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Singapore organisations not paying heed to data veracity

Most Singapore respondents in a global Accenture survey said they have not invested in capabilities to verify data used in decision-making

With 93% of organisations in Singapore using data for critical and automated decision-making, it has never been more important to ensure the veracity of such data.

This was one of the key insights from the Tech Vision 2018 survey by IT consultancy Accenture, which found that 87% of Singapore respondents have not invested in capabilities to verify data before using it to make decisions. This compares with 79% globally.

During a media briefing last week, Sam Liew, managing director of Accenture Technology in ASEAN, emphasised the importance of data validation, without which organisations would run the risk of using inaccurate data to make decisions.

Liew also noted that artificial intelligence (AI) applications that learn from “bad data” could have dire consequences in industry and society.

Fermin Diez, an adjunct professor at Singapore Management University, said companies can ascertain the accuracy of data through statistical measures, such as means and standard deviation. Data can also be tested in different ways to check for outliers and consistency in data sets, he added.

Singapore’s data protection laws already require organisations to make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy and completeness of personal data.

Although consumers are responsible for providing accurate data, Diez said organisations often end up with bad data despite efforts to clean it up.

But bad data is not always useless, said Diez. “Bad data can give you a sense of where things are, but you must know what went wrong,” he said. “Organisations can still gather helpful insights, with knowledge of the data’s limitations.”

Besides data veracity, Accenture’s survey underscored the growing adoption of AI, which many Singaporean organisations are planning to deploy over the next two years, mostly in operations (62%) and customer support (52%).

Also, 93% of survey respondents in Singapore said it is important to leverage virtual, augmented and mixed reality to close the physical gap with customers in areas such as consumer experience, product development, brand promotion and data visualisation.

Read more about data analytics and AI in ASEAN

  • Forward-looking organisations in ASEAN are embracing AI, but uneven access to connectivity and a lack of skills and understanding of the technology are holding back wider adoption.
  • Financial institutions in the APAC region fear they may be left behind if they don’t embrace big data.
  • Enterprises need to figure out the business problems they are trying to solve and foster a data-driven culture to benefit from data analytics.
  • Singapore is looking to shore up its expertise in data analytics and cyber security as part of efforts to build strong digital capabilities in its economy.

But organisations’ success in harnessing data and technology will depend on the strength of their partnerships with stakeholders, said Liew.

“As Singapore businesses develop new partnerships with customers, employees and business collaborators, they will build greater trust and further integrate themselves into society and, importantly, help fuel growth,” he said.

More than 6,300 IT and business executives from 25 countries took part in Accenture’s survey, 60 of them from Singapore.

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