In a bid to explore how organisations in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) have used data during Covid-19, a study conducted by Tableau Software, along with YouGov has revealed that data-driven companies in India are more resilient and confident during the pandemic, in comparison with non-data-driven firms.
According to the study, a whopping 83 % of data-driven companies in India reported reaping critical business advantages during the pandemic. The survey said that being data-driven delivers multiple and vast benefits to businesses, including more effective communication with stakeholders (62%); making strategic business decisions faster (58%); increasing cross-team collaboration (56%) and making their business more agile (48%). Being data-driven is also fuelling optimism in uncertain times as more data-driven companies (76%) are optimistic about the future health of their business in the next six months than the non-data-driven ones (37%).
On the contrary, non-data-driven companies are slower to grasp the importance of data as they navigate through the pandemic, with only 45% of them seeing it as a critical advantage, told the survey. This demonstrates that there remains a disconnect in how businesses value and use data, and the potential for organisations to benefit from a more data-driven approach, it stressed.
“Data is emerging as a differentiator in the uncertain environment of 2020. While businesses in India continue to weather the pandemic, the survey points to a ‘data divide’ where organisations differ in their ability to leverage data as a strategic asset. This divide will only continue growing if businesses in India don’t act now to empower people with data and make their existing asset actionable. Going into 2021, businesses need to view data culture as a must-have as they navigate through the pandemic and seek out growth,” said Anand Ekambaram, Country Manager, Tableau India.
Data-driven companies will continue to place importance on investment in data skills – 86% of data-driven organisations in India are eager to increase or continue their existing level of investment over the next six months – the highest in the region. However, 26% of non-data driven organisations opted to either reduce or not invest in data skills at all.
Across all survey respondents, the top lessons learnt from the pandemic include the need for data transparency (53%) and better data quality (52%), followed by investment in data skills (47%).
Sarajit Jha, Chief Business Transformation and Digital Solutions Office, Tata Steel, said: “What gets measured gets done and if I may add, what gets measured and reported gets improved. Our data and visualization-driven strategy enabled us to create a single version of truth in critical areas like cash flow, inventory, delivery lead times besides operations, that drove our ability to stay close to customers, run our operations and simultaneously drive improvement across multiple fronts.”
Commenting on the importance of data skills, Lakshmi Narayana, User Group Ambassador, Tableau said, “In my career in data, I’ve found that understanding data and integrating it into everything we do as a business is imperative as we now enter the data era. If every individual is given the empowerment and training to develop their data skills, it will allow your organisation to make decisions faster and stand out in a competitive landscape.”
India saw the highest percentage of companies that will increase their spending on data skills training (43%), above the APJ region average of 31%. Across APJ, only 62% of business leaders classify themselves as being data-driven, while close to one third (34%) believe their businesses are not. Singapore companies take the lead with the highest proportion of data-driven organisations (67%), followed closely by India (66%), while Japan lags in the region (51%).
The results point to an opportunity for more businesses to harness data to support business resilience and decision-making, now and in the post-pandemic world.