Data has emerged as key differentiator in uncertain times: Tableau India

Data has emerged as a key differentiator during these uncertain times, and this advantage is likely to last in the long-run.

Tableau Software helps people and organizations be more data-driven. Tableau helps anyone quickly analyze, visualize and share information. The analytics platform makes it easier for people to explore and manage data, and faster to discover, and share insights that can change businesses and the world.

Tableau has undertaken a study along with YouGov to explore how organisations in India and other countries in the Asia Pacific Japan region have used data during Covid-19.

The study reveals that data-driven organisations are more resilient and confident during the pandemic, compared to their non data-driven counterparts in India.


Here, Anand Ekambaram, Country Manager, Tableau Software India, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: How have organisations have used data during the pandemic?

 Anand Ekambaram: More than ever, 2020 has spotlighted the significance of data. Governments and organisations around the world have relied on data as a strategic asset to navigate this pandemic; from informing their public health response to ensuring business continuity.

A new survey by Tableau and YouGov has also revealed that 83% of data-driven companies in India have reported reaping critical business advantages during the pandemic. 

For instance, TVS Credit, which oversees over 14,000 employees spread across more than 130 locations pan-India, set up a taskforce and a data dashboard in Tableau to visualise information relating to the health and safety of their team. In doing so, they were able to quickly identify employees who required medical or financial aid.

Organisations like SatSure have leveraged data to support the agricultural sector during these challenging times. In view of disruptions to normal supply chains and concerns about food shortages, they created an Essential Supplies Exchange map to connect players in India’s agricultural supply chain and ensure the sector can continue to operate smoothly. 

DQ: What is the way forward for companies in India?

 Anand Ekambaram: Data has emerged as a key differentiator during these uncertain times, and this advantage is likely to last in the long-run. On top of reaping critical business advantages during the pandemic, more data-driven companies (76%) are optimistic about the future health of their business in the next six months, compared to non data-driven companies (37%).

However, there remains a data divide, where companies differ in their ability to leverage data as a strategic asset. 

For businesses to close this gap and benefit from a more data-driven approach, they must act now to empower their team with data and get data into the hands of their workforce.

Organisations are already sitting on a volume of valuable data, but must be able to extract actionable insights in an agile manner. When people can understand and integrate data into their everyday business processes, the organisation as a whole will be able to become more agile, and make data-driven decisions faster to gain a competitive advantage. 

DQ: How can organisations leverage the benefits of data to transform their business?

 Anand Ekambaram: Organisations can reap the benefits of data by fostering a strong data culture throughout the organisation, where all staff and decision makers are empowered to make decisions and changes based on data. 

In a truly data-driven organisation, people will use data to challenge their own assumptions and they’re open and willing to be challenged by others. This drives open discussions, where ideas lead to experiments and exploration, and action is decided by collaboration. As all of these data-driven practices become habits, company-wide perceptions change and people start to associate data with improvement, success, and growth.

When business leaders recognise the need for this cultural shift, they can then strategically map out the next steps to empower their entire workforce to be successful with data.

DQ: What is the state of data skills training in India at the end of 2020?

 Anand Ekambaram: It has been encouraging to see Indian organisations placing more importance on data skills compared to the rest of the region. India saw the highest percentage of companies who will increase their spending on data skills training (43%), above the APJ region average of 31%. But, there still is some way to go on this journey. 

 In India, there is a great focus on skills at a specialist level,such as data scientists or analysts. As we enter an era of analytics ubiquity, it will be important to extend training beyond just the core data analytics team to ensure there are enough knowledge workers within the organisation who can work with data on their own terms, without having to rely on a select group of specialists. 

DQ:  Why should Indian companies invest in data skills training for workforce of the future?

Anand Ekambaram: Data is not just the language of today, but also of the future. The acceleration of digital transformation has been accompanied by an exponential growth in data creation, which businesses must tap on to grow and remain competitive in the long-run. Organisations must prioritise the need for holistic data skills training among their workforce, to equip their team with the technical and soft skills needed to work with data. 

At the same time, employees don’t need to be data specialists to learn how to use data – every knowledge worker will benefit from being equipped with data skills to make crucial business decisions backed by insights. When organisations recognise and prioritise upskilling their workforce, they will be able to take the first step to cultivate a strong data culture and future-proof their business. 

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