One in Two APAC Public Sector CDOs Unclear on Responsibilities: Qlik Study

Public sector leaders must rethink tech investments and improve data literacy to seize data opportunities and innovate citizen services

April 20, 2021

[Delhi / Singapore / Sydney ] – Today, Qlik® and Omdia released findings from a new research report, which revealed that Asia Pacific (APAC) public sector organizations have yet to develop a clear understanding of the importance of data and the emerging role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) to the organization. The report found that nearly one in two APAC CDOs (47%) felt their roles lacked clarity in job definition, job execution, or both. The report also found that 75% of CDOs regretted not having invested more in data-driven initiatives before the pandemic hit, which potentially will impact their ability to use technology to develop better citizen services like public health.

The “Emergence of the Public Sector Chief Data Officer in APAC” report, prepared by research and consultancy firm Omdia and commissioned by Qlik, analyzes the state of the public sector CDO community in APAC as governments continue to adjust to a landscape disrupted by the pandemic and digital transformation. The report surveyed 103 senior public sector data executives across Australia and New Zealand, India, and Singapore and reveals the concerns, challenges and priorities of these CDOs.

CDOs call for more leadership support

APAC CDOs still face an uphill battle in convincing their organizations of the value of data. To date, less than half (44%) of APAC organizations rely on data insights when making mission-critical decisions. Almost two thirds (62%) of public sector organizations have yet to set up 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. 62% of CDOs felt leadership support is crucial in helping them perform in their role.  

Top resourcing priorities: analytics technology and data literacy

Besides organizational support, CDOs cited analytics and business intelligence technology as the top resourcing priority (73%) to enable data use within their organizations. CDOs voiced technical and strategic concerns for implementing data technology, such as integrating data, finding the right technology partner, and upskilling public sector workers. The study found data science (50%) and data policy (49%) as the most sought-after skills among public sector organizations. Besides skills, the CDOs surveyed also expressed the needs for establishing a corporate culture of using data to support decisions (71%) and a more data literate workforce (68%).

As public sector organizations in APAC reposition themselves beyond COVID-19 in the next twelve months, data initiatives will become more strategic and outcome-focused. Key priorities include improving data quality (51%), introducing new technologies (49%), and achieving a data strategy with a one-year action plan (42%).

“Public sector CDOs in APAC need to help their organizations understand the value of data and create a data-literate culture which enables employees to act on it,” added Geoff Thomas, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific at Qlik. “CDOs don’t have to go on this journey on their own. There’s a multitude of resources from the community to help public sector agencies, executives, and staff get started, including those offered by The Data Literacy Project. At the same time, technology partners can consult on the most effective data strategy to inform decision-making. APAC public sector CDOs have a real chance to apply the lessons learnt during COVID-19 to rethink how to serve citizens in new ways using data as the foundation for innovation.”

APAC public sector CDOs lag US counterparts

The public sector CDO is an emerging role within APAC organizations. Though these executives have a wealth of prior experience in the broader government sector, they are relatively new to the CDO function, with 57% of CDOs having less than two years of experience in that role. While APAC public sector organizations have yet to 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. 71% of US public sector organizations see data governance as a priority (vs 36% in APAC).

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.”

“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.

About Qlik

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.  

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