ANZ CDOs call for more investment in data-driven initiatives
Three-quarters of ANZ public sector chief data officers (CDOs) believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for greater investment in data-driven initiatives, while two-thirds feel the pandemic has emphasised shortfalls in their data strategy, according to a report commissioned by Qlik.
The report, prepared by research and consultancy firm Omdia, 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 surveyed 103 senior public sector data executives across Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and India to reveal the concerns, challenges and priorities of these CDOs.
The findings revealed a shared desire among CDOs to drive a cultural shift in their organisations towards more data-driven decision making and sharing, with key priorities focused on building data literacy and improving data sharing. Key priorities for ANZ CDOs over the next year include achieving a data strategy with a one-year action plan (42%) as well as improving data quality (39%). When it comes to technology, the key concern many CDOs face is the ability to analyse large volumes of data from multiple sources (58%). The study also found a discrepancy between Australian and New Zealand CDOs that plan to publish new datasets as open data. Three-quarters of New Zealand CDOs are making the commitment, while only 40% of Australian CDOs have the same goal.
However, both Australia and New Zealand are aligned in their belief in the need for a corporate culture of using data to support decisions, with 79% of ANZ CDOs agreeing on this and 67% of ANZ CDOs highlighting the need for a more data-literate workforce. However, the report revealed that CDOs are facing an uphill battle in convincing their organisations of the value of data, with only 63% of ANZ public sector organisations relying on data insights when making mission-critical decisions. Meanwhile, 67% have yet to establish a data governance body, despite proof that such a body can build management support and broader awareness of the value of data in decision making. Additionally, 50% of New Zealand CDOs believe leadership support is crucial in helping them perform in their role, compared with 68% of Australian CDOs.
Charlie Farah, Director of Industry Solutions for Healthcare and Public Sector at Qlik, noted that while the pandemic has reinforced the view that data is critical to decision making, establishing a robust data pipeline with governance structures takes work, and there is still some way to go in convincing senior leadership of the value of data. “Public sector CDOs have a real opportunity to take the lessons learnt during COVID-19 to re-evaluate how to serve citizens in new ways using data as the foundation. Cross-agency data sharing and promoting high rates of data literacy will be pivotal to achieving this,” said Farah.
While ANZ public sector organisations are yet to fully establish the CDO function to seize data as a business opportunity, another study commissioned by Qlik found that US public sector organisations are more advanced in developing strategies to establish a framework and standards for cross-agency data sharing, improving the efficiency of data collection and sharing protected data securely. 71% of US public sector organisations see data governance as a priority, ahead of 52% in ANZ.
Kevin Noonan, Emeritus Chief Analyst at Omdia, described the pandemic as a watershed for CDOs in APAC that has prompted governments in Asia to use data more efficiently to generate insights to create better citizen services around public health, welfare and taxation. “There is a pressing need to reassess the public sector organisation’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 realise data-driven decision making,” said Noonan.
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