Companies need help to overcome rising data inequality

July 6th, 2020 – As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world’s economies, supporting SMEs to maintain operations and employment is rightfully the focus of policymakers and industry-leading businesses. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to remain top of mind in the months to come to ensure the vibrancy, diversity, economic stability and creativity of all industries globally.

However, today’s focus on the most immediate SME needs risks taking attention from longer-term issues that are also growing at a worrying pace. One concern, in particular, needs renewed interest and attention: data inequality.

Data inequality encompasses not just access to data but also the ability to perform analytics and pull insights from that information. Just as having a bank account is not full financial inclusion for SMEs if they cannot also access capital and other financial products, the act of owning data is not the same as data equality if SMEs do not have the tools and skills to use it.

The rising data economy was already challenged by significant inequalities before the pandemic. At the leading edge of today’s data economy, well-digitalized companies are shaping data into state-of-the-art virtual models across commercial life – creating retail shoppers, product prototypes, marketing campaigns and others – to optimize business outcomes and swiftly adjust to COVID-19.

But on the edges of that same economy, poorly digitalized companies – largely SMEs – are still struggling to implement the basic technology needed to grow towards more mature data use and analytics. Between the two are millions of companies developing their data capabilities at different stages and rates.

This inequality is only going to be exacerbated in the wake of COVID-19.

More…https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/companies-need-help-overcome-data-inequality/

Written by World Economic Forum

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