NEW YORK: Media and marketing leaders are dedicated to building data-centric businesses but their efforts are being hampered by organizational silos and a lack of people with suitable skills, according to a new study.

The Data-Centric Organization, a white paper from the IAB Data Center of Excellence and the DMA, a trade association for data-driven marketers, was based on a survey of more than 200 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers, and marketing service providers.

This found that an overwhelming majority (96%) of media and marketing executives were deeply committed to leveraging audience data to transform their businesses into data-centric companies.

More than half (59%) expected their organizations would be data-centric within the next two years; less than a quarter (24%) described their organizations as "extremely data-centric" today.

Six in ten (59%) agreed that dissolving organizational silos would represent the most important step their businesses could take to derive more value from their use of audience data.

Ensuring they have people with the right expertise, skills and experience is another significant challenge: just 5% said they were "extremely confident" their internal teams had the necessary talent.

Most were "somewhat confident" with data analytics emerging as the area of most concern; more than 88% of those surveyed felt this would be the most important skillset for their organization to possess in support of its future efforts.

"Turning big data into smart data and identifying actionable insights will require skills that many marketing organizations recognize they lack," said Neil O'Keefe, SVP/ Membership Engagement and CRM at the DMA.

"Once the skills are in place, access to the best technical solutions will be mandatory to excel," he added.

Further advice came from Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director of Winterberry Group, which researched and wrote the white paper.

"There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution," he said. "It's vital that each business assesses their unique situation and crafts a game plan that will allow them to reach the next data maturity milestone."

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff