Singapore is a global laggard when it comes to data sophistication

Despite the importance of data skills in driving business results, many companies in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) lack adequate training for their employees. This is a major point of contention for APJ decision makers and core staff interviewed by Forrester and Tableau in a recent study.

Nearly 80% of decision makers in the region (78% in Singapore) believe that their department is successful in providing critical data skills to its employees. However, just 40% of regional employees (and only 37% of Singaporean employees) agree that their organization provides adequate training.

This discrepancy indicates that there is a disconnect between what decision makers think is happening and what is actually happening. Businesses need to take steps to close this gap and ensure their employees have the data skills they need to succeed.

Singapore companies place a high value on data skills. 91% of decision makers expect employees in all departments to be proficient in basic data, including product, marketing, and sales. This figure is higher than the global average of 86%.

This expectation is driven by the fact that data skills are considered essential to personal and organizational success. Nearly 70% of employees in Asia Pacific and Japan (66% in Singapore) are expected to use data heavily in their work by 2025, up from 38% (Singapore employees: 36%) in 2018.

However, despite recognizing the importance of data skills, many businesses in the region are not investing in training their employees. Only 28% of companies in Singapore offer data training to all employees, the lowest rate of any market surveyed internationally.

Furthermore, only 35% of employees surveyed in Singapore believe that their organization has equipped them with the data skills they need. And when they do receive training, it’s often for traditional data jobs like analytics and data science.

According to Forrester, small investments in training today can pay off big time. By improving the data skills of their employees, companies can improve performance, customer and employee satisfaction, and staff retention.

Employers know that data-savvy employees make better decisions faster while being more productive and innovative. In Singapore, 86% of employees believe they make better decisions and 81% make faster decisions when using data.

“We have seen a 96x return on our data investments. Data literacy is more of a journey than a destination. Celebrate your victories along the way, but always seek to improve. The value of data is the existential: the existence of your business,” said Clive Benford, Chief Data Officer at Jaguar Land Rover. “If you don’t become a data-driven company, I don’t think you’ll be here in 20 years. The long-term value is existence.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Airubon

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