Public sector leaders must rethink tech investments and improve data literacy to seize data opportunities and innovate citizen services amidst the pandemic
Qinthara Fasya, DigitalCFO Asia | 15 July 2021
Today, Qlik® released new findings that build on its latest research report, titled “Emergence of the Public Sector Chief Data Officer in Asia Pacific”, which revealed that 80% of public sector Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in Singapore regret not having invested more in more data-driven initiatives before the pandemic hit. These initiatives can drive technology to develop better citizen services like public health and mitigate the COVID-19 crisis.
The report, prepared by research and consultancy firm Omdia and commissioned by Qlik, analyses the state of the public sector CDO community as governments continue to adjust to a landscape disrupted by the pandemic and digital transformation. It covers four Asia Pacific (APAC) countries – Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and India – and surveyed 103 senior public sector data executives to reveal the concerns, challenges and priorities of these CDOs.
CDOs in Singapore need to strengthen data governance
Although 80% of CDOs in Singapore (vs 65% in APAC) understand the value of data for making mission-critical decisions, there remains a need to further strengthen data governance across government agencies, especially amid the growing volume and complexity of data. Notably, two in five (40%) government agencies in Singapore have yet to seize the opportunity to set up a data governance body, despite its proven efficacy in building management support and broadening the awareness of data’s value in decision-making.
Top resourcing priorities: analytics technology and data literacy
Besides organizational support, CDOs in Singapore cited analytics and business intelligence technology as the top resourcing priority (80%) to enable data use within their organizations. In addition, CDOs in Singapore voiced technical and strategic concerns for implementing data technology, such as integrating data, finding the right technology partner, and upskilling public sector workers.
Data analytics (60%), data science (35%), and data policy (35%) ranked as the most sought-after skills among public sector organizations in Singapore. Besides skills, the CDOs in Singapore surveyed also expressed the need to establish a corporate culture of using data to support decisions (65%) and a more data literate workforce (55%).
As public sector organizations in Singapore reposition themselves beyond COVID-19 in the next twelve months, data initiatives will become more strategic and outcome-focused. Key priorities include improving the availability of metadata for users (50%), introducing new technologies (45%), and achieving a data strategy with a one-year action plan (45%).
Kevin Noonan, Emeritus Chief Analyst at Omdia, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has been a watershed for CDOs in APAC, prompting governments in Asia to more efficiently use data insights to create better citizen services around public health, welfare and taxation. There is a pressing need to reassess the public sector organization’s technology investment to enable a suitable strategy to meet the new normal’s emerging agility and innovation requirements. However, technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Leaders must also better define and enable the CDO role to realize data-driven decision-making.”
CDOs in Singapore lead APAC but lag US counterparts
The public sector CDO is an emerging role within organizations in Singapore. Though these executives have a wealth of prior experience in the broader government sector, there is still room for growth in defining reporting structures. For example, 35% stated that their jobs lacked clarity in job definition, job execution, or both (vs 47% in APAC). While public sector organizations in Singapore have yet to fully establish the CDO function to seize data as a business opportunity, another study commissioned by Qlik found that US public sector organizations are more advanced in developing strategies to establish a framework and standards for cross-agency data sharing, improving the efficiency of data collection, and secure sharing of protected data. As a result, 93% of US public sector organizations routinely rely on data for mission-critical decisions (vs 80% in Singapore).
“The current pandemic has unimaginably reshaped the ways of organizations, industries, and our society,” said Charlie Farah, Director of Industry Solutions for Healthcare and Public Sector at Qlik. “Qlik is committed to helping public sector agencies, executives, and staff in Singapore realize the full value of data and foster a data-literate culture to enable employees to springboard the development of innovative solutions for the public good. At the same time, technology partners can consult on the most effective data strategy to inform decision-making.”
To help shape a confident and successful data literate society, Qlik helms the world’s first data literacy open community, the Data Literacy Project, which include leaders such as Accenture and Cognizant. Qlik also offers a Data Literacy 2.0 program with comprehensive learning resources and consulting services designed to empower employees across the organization to use data effectively – regardless of role or skill.
The full report for “Emergence of the Public Sector Chief Data Officer in APAC” is available for download here.
About the report
“Emergence of the Public Sector Chief Data Officer in APAC” was commissioned by Qlik and produced independently by research and consultancy firm Omdia. The report surveyed 103 public sector data executives across Australia, India, New Zealand, and Singapore who were the most senior executive responsible for data within their government agency, regardless of job title. The research was conducted through telephone and online surveys throughout January 2021.
Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private SaaS company, Qlik provides an end-to-end, real-time data integration and analytics cloud platform to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik does business in more than 100 countries and serves over 50,000 customers around the world.