Asean firms adopting analytics, but struggle with data integration

Some 96 percent of Asean companies say they are "committed to" the adoption of analytics, but 73 percent confess they still struggle with data integration.

The majority of businesses in the Asean region believe in the potential of analytics but admit they are still struggling with integrating these tools into their existing infrastructure. 

According to a survey conducted by Accenture, 96 percent of Asean organizations "are committed" to the adoption of analytics or fact-based decision-making, compared to 86 percent of their counterparts in the U.K. and 85 percent in the U.S. who said likewise.

In its question about "commitment", Accenture said this included considerations regarding investments in tools and software, talent recruitment and training, and expected returns on investment. The study polled 1,000 executives from businesses with over 1,000 employees from the U.S., U.K., and Asean, the latter of which comprised 400 respondents. 

Asean executives said analytics were integrated into their decision-making process in business functions, focusing on growth areas. Some 89 percent said they tapped analytics to evaluate new market opportunities, while 87 percent said they did likewise for new products and services. 

While they expressed commitment to such tools, 89 percent of Asean executives admitted analytics had yet to be fully integrated across their organization, with 73 percent pointing to data integration as a key challenge. Another 67 percent said they struggled to measure outcomes, where they found it difficult to identify connections between the collection and analysis of data as well as the need to establish actions or outcomes from this. 

They added that their company's analytics initiatives often were unorganized and remained in silos, contained within individual business units, rather than implemented across enterprise-wide. They expected this to remain unchanged over the next year. 

Nils Michaelis, Accenture's Asean managing director for analytics, said in the report released Wednesday: "Effective analytics programmes are built on three key success factors... First is to establish top management commitment and disciplined processes that ensure valuable insights and clear recommendations are being generated, acted on, and measured for effectiveness. Next, companies should use a 'build, buy, and partner' strategy to source skills, given the supply constraints. Finally, they must apply technology that ensures data integrity, quality and accessibility."

Sourcing for the right skills, though, is also proving to be a challenge for Asean companies, 68 percent said they relied on outsourced managed services to plug the shortage of analytics professionals, while another 66 percent looked to invest in tools and software. 

Nonetheless, 62 percent of Asean respondents said they had a designated person overseeing their data management strategy.  

Michaelis noted: "As simple as it may sound, having the right people, focused on the right set of problems, is one of the most important components of an effective analytical capability. The biggest talent imperative for Asean companies is to establish a future-oriented sourcing strategy and structure for accessing scarce skills. Increasingly, this sourcing strategy will have to include the ability to scour the globe for the necessary talent and integrating them into the organization."