4 in 5 data chiefs regret not investing in data-driven initiatives

The same number believed the pandemic could have been better mitigated by these initiatives.

Four in five chief data officers (CDO) in Singapore said they regret not having invested more in data-driven initiatives before the pandemic hit, according to a survey by Qlik.

The report, prepared by research and consultancy firm Omdia and commissioned by Qlik, analyses the state of the public sector CDO community as governments continue to adjust to a landscape disrupted by the pandemic and digital transformation. It covers four Asia Pacific (APAC) countries – Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and India – and surveyed 103 senior public sector data executives to reveal the concerns, challenges, and priorities of these CDOs.

The findings showed that 80% of Singaporean CDOs understand the value of data for making mission-critical decisions, a higher percentage than 65% of APAC CDOs.

However, data chiefs acknowledged that there remains a need to further strengthen data governance across government agencies, especially amidst the growing volume and complexity of data.

The survey revealed that only two in five (40%) 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. 

Meanwhile, CDOs in Singapore cited analytics and business intelligence technology as the top resourcing priority (80%) to enable data use within their organizations. In addition, 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%).

“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. 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,” said Kevin Noonan, Emeritus Chief Analyst at Omdia.

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