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Organisations across Asia and the Middle East recognise the value of data and are looking to data analytics to better understand, engage and improve citizens’ and/or customer experience, according to a new study commissioned by technology firm ST Engineering.

However, the ability to interpret and collaborate over data is lacking due to a weak data culture within organisations.

The study showed that while organisations are strong in building data strategy, they are increasingly overwhelmed by growing data complexity, and have inadequate capabilities and structures in place to transform data into actionable insights that drive optimal decisions.

Key Findings of the Sensemaking Maturity Index include;

Organisations’ priorities are centred around addressing customers’ or citizens’ needs and improving user experience.

  • 74% indicate improving their end customer experience is a key priority
  • 71% are looking at deploying new solutions and systems to address their stakeholders’ needs
  • 69% want to improve efficiency and effectiveness in their customer interactions.

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Weak data culture, frameworks, and analytics capabilities are predominantly still at the experimentation stage.

  • 75% of organisations are still focused on getting the right tools and capabilities to organise data
  • 66% are trying to understand the scope of analytics needs while building their capabilities around it
  • While 67% collect data throughout the customer journey and have processes around collecting, measuring and evaluating key metrics, 50% do not integrate their analytics capabilities with other qualitative data insights in their decision-making
  • 55% do not have a data-centric approach to decision-making.

While most organisations are keen to invest in analytics capabilities and tools, managing siloed data, data security and organisational structure pose critical challenges in driving holistic insights-driven processes.

  • 59% report that disparate and siloed data strategies across their organisation is their biggest challenge
  • With growing data complexity, 56% feel they lack the ability to manage data privacy and security regulations
  • 46% agree that their organisations do not have cross-functional team perspectives and capabilities to build effective sensemaking frameworks.

While 67% report that data is centralised, 55% say that customer-facing teams do not have access to the right customer data.

Only 25% of organisations have the right data dashboards and data visibility to enable personalised customer experiences.

In the past decade, technology advancement has generated huge volumes of data, and this is set to grow exponentially and with increasing complexity as cities become smarter.

Chew Men Leong, chief marketing officer of ST Engineering said, “Data is one of the biggest opportunities, yet paradoxically, it remains a key challenge for many organisations. With the rise in advanced, smart technologies and accelerated digitalisation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is experiencing a data explosion.

“There is much-untapped potential in transforming data into timely and actionable insights that can accelerate innovation efforts towards improving customer and citizen-centric outcomes, to unlock new growth opportunities. The ability to master and leverage data analytics will be a game-changer for organisations.”

Ravinder Singh, President of ST Engineering’s Electronics sector, adds: “Organisations need to have clarity of purpose to turn insights into meaningful experiences and actions. It is vital to galvanise collaboration to empower effective data analytics adoption, and transit from strategy and planning to execution. Beyond that, they need to ensure that data is embedded in their organisation’s structural fabric, and is seamlessly connected so that the right data reaches the right people for sharper and faster decision-making.”

The study Sensemaking Maturity Index comprises insights from 800 key decision-makers from the government, security and emergency, transportation, utilities, city planning, healthcare and banking sectors across eight markets in Asia and the Middle East.

The study was conducted by Forrester Consulting from March to May this year.