Big data adoption in APAC hindered by internal barriers

9 in 10 cite their own company as the main roadblock, with more than half of respondents having made little or no progress in their big data strategies in 2013, according to Economist Intelligence Unit's study.

More than half of businesses surveyed in Asia-Pacific have made limited progress in harnessing the power of big data, according to a study by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The main obstacle, according to 91 percent of respondents in the survey, were factors in their own company.

"Communication problems appear to be a root cause of slow adoption, with the presence of information silos and an inability to share data inhibiting firms from benefitting from big data ," said EIU in its report. The study, The hype and the hope: The road to big data adoption in Asia-Pacific, was sponsored by Hitachi Data Systems, and polled over 500 executives across Asia-Pacific from a range of industries and functions.

The biggest challenges cited were a lack of suitable software (42 percent) and a lack of skills (40 percent). The next largest obstacles were unwillingness to share data and a lack of communication between departments at 36 percent each.

big data
Big date adoption in APAC is hindered by internal barriers. (source: EIU)

The silo problem was especially acute in Singapore and Malaysia, pointed out EIU. Companies slow to adopt big data also tend to be poor in communicating to employees their big data strategies, according to the study. "In fact, over 40 percent of respondents were either not sure whether their company had a big data strategy or it had been poorly communicated to them," said EIU.

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The problem of poor communication appeared to be especially prevalent for frontline managers. Twice as many of them versus senior executives believe their firm's big data strategy had not been well communicated, with 81 percent saying they were unable to access critical data resources.

Despite a lack of progress in adopting big data strategies in Asia-Pacific, 45 percent of respondents felt that they could increase revenues by 25 percent or more by using data to improve decision-making and understand their customers better.

The report also shows that leading economies in the region lagged behind in using big data, at least according to its sample's demographics mainly from Singapore, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, China and Australia. In Singapore , 47 percent of respondents said they had no big data strategy, followed by Australia (31 percent), and China (42 percent).