Businesses feel the need for a modern data culture

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(From left) David Chmelar, CEO and co-founder of iPrice; Michal Golebiewski, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Microsoft Malaysia; Takeshi Numoto, Corporate VP, Cloud, Enterprise Marketing Group at Microsoft Corp; Ir Dr. Karl Ng Kah Hou, Director, Innovation Capital Division, Multimedia Development Economy Corporation (MDEC); and Dr Dzaharudin Mansor, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Malaysia at the media roundtable.

Despite the many benefits of adopting a data culture, a Microsoft’s first Asia Data Culture study 2016 reveals that there are areas that need to be addressed for Southeast Asian businesses to realise their full potential as a data-driven organization.

Creating an analytical workforce

About 94% of Southeast Asia’s business leaders agreed that it is important to have a data-savvy workforce. However, there are skillsets and culture gaps that need to be addressed in order for organisations to fully embrace a data culture.

  • Only 39% of business leaders in Southeast Asia polled felt that they have employees who have relevant skills to combine data to help identify business outcomes
  • 42% of respondents also cited fear of change as a barrier to embarking on digital transformation

Building infrastructure for data agility

About 91% of respondents agreed that they need to drive an agile business that is data driven. However, they perceive their capabilities in infrastructure to be lacking.

  • Less than half (46%) of business leaders in Southeast Asia felt confident that their existing data infrastructure scales with business growth
  • Only 37% of business leaders in Malaysia said that their data is accessible across mobile devices today – a definite barrier in democratizing data access in Malaysia where mobile devices penetration is expected to reach 13.7% by 2019[1]

Data governance for collaboration

About 91% felt that data driven collaboration across the organisation needs to be enabled.

  • However, a moderate 56% see the need for access to data to be provided to a broad spectrum of relevant roles within the organisation. For the democratisation of data to happen, there needs to be comprehensive data governance for security and privacy.
  • 41% of business leaders in Southeast Asia expressed that data security is a barrier to their digital strategy today.
  • Only half of the business leaders polled indicated that they have invested in tools for its workforce to help drive business insights across functions and departments.

MALAYSIA

Microsoft Malaysia, which yesterday unveiled findings from its first Asia Data Culture study 2016 at a media roundtable , showed that 85% of Business Decision Makers (BDMs) in Malaysia felt that it was important to drive an agile business that is data driven, yet only 44% are starting to embark or have a limited digital strategy in place.

“Digital transformation is beyond adding a layer of digitization to your business – it’s about bringing together social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies together. And data is at the centre of this – knowing your customers, recognizing new opportunities, or streamlining processes will become a staple part of business strategy,” said Dzahar Mansor, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Malaysia. “As a case in point, IDC Asia/Pacific predicted that by the end of 2017, 60% of APAC 1000 (A1000) enterprises will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy.”

The study, which polled 940 business leaders from medium to large companies in 13 markets in Asia, including 269 senior business leaders in Southeast Asia (comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) also revealed that even though Malaysian business leaders felt there were clear benefits to having a data culture, there are gaps that needed to be addressed before doing so.

Some of the benefits that these Malaysian BDMs felt when driving a data culture includes:

  • Better business continuity
  • Real-time decision making
  • Efficiency in operations
  • Improved processes
  • Improved customer satisfaction and retention

 

A new data culture needs to be driven from the top

At an organisation-level, data-enabled collaboration must be driven and owned by business leaders in order to drive digital transformation across functions and departments. According to the study, 85% of Malaysia’s BDMs agreed that to drive a successful data strategy, an organisation should have a formalised role, of which 41% agreed that a clear direction should come from its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Dr Dzahar echoes this and explains, “Business leaders, especially the C-suite, have a key role in driving change within the organisation. It is no surprise that the Asia Data Culture Study showed that business leaders feel that CEOs should champion the new data culture. However, speaking from our own experience at Microsoft, in order for this to stick, it is important that the values of a new data culture are driven and accepted across all levels of the organisation. This starts with the democratizing of data through technology so that everyone can access and are empowered to make decisions which create value for the organization.”

Dr Dzahar’s sentiment is in line with the study’s results, which show that 50% of Malaysian BDMs believe that access to data insights and analytics should be provided to a broad spectrum of relevant roles within the organisation today.

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