The field of data science is still nascent in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region as it is hampered by skills shortage.
According to a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting for Booz Allen Hamilton, it will take a significant amount of time and resources for many companies in the region to grow data science in their organisations.
While data maturity varies in firms, most of them have just started their data science journey. In fact, the study revealed that the majority of the polled companies have only been practising data science for three to five years.
More than a third of organisations (34 percent) included skills shortage as one of the top three challenges in executing their data strategy. This is found to be far more prevalent in less mature companies.
The study titled "The Formula For Growth: Turn Insights Into Action With Data Science How Asia Pacific Firms Are Creating Growth And How You Can Join Them" polled IT and business decision makers from more than 200 organisations in Australia, China, Singapore, and South Korea.
Australia leading the pack on data maturity
The survey revealed that Australia is the leader of data science in the region. In fact, 35 percent of organisations in the country rated themselves as very mature in terms of data.
Australia was also the most mature country for every type of analytics technique. Organisations in the country were most likely to use data analytics to create new revenues and efficiencies through data monetisation, develop new products, do predictive maintenance, and manage risk.
Meanwhile, only 15 percent of firms in South Korea considered themselves as very mature on data, while 21 percent of businesses in Singapore rated themselves as immature.
Improving data science maturity
The study listed four steps that businesses can follow to accelerate their data science maturity:
1. Including data science in the business strategy
The survey found that very mature organisations in the region are far more likely to include their data science as an extension of IT, which is not seen in other regions.
However, more successful teams in the region still work under IT, which can be attributed to the nascence of data science in the region. The study said that by keeping data science in IT or a subset of business intelligence, firms are limiting the amount of analytics insights that can help change them.
As such, organisations should prioritise data science in their business strategy.
2. Improving access to quality data
The study identified not having access to quality data at the right time as the top challenge hindering organisations in the region to improve their data science maturity.
Businesses must thus break down siloes, centralise data, and make data available without the authorisation from the IT to use it.
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