Data-related struggles stifle AI adoption in Singapore

Data-related challenges are holding back AI adoption in Singapore and more than two-thirds (69%) of IT leaders in the country believe that investments in generative AI will trend up in the next two years, according to a new report from Confluent.

The report was based on a survey done by Freeform Dynamics and Radma Research with responses from 4,110 IT leaders familiar with data streaming from companies with 500 or more employees. 

These respondents are from 12 different countries including Singapore, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There were 161 respondents in Singapore.

Findings, however, also show that AI roll-out is slowed by businesses’ inability to seamlessly integrate new data sources (69%), fragmented ownership of data (68%), and insufficient skills and expertise in AI/ML management (65%). 

In facing these challenges, leaders in Singapore are on par with their peers across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. 

For instance, businesses’ inability to seamlessly integrate new data sources is a challenge for 66% leaders in the region, while 68% also struggle with fragmented ownership of data across disparate systems and 66% are troubled by insufficient skills and expertise. 

Suvig Sharma, Confluent’s area VP in ASEAN, said that companies in Singapore are limiting their growth and performance if they invest in AI but not real-time data. 

“Relevant real-time data is the fuel AI technologies need today to deliver maximum value in a timely, secure, and scalable way for organisations and their customers,” he said. “Outdated or ungoverned data is not only contributing to ineffective use of AI but also poor and unreliable business decisions.” 

In 2024, 82% of Singapore respondents see data streaming as a strategic or important priority in IT investments and more than 73% believe that data streaming platforms can mitigate their AI and data-related challenges in many situations. 

Further, 93% of respondents see data streaming platforms as critical or important to achieving data and information related goals. 

Adoption off generative AI is top of mind for many companies, including those in Singapore, but for AI models to generate accurate and relevant results, the data must be trustworthy, in the right format, and as real-time as possible. 

Data streaming enriches retrieval augmented generation (RAG)-enabled workloads with trustworthy and contextual data by tapping into a continuous stream of realtime data from systems that power the business. 

Data streaming can efficiently transform data into the right format to be used by vector databases for AI applications. 

In Singapore, 69% state investments in generative will trend up in the coming two years; followed by investments in data streaming and continuous flowing of data (59%).

Over 90% of IT leaders see data streaming platforms broaden access to different data sources to contextualise models and ensure that the data ingested meets appropriate quality standards.

Businesses in Singapore are also grappling with broader data-related challenges, such as uncertain timeliness or quality of data (68%); governance-related disjoints (65%); fragmented data ownership (62%); inconsistency of data sources (61%); and data silos (58%) within the organisation. 

As businesses learn to do more with less, proving the ROI of tech investments has become even more critical. In Singapore, 93% of IT leaders cite two to 10 times return on data streaming investments.

Data products are live, refined, fully governed, and ready-to-use data assets that are instantly discoverable, contextualised, trustworthy, and reusable for many use cases.

In Singapore, 69% cite significant benefits from embracing a data product approach, and 95% cite data products as compelling or worthwhile in enabling more confident data sharing across business units.