So far in our look at Couchbase’s Data Dilemma research we’ve seen that enterprises are under pressure to create new experiences that help them engage with customers, and that legacy databases are a serious hindrance to realising these ambitions. Assuming they don’t take action to improve the situation, what will be the consequences?

The first casualty will be customer experience, and ultimately customer satisfaction – 87 percent of digital decision makers are concerned that challenges with digital innovation will impact these. Dissatisfied customers means ultimately fewer customers, spending less money – 87 percent also believe that failure to improve customer experience will impact revenues. There is a real possibility of a downward spiral: poorer customer experience leading to lost customers, lower revenues, and fewer resources to invest in digital innovation and even further degradation of the customer experience.

The inevitable result of an uninterrupted downward spiral is failure. Over half the businesses surveyed believed that if they couldn’t successfully transform, they will survive for less than five years before going out of business or being absorbed by a competitor. This process is likely already ongoing for many: 80 percent of respondents are already concerned that their own business could be at risk of being left behind by its competitors.

Even if the business itself survives, careers are likely to be in the firing line if a digital project doesn’t live up to expectations. 73 percent of digital decision makers stated they could be dismissed for mistakes made when implementing a project, including investing in technology that leads to a security breach, allowing a project to go drastically over time and/or over budget, and investing in technology that cannot meet regulatory standards.

What to do?

No enterprise should feel it is doomed by the data dilemma. The first action to take is to recognize that, for the majority of organizations, there currently isn’t One True Database that can perfectly fulfill every single need – and if there is, it isn’t based on legacy technology. Digital decision makers understand this: 87 percent say that a single database cannot meet all of their needs. More realistic is using an Engagement Database database that can access and use data more flexibly, more quickly, and at greater scale. This will ensure that the organization is able to give customers the exceptional experience they are coming to expect, and help shepherd them through to making the final transaction. After all, all the ambition in the world won’t help if your basic tools can’t back it up.

Using modern tools that are built to not only process data, but do so in a way that allows the business to engage with customers is a key part of today’s digital innovation projects. This approach not only helps a business raise the bar for its industry, it helps them embrace the digital revolution vs. falling victim.

Posted by Peter Finter, CMO, Couchbase

Peter Finter is a senior international marketing executive with broad experience across product, sales, and marketing functions. He has spent more than 20 years building and leading marketing and sales organizations for a variety of B2B businesses in EMEA and Canada. Peter is an Electrical Engineering graduate of Imperial College, London, and a Chartered Engineer.

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