Accelerated need for Singaporean brands to leverage data as a strategic asset
Article by Dr Eng Lim Goh, Senior Vice President, Data & AI, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Data is a valuable asset that holds enormous potential to advance the way we live and work. However, recent research has revealed that the limited ability to create value from data is hindering public and private sectors from achieving key business outcomes such as growing sales or advancing environmental sustainability. Indeed, unlocking the potential of data requires a shift in organizations’ digital transformation strategies.
This is according to research from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), whose global survey findings show that a lack of data capabilities is impeding organizations’ success. As an example, in Singapore only 13 percent of organizations say that their data strategy is a key part of their corporate strategy.
The survey is based on a five-level maturity model developed by HPE that assesses an organization’s ability to create value from data based on strategic, organizational and technological criteria. At the lowest maturity level, organizations’ data pools are isolated from one another, and are not systematically analyzed to create insights or outcomes. While at the highest level, organizations strategically leverage data to drive outcomes, based on unified access to both internal and external data sources analyzed with AI and advanced analytics.
With these stages in mind, let’s take a look at how Singaporean businesses can overcome challenges associated with a lack of data capabilities.
Bridging strategic, organizational and technological gaps
HPE’s research found that the average Singaporean organization’s data maturity level is 2.6 on the five-point scale outlined above. Almost one-third (28%) say their organization allocates either no budget for data initiatives or only occasionally funds data initiatives via an IT budget. Several additional factors, such as a lack of using methodologies like ML and deep learning, or an absence of a strategic focus on data-driven products and services, collectively paint a picture of why organizations are lacking data capability. The risk for businesses is that they remain limited when it comes to advancing key outcomes such as customer experience, sustainability, sales growth, and internal efficiency.
Furthermore, creating value from data also requires aggregating data insights from different applications, locations or external data spaces. For example, a manufacturer’s sensor telemetry from sold products can help the R&D department to better align the next product generation with customer needs, just as sharing privacy-adhered insights from patient data among hospitals can advance medical diagnosis.
Organizations want control over data asset across clouds
A characteristic of a low data maturity level is that there is no overarching data and analytics architecture, but data is isolated in individual applications or locations. This is the case for 34 percent of Singaporean respondents. On the other hand, only 16 percent have implemented a central data hub or fabric that provides unified access to real-time data across their organization, and another eight percent say this data hub also includes external data sources.
Given that data sources are increasingly distributed across clouds and edges, 62 percent of respondents say that it’s strategically important to have a high degree of control over their data and the means to create value from data.
More than half of the respondents are concerned that data monopolies have too much control over their capability to create value from data, and around 39% are re-evaluating their cloud strategy due to: increasing cloud costs (42%), concerns over data security (37%), the need for a more flexible data architecture (37%) and the lack of control over their data (32%).
This is why organizations need a cloud-everywhere model with the freedom to choose the correct location for their data asset and applications while providing one model to orchestrate across edges, data centers and clouds. This would better allow them to control their data asset and industrialize their data supply chain through a unified data fabric that empowers decision making at speed.
Improving data maturity
Improving data maturity is no easy task. Yet, it is a key prerequisite for organizations to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in the emerging data economy.
While there are no short cuts, a good starting point could be an assessment based on a data maturity model, which allows organizations to prioritize and tailor their plans to their individual strengths and weaknesses. For example, some organizations may be relatively advanced in terms of data technology, but fairly unwilling to share data between business units.
To be successful on this journey towards data control and sustainable, profitable growth, organizations must put data at the center of their digital transformation. “Cloud first” used to be the catchphrase used by CIOs and CDOs. Going forward, this must be “data first”.
The views in the article are that of the author and may not reflect the views of this publication.