Bosses in APAC struggle to walk the data talk 

Business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan (APJ) are struggling to put data into practice to quickly make strategic business decisions and navigate economic uncertainties because they can’t make sense of it.

This is according to Salesforce’s Untapped Data Research report, which a new survey of 4,295 business leaders in the region, including 1,102 in Singapore.

Regional respondents are part of a total sample size of 9,837 that Salesforce surveyed in September 2022 in partnership with YouGov. 

Companies in APJ see value in using data to drive business decisions, especially in times of uncertainty.

Today, 81% of business leaders in the region say data is critical in decision-making at their organisation and 73% agree that data helps reduce uncertainty and make more accurate decisions in business conversations.

While companies agree about the advantages of using data, there’s a clear disconnect from how they’re actually using it in practice. 

For example, a majority of companies aren’t actually using their data to make critical business decisions.

Nearly seven in 10 (69%) business leaders are not using data to decide on pricing in line with economic conditions, such as inflation.

Only 30% are using data to inform their strategy when launching in new markets.

There are also missed opportunities for companies to use their data to drive company values. More than three-quarters (77%) of business leaders are not using data to inform their organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies.

Only 18% of business leaders are using data to help guide their climate targets.

When integrated and leveraged correctly, data has huge potential to build efficiency and trust among both customers and employees.

Among business leaders, 71% think data keeps people focused on the things that matter and that are relevant to the business.

Three-quarters (75%) agree data helps accelerate decision-making and 72% believe that data builds trust in business conversations while 67% think that data helps minimise the influence of personal opinions or egos in a business conversation.

Business leaders in APJ report being paralysed by the influx of data, their knowledge of how to best operationalise it, and how to use it to invest strategically going forward.

Two-fifths (41%) of business leaders cite a lack of understanding of data because it is too complex or not accessible enough and 36% cite the lack of ability to generate insights from data while 29% is overwhelmed by the amount of data, which is expected to more than double in size by 2026.

To address these concerns, 74% of companies in the region are planning to continue or increase spending on data skills development and training for employees.

Data literacy training for employees can establish a data culture that supports business goals and improves resilience during the tough economic climate.

“Good decisions start with data,” said JY Pook, SVP and general manager, Asia Pacific, Tableau at Salesforce. “As inflation and growing challenges in the external environment cast a dark shadow over markets, our research has shown how data-driven organisations are in a better position to drive smarter, faster decisions to solve today’s most pressing challenges.”