Singapore businesses see analytics as pivotal but more than half are not equipped to derive insights from data, according to the new Alteryx-commissioned study, titled, The 2019 Data and Digitization Report, which uncovers the impact of data analytics in digitization projects across six of the most digitally advanced countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Among the 500 respondents surveyed, half of Singapore's business leaders are currently, actively developing their data analytics capabilities. Furthermore, over 57% of Singaporean businesses consider themselves early or mature adopters, with a further 17% in the advanced stages of their data analytics journeys. However, technological and cultural challenges still need to be addressed. Nearly one-third of respondents acknowledged that data quality remains a significant challenge to building an effective data pipeline.
Data analytics offers value for businesses and employees alike
In Singapore, businesses agreed that data analytics helped increase productivity (62%), provided more value to deliver deeper insights (48%), helped uncover savings and efficiencies at work (48%) and enabled a better focus on strategic aims by identifying key information in data (47%).
These benefits were most apparent in the manufacturing and logistics industries, where as many as 71% of respondents acknowledged that data and analytics improved productivity. Business leaders are also seeing benefits across the board, with 70% observing a breakdown in silos in their organization, with 77% agreeing that data is so valuable that it is almost a new currency.
Professionals working in data and analytics in Singapore are also being recognised for their work. Of the respondents, 40% were given more responsibilities as a result of their success in analytics projects, while 39% were awarded a promotion or pay increase.
Data privacy concerns and talent shortage are hurdles to overcome
However, the data analytics journey is not without challenges. Concerns about data privacy, security and governance posed a significant issue for 32% of respondents. Another significant challenge is the shortage of trained data workers, particularly for medium-sized businesses of 100-259 employees (37%) and 250-500 employees (31%). For large enterprises of over 500 employees, the more pressing issue is a shortage of data scientists, with only 35% of all large enterprises maintaining a dedicated team for analytics work.
Singapore businesses appreciate the future potential of data analytics
Data analytics is viewed favourably among Singapore’s businesses, with 61% of business leaders agreeing that augmented analytics will power the next wave of disruption. They are open to adopting new tools, expressing interest in machine learning and artificial intelligence (34%), predictive analytics and modelling (34%) and data discovery, retrieval and combining from various data stores (30%).
The majority of respondents (29%) generally believed that deep learning and machine learning will be the biggest game-changers for analytics in the next five years, though medium-sized businesses (100-249 employees) put more weight on self-service analytics (29%).
Business leaders also strongly believe that empowering existing employees will be key in their digital transformation, with only 4% in disagreement. In fact, 77% of business leaders believe that everything they are investing in data and analytics will be useless without employees who deeply understand it.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Alan Jacobson, chief data and analytics officer at Alteryx said: “The business case for analytics has truly been acknowledged. While many are still balancing data inefficiencies with the challenge of a shortage of skilled data workers, this latest research from Alteryx underscores that investing in data and analytics technology alone won’t deliver real business-altering results. In order to digitally transform an organization, a smart approach to delivering the right culture that can embrace the change is equally if not more important in achieving success.”
Celine Siow, regional vice-president, Asia Pacific and Japan at Alteryx, added: “There is no doubt that data is key in driving success in the minds of Singaporean business leaders. Every data worker, regardless of technical acumen, wants to the ability to easily find and understand what information is at their disposal; have the flexibility to prep, blend, enhance and analyse data from more sources and easily operationalise analytic models through a collaborative and governed platform.”
The Alteryx-commissioned 2019 Data and Digitization Report is based on a comprehensive survey of more than 3,028 businesses across Singapore, Japan, the UK, France, Germany and the UAE. Conducted by Censuswide mirrors common challenges associated with data uncovered in the recent Alteryx-commissioned IDC Infobrief, The State of Data Science and Analytics.