoring data leads to business missteps. That is the bottom line according to the latest Alation State of Data Culture Report, released today. An eye-opening 97% of data leaders report their companies have suffered the consequences of ignoring data — either missing out on new revenue opportunities, poorly forecasting performance, or making bad investments.

Enabling organizations to use trusted, governed data to make informed, data-driven decisions can lead to process optimization and increased revenue opportunities. Ironically, data leaders are frustrated that despite the material impact data and analytics have on their businesses, 74% claim their CFO’s do not invest enough in data and analytics. The disconnect introduces performance risk for organizations, when compared to competitors who utilize data and analytics to better improve operations and serve customers. The report states that 89% of organizations that fell short of their revenue goals blame their CFO for not investing enough. Using the State of Data Culture Index, companies with a top-tier data culture are most aware of the risk (73%) of disruption from competitors who are able to use data better; low-tier data culture companies, for whom the risks are even higher, are the least aware of this risk, at only 44%.

Produced by Wakefield Research for Alation, the leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions, the Alation State of Data Culture Report provides an assessment of the progress enterprises have made in creating a data culture, the challenges they face in embracing data-driven decision-making, and the progress they have made in leveraging data to drive business value.

More than half (56%) of data leaders say their data culture has improved in the past year, and attribute that success to a number of factors:

  • Technology: 54% cite investment in new data tools, like data intelligence and data catalogs

  • Data governance: 48% cite that improved collaborative data governance builds trust in data

  • Data literacy: 51% of all data leaders are fostering a data culture through formal learning and development programs to increase data literacy

  • No more gut instinct: More than half, 54%, report that c-level executives almost always rely on data, as opposed to gut instinct, which is a 20-point improvement over last year

“The organizations that learn from data faster understand their customers, innovate, and sense markets quicker and more clearly than others,” said Satyen Sangani, CEO and co-founder, Alation. “Companies that invest in data and build a culture of data literacy do well. Those that don’t fall behind. Companies need to transform how they make decisions and how they work to incorporate data into everything they do. They have to build a data culture.”

One year into the Alation State of Data Culture report, research shows that companies that focus on building a data culture have a great competitive advantage, defensively and offensively. On the defense, organizations can evaluate risk and better prepare for uncertainty with more predictability. An offensive competitive advantage enables organizations to increase customer retention and drive product innovation. Data leaders reported more than 14% growth in all three pillars of data culture, with year-over-year increases including:

  • 22-point growth (37% to 59%) in companies that have adopted data literacy in most or all departments.

  • 15-point growth (39% to 54%) in companies that have adopted data search & discovery in most or all departments.

  • 14-point growth (39% to 53%) in companies that have adopted data governance in most or all departments.

“The big takeaway is that organizations are rapidly investing in data culture, adopting data literacy, data search & discovery, and data governance. This report should be a wakeup call for the companies that want to delay their data investments by another year or even another quarter. Building a data culture is the only sustainable way to develop a consistent competitive advantage,” said Sangani.

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About the Alation State of Data Culture Report The Alation State of Data Culture Report is a study sponsored by Alation and executed by Wakefield Research. Wakefield Research conducted a quantitative research study among 300 Data & Analytics Leaders at enterprises with 2,500+ employees in the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Enterprises are polled each quarter regarding the progress of establishing a data culture — i.e., a culture of data-driven decision making — within their organizations, the challenges they face in embracing data-driven decision making, and the progress they have made in leveraging data to drive business value for their organization.

About Alation

Alation is the leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions, enabling self-service analytics, cloud transformation, data governance, and AI-ready data. More than 550 enterprises build data culture and improve data-driven decision-making with Alation, including Cisco, Nasdaq, Pfizer, Salesforce, and Virgin Australia. Alation has been named to Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list four times, is a 2022 UK’s Best Workplaces™ in tech and Best Workplaces™ for Women, and recognized as a 2022 and 2023 UK’s Best Workplaces™. For more information, visit

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Lauren Lloyd

Director, Corporate Communication