Survey Reveals Global Leaders Struggle to Access and Effectively Use Data

Organizations look to third-party vendors to address data challenges

STAMFORD, Conn., December 12, 2017 - Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI), a technology provider of innovative products, solutions and data which power commerce, today announced the release of global research that reveals nearly half (46 percent) of business professionals purchase third party data. These industry leaders are using third party data to make business decisions because they find it valuable (85 percent) and have confidence that it is up to date (83 percent). Through the December 2017 study, Digital Is Driving The Next Generation Of Data Marketplaces, commissioned by Pitney Bowes, and conducted by Forrester Consulting, 800 senior-level advertising, marketing, data, analytics and IT professionals with influence over data and analytics decisions, were surveyed across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

“We’re seeing a shift in the type of data businesses are buying today. While 83 percent of organizations still rely heavily on first party, or owned data, third party data is gaining adoption and recognized value,” says Bob Guidotti, EVP & President, Pitney Bowes Software Solutions. “First party data allows organizations to make internal business decisions, often without complete consideration of their customer’s environment. Third party data, however, provides an enormous opportunity to add depth of information, enabling business leaders to make informed decisions that go beyond the lens of their organization. As business leaders begin to incorporate this data, it’s imperative that they work with trusted vendors to access the most accurate and precise data to achieve their business goals, and to avoid millions in lost revenue from dirty data.”

Despite the growing confidence organizations have in third party data, many are challenged to effectively use it. When asked what the biggest challenges were to using the data, participants cited improving the quality and accuracy of data (70 percent), maintaining the quality of data as it changes (69 percent), and improving the ability to detect and track changes in data (69 percent) as their top challenges.

“It can be the Achilles’ Heel if the accuracy of the data is not great, or the accessibility of the data is not great,” says participant VP of Customer Engagement Marketing from a financial company. “Accuracy and accessibility are critical.”

According to a VP of Marketing from a real estate company, “Real-time data is the holy grail.”

Beyond the lack of confidence in third party data, 96 percent of survey participants say they also find data difficult to acquire. The high costs of licensing reliable data sets from third parties (55 percent), along with the timeliness and reliability of open data sets (54 percent), and finding the right data products in the open market (50 percent) are the most common pain points for organizations looking to acquire this data. Currently, the preferred methods to access data are through APIs (81 percent) and self-service interfaces (77 percent). In the future, 99 percent of organizations say they will be open to purchasing data through online data marketplaces, with 38 percent indicating they’d spend more than $10,000 USD purchasing marketplace data.

The research shows that in all geographies, more organizations are looking to easily access and purchase third party data, yet the types of datasets vary by region. In the U.S., survey participants are purchasing third party data primarily to obtain customer behavior data (60 percent) and demographic or geo-demographic data (60 percent). In Canada, participants indicated their interest in digital data (51 percent), social media data (45 percent), and customer behavior data (45 percent). In the U.K., digital data (58 percent) and social media data (59 percent) were among the most licensed; and in Australia, participants were most interested in transactional data (54 percent) and customer behavior data (43 percent).

In order to achieve their business priorities, survey participants believe it’s important to maintain the quality of data as it changes (82 percent), improve the quality and accuracy of data (82 percent), and expand the ability to source external data (81 percent). This is an opportunity for third party data providers to improve their offerings, By improving these components, almost 80 percent of U.S. professionals believe they will see a notable impact within their organization. U.K. professionals are more skeptical though, with only 61 percent believing these improvements will have a strong impact.


This commissioned study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pitney Bowes. Forrester Consulting surveyed 800 participants across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. Participants self-categorized themselves as manager-level or higher, and work in roles across advertising, marketing, data, analytics, and IT. Participants represent organizations within the insurance, telecommunications, real estate and financial services verticals that have 500 or more employees.

About Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is a global technology and data company powering billions of transactions – physical and digital – in the connected and borderless world of commerce. Clients around the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on products, solutions, services and data from Pitney Bowes in the areas of customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping, mailing, and global ecommerce. And with the innovative Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud, clients can access the broad range of Pitney Bowes solutions, analytics, and APIs to drive commerce. For additional information visit Pitney Bowes, the Craftsmen of Commerce, at