Study on data-driven business

Data-driven business in Switzerland: on the path to data-driven companies

Everyone is talking about “data-driven business”. But what stage are Swiss companies at in this process? A recent study conducted by MSM Research AG on behalf of Swisscom provides answers.

Text: Jörg Rothweiler,

The successful management of company data will be a decisive success factor in future. There is consensus about this both in the manufacturing industry – where data-driven business (DDB) opens up new opportunities for process optimisation and predictive maintenance measures – and in the services sector, where DDB can be used to optimise customer experiences and establish entirely new business models.


In Germany, a recent survey was conducted on behalf of the digital association Bitkom: Almost all companies are aware of the growing importance of DDB-specific technologies, such as Big Data (81%), Internet of Things (79%) or artificial intelligence (60%). But far from everyone is investing and acting accordingly (Big Data: 59%; IoT: 44%; AI: 12%).


What is the situation with Swiss companies when it comes to data-driven business? Philip A. Ziegler, CEO of MSM Research AG Schaffhausen, conducted a survey on behalf of Swisscom.

Swiss companies believe DDB can deliver more success

First the good news: Two out of three Swiss companies say: “The future belongs to data-driven companies.” Only 6% do not see any direct benefit, whereas 27% did not express a view.


Of those favouring it, 38% indicated that it is not the collection of data that is important to DDB’s success, but its meaningful conversion into value-adding information. 36% of respondents believe that “the right analytical tools” are needed, and 28% believe that “proven experts and appropriate know-how” are required.

Three goals drive DDB development

The development is driven by three expectations: Firstly, more transparency to deliver maximised value creation. Secondly, cost savings, for example through optimised logistics. Thirdly, an optimised customer focus thanks to customised products and services.


All of this promises competitive advantages which is why data driven is increasingly becoming a priority, as Philipp A. Ziegler says: “Although only just under 10% of those surveyed are addressing the core technologies and key principles of DDB, these issues will nevertheless become priorities over the next three years and further strengthen the basis of DDB.”


In specific terms, around one in three companies wants to use AI tools, Big Data and data analytics as well as IoT by 2022 and analyse data from its own enterprise applications, IoT, sensors and smart machines as well as, to a lesser extent, communication.

Facts about data-driven business in Switzerland (MSM Research 2019)

Facts about data-driven business in Switzerland (MSM Research 2019)

Painpoints and hurdles

The major painpoints at the moment are the quality, up-to-dateness and consistency of data, as well as security, data protection and integral storage strategies. The main hurdles identified by Swiss companies are that the benefits of DDB are not yet quantifiable, a lack of expertise and insufficient human resources.


In view of this situation and because 62.5% and 51% respectively think that it will take until 2024 before key DDB technologies, such as IoT and KI, are so widely established that an impact will be felt, domestic DDB expertise is developing rather slowly. Study author Philipp A. Ziegler warns of too much lethargy: “Thanks to good business performance at present, many see no reason for change. Especially as the full range and magnitude of the benefits of DDB currently appear incomplete. The digital revolution is nevertheless moving at a much faster pace than any previous industrial revolutions.”

Recommendations from an expert perspective 

Ziegler’s advice is to get started: “The transformation to a data-driven enterprise is a long journey. Those who take the first, small steps now will have a lead over the competition. But that is eminent, because in future it will no longer be size, volume and low cost that counts but fast and individual.”


Specific recommendations on how to take these first steps and other key findings from the Swiss data-driven business study can be found in the latest white paper “data-driven business”. It can be downloaded here.

Interesting facts about the study

The whitepaper was based on the results of three Swiss studies on the topics of IoT (sample: 64), AI (51) and DDB (40) which surveyed CIOs, heads of IT, CEOs and heads of specialist departments at Swiss companies with over 500 employees (27%) and Swiss SMEs (up to 500 employees; 73%).


> Download whitepaper

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