news release

    UK businesses missing out on over £8 billion untapped revenue potential

Experian QAS research reveals how upgrading data systems boost the bottom line


London, 4 August 2011 – Research from Experian QAS today calls for UK organisations to harness the full potential of their data to help boost the bottom line. The independent research, which interviewed over 1,300 IT decision makers in seven countries – of which 303 were from the UK – found that only 44 per cent of UK businesses are investing in data quality with a view to generating revenue.

According to Experian QAS, if UK organisations with 250+ employees fully harnessed the revenue generating potential of their data by better managing information, the total financial boost to UK PLC would be at least £8 billion. For an individual organisation, this could improve the bottom line significantly with Experian QAS’ research suggesting an average revenue generating potential of between £431,000 and £9,262,000 over a two year period, depending on the size of the organisation:


Size of organization

Average revenue generating potential of data

250-499 employees


499-1000 employees


1,000+ employees


These financial returns are delivered through a better understanding of who and where customers and prospects are, ensuring better quality sales leads, encouraging longer term customer relationships and prompting repeat purchases. Efficiencies are also gained by reducing the significant costs attached to inaccurately addressed or ill-targeted direct mail and other communications.  All of these returns are directly related to improved data management practices.

While the majority of businesses have not fully seized the revenue potential of good data management, it has nevertheless risen up the board’s agenda as businesses take advantage of its ability to increase their efficiency (66 per cent) and reduce costs (50 per cent).


Nine out of 10 UK organisations doubt their data

Despite more recognition of the importance of data, this is yet to translate into practice as 90 per cent of UK organisations suspect that their customer and prospect data is not completely accurate. The potential for revenue generation through better management of data is considerable, but the research suggests that antiquated data quality methods are holding companies back. For example, a staggering 42 per cent of UK organisations carry out data analysis using Excel spreadsheets to detect data quality issues.


UK organisations too reliant on manual methods

The over reliance on manual methods is exacerbating poor data quality, with 50 per cent of businesses that lack complete trust in their data blaming human error for poor data hygiene and inaccuracies. The result is that resources are wasted and brands are damaged due to misdirected customer communications.

In the UK in the past three years, over a third of companies have sent mailings to the wrong address and 27 per cent have mistakenly sent multiple mailings to the same postal address. Experian QAS’ research suggests that many companies are investing precious financial, staff and material resources in direct mail activities that may actually result in negative brand perception and poor customer service; ultimately resulting in lost sales.


Some positive signs

Although only 44 per cent of UK businesses are investing in data quality with a view to generating revenue, in the last two years 81 per cent of UK organisations have made improvements to the way they manage their customer and prospect data by upgrading their data management systems. According to the research, 43 per cent use dedicated point-of-capture software that guides data input and verifies contact information as it is being entered. 39 per cent also use dedicated back-office software to clean contact data after it is submitted into the database.

Joel Curry, UK Managing Director for Experian QAS, said: “We are living in a digital world and organisations are being bombarded by valuable data about customers and prospects from all touch points. The research clearly shows that UK organisations are increasingly seeing the importance of data management, but too many are using old fashioned methods to solve a complex modern problem.

“This is a missed opportunity and businesses need to invest in the right tools to improve the quality of their data to embrace the financial rewards, improved customer service and brand perception that great data quality can bring. Above all, the customer interface of these products and services should be simple and deliver against organisational objectives.”

A whitepaper into the research, which includes six steps to achieving data quality, is available at




Alex Banks
Experian Public Relations
Telephone : 07966 102 823
Email :

Notes to Editors

 Additional UK statistics

  • 23 per cent of UK organisations still use entirely manual processes to manage their customer and prospect data
  • As many as 37 per cent still use manual processes to measure response rates and return to sender from their marketing campaigns
  •  Another 24 per cent examine data in the database, row by row, in attempt to manage accuracy
  • 37 per cent report that wrong name and contact details have had a negative impact on customer perception of their organisation
  •  A fifth of companies said they have lost customers because of inaccurate data input
  •  Another fifth have lost customers because of the amount of time it takes to input information on their website

 About the research

Experian QAS commissioned Dynamic Markets to undertake quantitative research into the latest organisational attitudes to data quality. Online surveys were conducted with 1,321 companies across seven countries: Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US. Three hundred companies were surveyed in the UK alone. Companies ranged from medium sized enterprises (250 to 499 staff), all the way up to very large companies (5,000 employees and more). In the UK, this was divided like so:

  • 250-499 employees = 40 respondents
  • 500-999 employees = 46 respondents
  • 1,000-4,999 employees = 74 respondents
  • 5,000+ employees = 143 respondents

Sectors covered included manufacturing; automotive; transport and travel; leisure; retail; financial services; utilities; telecoms; charities and public sector. Attitudes were taken from staff of varying levels of seniority; from administrators to directors. Disciplines were similarly diverse, including marketing, CRM, data management, customer services, IT, Sales, HR, Finance, operations and general administration. All respondents confirmed prior to interview that they were informed about how their organisation handles its customer / citizen and / or prospect databases. The median number of contact databases per organisation was six, with the average being 289. The research took place in Q1 2011.

Extrapolation of additional profit generated for UK companies as a result of upgrading the management of customer and prospect data in the last two years.


The profit generated by UK companies with more than 250 employees as a result of upgrading their data systems in the last two years is calculated as follows:

  • The survey shows that the percentage of UK companies claiming an increase in profit as a result of upgrading their data systems in the last two years  = 15 per cent
  • The survey shows that the average additional profit generated as a result of upgrades to data  = £6,232,000 per company in the UK
  • The total number of large companies in the whole UK economy = 8,650 (source: Office for National Statistics, UK Business: Activity, Size and Location 2010)

Therefore, total number of large companies in the UK is likely to demonstrate a profit increase from upgrades = 8,650 x 15 per cent = 1,298 companies.

The total profit increase across large companies in the UK is therefore at least £8,086,000,000.

  • 1,298 companies likely to demonstrate a profit increase from upgrades x £6,232,000 profit generated per company as a result of upgrading their data systems in the last two years = £8,086,000,000