Data-centricity is one of the most powerful enterprise differentiators of our time. New BCG research, commissioned by Google, shows that companies capable of fully leveraging their data are not only more customer focused, but they also report higher revenue growth, enjoy swifter go-to-market cycles as well as improved Environmental Social and Governance performance. They are also significantly more resilient in the face of so-called black swan events, such as pandemics, supply chain disruptions and conflicts. Cloud computing is key to enabling this data-driven transformation, nurturing the following five traits needed to become an enterprise data champion.

Trait 1: Data champions adopt a unified top-down approach to data ownership.

The CEOs of data-first firms work with fellow execs to translate complex strategy into a clear plan. They then ensure processes and incentives are established to empower colleagues at all levels. A single, real-time view of the truth, made possible by cloud computing, which can be leveraged by all colleagues regardless of seniority or function, is central to this unified, top-down approach to data ownership. Foundry’s State of the CIO research found that more than half (55%) expect their involvement in data analysis to increase, while identifying data driven business opportunities is a top 3 priority for 16% of CEOs.

Trait 2: Data champions invest more effectively in data-driven use cases and are not afraid to ‘fail fast’.

The BCG research reveals that data champions invest in scalable, data-driven use cases, while keeping a strict eye on value and business outcomes. Data insights show them when to pull the plug on pilots that are failing to meet expectations and when to double-down on those that are driving real value. The ability to swiftly spin up and scale cloud apps or close them down when necessary, is key to achieving this agility.

Trait 3: Successful companies focus on generating a clean, high-quality and un-siloed single view of the truth.

According to the research, data champions have fewer siloed data domains and, therefore, a more consolidated view of their data. This improves the reusability of data objects, algorithms, and the data tech stack. Senior executives in these companies are also committed to enforcing policies designed to improve data accuracy, consistency, reliability, and timeliness. These policies are continuously tracked across the organization and external partners. Many champions also have a dedicated data management and governance function to ensure the organization and its third-party partners adhere to data quality standards. Foundry’s CIO research found that 34% have been tasked with making their data more available in order to make their organizations more revenue driven.

Trait 4: Data champions equip their workforce with the data tools they need. Colleagues are also actively encouraged to experiment and innovate.

Readily available cloud apps enable companies to roll out new data tools at pace and in a cost-effective manner. There are also low/no code developer apps, which enable non-IT colleagues to build their own solutions. The BCG research reveals three times more data champions than laggards are eager to build a workforce that is prepared to innovate and disrupt. Champions are also committed to responsible AI and AI regulation to ensure tools are safe.

Trait 5: Partnership ecosystems are now expected to drive transformation at scale…and cloud provides the IT infrastructure needed for successful collaboration.

Data champions expect third parties to be much more than providers of IT, analytics, and other technology products and services. They want full transformation partners primed to help discover disruptive solutions and scale data offerings, and they lean heavily on the cloud to collaborate and scale.


Cloud computing ensures companies have the scalability, flexibility and agility needed to fully leverage their data streams, enabling them to out-perform competitors. Data champions are fully aware of the cloud benefits, with the BCG research predicting that investment in cloud will exceed all other data-enabling technology during 2023 and 2024 – including AI and data analytics.

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