The Omdia report, Emergence of the Public Sector Chief Data Officer in APAC, revealed that 80% of public sector chief data officers (CDOs) in Singapore regret not having invested more in more data-driven initiatives before the pandemic hit. These initiatives can drive technology to develop better citizen services like public health and mitigate the COVID-19 crisis.
The need to strengthen data governance
Commissioned by Qlik, the report noted that although 80% of CDOs in Singapore (vs 65% in APAC) understand the value of data for making mission-critical decisions, there remains a need to further strengthen data governance across government agencies, especially amid the growing volume and complexity of data.
Forty per cent of government agencies in Singapore have yet to seize the opportunity to set up a data governance body, despite its proven efficacy in building management support and broadening the awareness of data’s value in decision-making.
Top resourcing priorities
In addition to organizational support, CDOs in Singapore cited analytics and business intelligence technology as the top resourcing priority (80%) to enable data use within their organizations.
CDOs in Singapore voiced technical and strategic concerns for implementing data technology, such as integrating data, finding the right technology partner, and upskilling public sector workers.
Data analytics (60%), data science (35%), and data policy (35%) ranked as the most sought-after skills among public sector organizations in Singapore.
Besides skills, the CDOs in Singapore surveyed also expressed the need to establish a corporate culture of using data to support decisions (65%) and a more data literate workforce (55%).
As public sector organizations in Singapore reposition themselves beyond COVID-19 in the next twelve months, data initiatives will become more strategic and outcome-focused. Key priorities include improving the availability of metadata for users (50%), introducing new technologies (45%), and achieving a data strategy with a one-year action plan (45%).
Kevin Noonan, emeritus chief analyst at Omdia, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has been a watershed for CDOs in APAC, prompting governments in Asia to more efficiently use data insights to create better citizen services around public health, welfare and taxation.
He added that there is a pressing need to reassess the public sector organization’s technology investment to enable a suitable strategy to meet the new normal’s emerging agility and innovation requirements.
“However, technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Leaders must also better define and enable the CDO role to realize data-driven decision-making,” he cautioned.
SG CDOs lead APAC
The public sector CDO is an emerging role within organizations in Singapore. Though these executives have a wealth of prior experience in the broader government sector, there is still room for growth in defining reporting structures.
35% stated that their jobs lacked clarity in job definition, job execution, or both (vs 47% in APAC). While public sector organizations in Singapore have yet to fully establish the CDO function to seize data as a business opportunity 93% of US public sector organizations routinely rely on data for mission-critical decisions (vs 80% in Singapore).
Charlie Farah, director of industry solutions for healthcare and the public sector at Qlik, opined the current pandemic has unimaginably reshaped the ways of organizations, industries, and society.