Why should data analytics be a priority for Hong Kong business leaders

By Robert Half 1 November 2019

Globalisation, new innovations, and rapidly changing demographics are causing huge shifts in the business world, in every area and every industry.

One of the hallmark trends of business transformation is the continued rise and influence of data analytics.

Multinational companies are continuing to choose Hong Kong to store their data, with the city-state’s location as an international investment hub making it an ideal destination.

For many businesses today, not taking advantage of the mass amounts of data insights being generated every day are going to fall behind the companies that do.

And the leaders behind and within these businesses need to be in a prime position to leverage the power of data through fostering opportunities where such insights can directly impact a company’s bottom line.

Why should business leaders take advantage of the power of data?

According to Gartner Data and Analytics, data will “have an even bigger impact on society in the next twenty years than the Internet did in the last twenty.”

Today’s business world is more heavily driven by information than ever before; a result of the amount of data that business leaders have at their fingertips through advancements in software and customer acquisition systems. And thanks to new innovations in data analytics - like the application of artificial intelligence to big data sets - decision-makers are able to see emerging trends and patterns quickly and accurately.

Business leaders who take advantage of data can see:

  • Increase profits
  • Reduce costs
  • Deliver better products and services
  • Better manage customer relationships
  • More accurately forecast trends
  • Streamline decision-making
  • Improve the efficiency of existing operational processes

And as powerful as each of these can be, it’s a limited list of what data can do in the right hands. Information is power, and that’s even more true today, particularly as data analytics is increasingly used to drive innovation and create value.

Essentially, data can, and should, inform the decision-making process by business leaders, particularly those at an executive level.

The role of data analytics

While data analytics was once purely the realm of those working in IT, over the last decade, data analytics has become the domain of just about everyone. It is as likely to be relied upon by marketing departments and client relationship managers as it is by informatics teams, and just as niche and specialised as the teams that use it.

But while these departments can be relied upon for data and advice, it’s important that business leaders themselves are also able to recognise where specific data comes from, how to use it, and to what effect.

The role of data in business is to support decision-making. But data alone is simply a resource; it takes strong, strategic leadership to take advantage of its insights. This is the conclusion of a report by McKinsey Digital: data analytics is only going to have a positive impact on revenues, margins, and organisational efficiencies with the buy-in of senior leadership.

What does senior leadership support actually look like?

According to the same McKinsey Digital report, companies that report good results from their analytics projects tend to have:

  • Secured internal leadership for analytics projects
  • Designed effective organisational structures in order to support analytics projects
  • Made data accessible to different business functions
  • Constructed a strategy around insights from analytics
  • Prioritise investment in data activities

But perhaps most importantly, have secured senior management involvement in data and analytics activities.

By becoming literate in the language of data, and by learning to understand where the data are coming from and what to do with them, leaders that make data projects a priority within the business can expect a competitive advantage, increased efficiencies and innovations, and more effective, streamlined decision-making processes than ever before.

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