Almost 80% of UAE businesses believe data is key driver for growth

Study commissioned by Alteryx confirms the urgency in fostering a culture of analytics to achieve digital business transformation

2985

Staff Report

Alteryx revolutionising business through data science and analytics, has revealed critical challenges in the journey towards becoming a data-driven enterprise. The new Alteryx-commissioned research uncovers the benefits and impact of data analytics in digitisation projects across six of the most digitally advanced countries in the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Europe. In the United Arab Emirates, Alteryx surveyed 500 UAE businesses to understand how data and analytics are driving their businesses to thrive in this data-led world.

Abboud Ghanem

Data is permeating every part of the business and is key to success
Data insights are seen as key to delivering better customer experiences through deeper relationships and helping to propel businesses to new heights. With more than three-quarters of the UAE survey respondents (79%) agreeing that data is a critical corporate asset for driving the business forward it’s clear that businesses are taking advantage of what seems to be insurmountable data sources across industries and internal functions. When it comes to where businesses are in their analytical journey, almost two thirds (62%) of the UAE businesses class themselves in the advanced stages of their journeys. For those companies leveraging data for insights over two fifths (41%) report the major business benefit as increased productivity. Highlighting its status as one of the most advanced digital economies, nearly three quarters (70%) of the UAE businesses believe that data has become so valuable it’s equivalent to a new currency.

Businesses can’t win in analytics without the human element
As the shortage of data scientists continues to persist, businesses are asking those in analytics and line-of-business roles to do more, to know more and to answer pressing business questions with data. With digital skills classed as a major priority for businesses, over four in five (83%) agree that everything they are investing in data and analytics is useless without people who understand it. Proving that businesses simply cannot tackle the existing technical challenges in a data-driven industry without the right workforce, more than two fifths (41%) reported that it was easier to access the talent needed to manage analytics than last year, while almost one in three (32%) have a team of dedicated data scientists for all their analytics work. The trend is apparent with nearly half of (40%) the UAE businesses prioritizing a focus on employee data skills and talent to avoid being left behind as the world of data-driven analytics heats up around them.

A culture of data and analytics is needed to transform data into actionable insights, but we aren’t there yet
Companies recognise both the tremendous potential for data and the urgency in fostering a culture of analytics to achieve digital business transformation, but still point to a gap in data literacy across their organisations. In an increasingly data-driven world, over two thirds (70%) of respondents agree that data progression is also key to career progression. Many respondents (35%) noted that a culture of data and analytics will be the biggest game-changer for analytic success. However, more importantly, two fifths (40%) state they need more focus on employee skills and talent to drive transformation.

Technology can be an enabler or a constraint to data analytics success
Creating and maintaining a data literate organisation requires the right technology, people and culture in place. Proving data will always be at the forefront and one of the most important drivers of success and true digital disruption, businesses across the UAE reported the top three technology enablers having the greatest impact on their business today as data and analytics (42%), artificial intelligence/machine learning (36%) and blockchain (33%).Technology can also be a constraint to a data-driven business, so it’s crucial for organisations to continually modernize their analytic journey in order to accelerate time-to-insight and break barriers. Almost one-third of data science professionals are requesting significant investments in their data platforms and services to support a spectrum of analytic game-changers such as predictive analytics, AI/ML, R/Python and other tools to support the advancement of data and analytics in their organizations. UAE businesses anticipate the biggest technology game-changers for data analytics success within the next five years to include: self-service analytics (31%), augmented data discovery (27%) and explainable AI (27%).

Commenting on the findings of the research, Alan Jacobson, chief data and analytics officer at Alteryx, said: “The business case for analytics has truly been acknowledged. While many are still balancing data inefficiencies with the challenge of a shortage of skilled data workers, this latest research from Alteryx underscores that investing in data and analytics technology alone won’t deliver real business-altering results. In order to Digitally Transform an organization, a smart approach to delivering the right culture that can embrace the change is equally if not more important in achieving success.”

Abboud Ghanem, Senior Director – Middle East and Africa at Alteryx, added: “There is no doubt that data is key in driving business success in the minds of businesses across the UAE. Every data worker, regardless of technical acumen, wants to be able to easily find and understand what information is at their disposal; have the flexibility to prep, blend, enhance and analyse data from more sources; and easily operationalise analytic models through a collaborative and governed platform. At Alteryx, we will continue to make the Alteryx Platform easier to use for all data workers, while extending its ability to handle more sophisticated data science outcomes for trained data statisticians in order to create an analytics-centric culture across almost every industry and functional areas of business.”

The Alteryx commissioned study conducted by Censuswide mirrors common challenges associated with data uncovered in the recent Alteryx-commissioned IDC Infobrief, The State of Data Science and Analytics. Participants from businesses across EMEA reported they still struggle with error-prone, disparate data that isn’t well-governed, resulting in data workers spending a significant amount of time just searching for the right data sources to use in their analysis. The Data and Digitization Report is based on a comprehensive survey of more than 3,028 businesses across the UK, France, Germany, the UAE, Japan and Singapore. – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com