Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

  • Data more important for financial success in APAC than in other regions
  • Data analysis is just slightly more likely among the data leaders
Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

MANY businesses all over the world are building a company-wide, data-driven culture to fully leverage the possibilities of data and analytics. Leading companies have already demonstrated how data and analytics to better gain insights into market trends, business operations, sales forecast, resource allocation, and so on, according to Tableau Software.
 
Also, senior executives are increasingly getting involved in their organisations’ internal drives toward data cultures as they believe this is crucial for business and profitability, the company said in a statement, citing the August 2013 Bullish on digital: McKinsey Global Survey results.
 
Generally, business cultures in many Asia Pacific markets can be very different from what those in the rest of the world, as well as western business practices, Tableau Software said.
 
For instance, most businesses in China are governed more hierarchically compared with European or US companies. Japanese firms commonly assume a more family-like focus and strive first to take care of their employees. Asian businessmen also emphasise much more on networks and relationships.

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The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) attempted to throw some light on the question of whether there is a big difference between Asia Pacific and the rest of the world when it comes to data-driven cultures in business organisations.
 
Supported by Tableau Software, EIU ran a survey which involved 530 senior executives globally, and interviews with industry-leading experts.
 
The findings:
 
1) Use of data is more important for financial success in APAC than it is in all other regions
 
Everyone knows by now that financial success strongly correlates with data use. The thing is, the correlation between these two is far stronger in Asia Pacific compared to other parts of the world, Tableau Software said.
 
In Asia Pacific, 35% of data-driven businesses outperformed peers versus 15% who reported performance that was ‘on par’ or behind. Compare that with other regions: Just 23% of the data leaders were ahead financially versus 20% of the others.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

2) The data driven and data dithering have remarkable similarities
 
In Asia Pacific, those who use data well and those who do not have remarkable similarities. These include the same portion of employees who understand data.
 
That is, 42% of data leaders in Asia Pacific and 42% of the followers reported that most employees understood data.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

The effect of job importance was also very close: 34% of leaders in Asia Pacific reported increased importance of their own job versus 29% among others. Other regions had similar results for both questions.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

3) Data analysis is just slightly more likely among the data leaders
 
You may expect that businesses with a strong data-driven culture would have more people doing data analysis. The fact is, data analysis is only slightly more prevalent in data-driven organisations – 32% of the leaders say ‘most’ employees analyse data versus 24% among the dithering.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

4) Among the driven, most people get to use the data. Among the dithering, it’s the data scientists
 
Within data-driven organisations, a large portion (29%) of workers has access to data, while among the laggards, access is much less common at 12%.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

5) Easy-to-use tools can’t bring a data-driven culture to life – but overly complex tools can kill it
 
Too many technology buyers put the needs of backroom data managers higher than users’ needs. This appears to be more of a serious mistake in for companies in this region based on the findings.
 
Software that is ‘complex and difficult to use’ was one of the main causes of failure to make use of data among the ditherers. A total of 45% of Asia Pacific ditherers listed it as a reason for their failure versus 32% in other regions.

Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

6) Leadership and strategy make all the difference
 
Asia Pacific respondents were emphatic: Leaders and laggards both cited leadership in the three most selected methods for instilling a data-driven culture. In otherwise equal organisations, there is simply no substitute.

  • 68% cited executive guidance and mandates as successful strategy for promoting a data-driven culture – by far the most selected strategy.
  • 68% cited strategy as a reason for leadership
Seven facts about data-driven cultures in APAC

7) APAC aligns with the experts: the competitive edge comes with leadership
 
Experts in academia and business agree that leadership is the single most important element in cultural transformation, such as when organisations adopt data-driven cultures.
 
The Asia Pacific region knows it too. Its appreciation of leadership gives it an edge over other regions. Tableau Software said.
 
In this region, 68% of respondents cited executive guidance and mandates as a proven method for promoting a data-driven culture – far more than the 46% among other regions.
 
Evidently, there are major differences in the Asia Pacific data-driven cultures. Business leaders should take these learnings into consideration when planning their internal drives towards a data culture, Tableau Software said.
 
As with all business transformations, execution may be the hardest part. Even when business leaders have got their visions right, and a good set of plans have been drawn up, it may still be tough to change habits and processes.
 
They need to be aware that a gameplan that has gotten success in other parts of the world may not get the same results here.
 
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