ANZ State of BI & Analytics Report 2020
Special COVID-19 Edition

Introduction

More than ever, companies across Australia and New Zealand are leaning on data analytics to help drive better decision-making and strengthen their businesses against the current volatile economic landscape.

In the wake of COVID-19, Sisense surveyed 460 data professionals in the ANZ region to discover how their use of data analytics has shifted due to the current pandemic. Our survey, which includes local respondents from companies of varying sizes and across a diverse set of industries, offers some fresh insights into the broader business impact of COVID-19.

From a macro level, the results reinforce how critical analytics are to businesses across Australia and New Zealand during times of crisis. In fact, 67% of respondents view BI and analytics programs as more or much more important to business operations now than before the pandemic. The results also demonstrate that marketing, operations, finance and HR are making the biggest inroads in their use of analytics and employing business intelligence to inform decision-making. 

Most importantly, this survey demonstrates that data professionals across the region remain positive about business growth, and that there are many opportunities to leverage data analytics to drive efficiency, identify new revenue streams, reduce costs and better predict changes and outcomes.

Executive Summary

In June, Sisense surveyed 460 Australian and New Zealand data professionals and business executives, across different industries and roles, to uncover the impact of COVID-19 on the day-to-day workflow and business challenges of BI and analytics professionals. 

Key takeaways

  1. Data professionals were asked for their business outlook, with the majority aiming to stay afloat over the next six months (47%), however in a positive response to uncertainty, nearly a third (29%) are looking to scale and grow.

  2. 67% of respondents said BI and analytics programs are more important or much more important to their daily operations today, and 55% of companies are using data sources, analytics and dashboards more often or much more often than before COVID-19.

  3. From a budgeting perspective, 78% will either maintain or increase spend on BI/data analytics initiatives, including software, tools, time, and team members, in the near future.

  4. Transformation is top of mind, with 79% of respondents confirming they are either very likely or somewhat likely to replatform and migrate to the cloud as a result of COVID-19.

  5. Nearly all organisations (99.5%) are developing new use cases for data to maintain business continuity. 47% are using data to improve efficiency, 40% to identify new revenue streams, 29% to optimise supply chains and 29% to reduce expenses.

  6. Marketing is leading the charge, with more than 50% of organisations reporting the marketing department is currently performing analytics or employing BI solutions, followed by operations (40%), finance (33%), and HR (31%). 40% of respondents also pointed to marketing as the department to be adding BI and analytics solutions as a result of COVID-19.

BI and analytics professionals in ANZ remain cautiously positive

Data professionals within the ANZ region are optimistic about business stability despite the pandemic, with 47% looking to stay afloat over the next six months and nearly a third (29%) are looking to scale and grow. Only 22% are cutting back over the next six months. 

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

Analytics are increasingly critical during times of crisis

At a time of business and economic uncertainty, organisations across Australia and New Zealand are seeing BI and analytics programs as a key pillar to support better business decision-making. Compared to before COVID-19, 67% of respondents said BI and analytics programs are more important or much more important to their daily operations today. Only 2% felt it was much less important.

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

Other key findings include:

  • Resources to manage data: 68% of respondents report that they feel their business is properly resourced for the increased need for data-driven insights.
  • Increased use of data: 55% of companies use data sources, analytics and dashboards more often or much more often than before COVID-19.
State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

Data spend is either being maintained or increased

Organisations are recognising cutting back on data and analytics at this time would have a detrimental impact on business decision-making and the cloud is emerging as a key tool for future business operations.

From a budgeting perspective, 77% will either maintain or increase spend on BI and data analytics initiatives, with 55% maintaining current spend and 22% are increasing their budgets at this time. 

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

Other results show: 

  • 68% of businesses are confident they have the right resources (software, tools, team members, time)
  • Only 19% are cutting back on their data analytics budget

Identifying key business challenges during COVID-19

While the opportunities reflect businesses remain optimistic, survey responses also surfaced common challenges that businesses in the ANZ region are facing. Over 30% identified workforce issues and new ways of working a central challenge, including working remotely, managing employee wellbeing and recruitment issues.

  • Over 30% of respondents see workforce issues and new ways of working a challenge during COVID-19
  • 12% of respondents find adapting to shifts in the economy, market, driving revenue and managing cashflow challenging as a result of the pandemic
State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

What are the biggest challenges you faced in your day-to-day work as a result of COVID-19?

  • “By far the biggest challenge businesses are facing is setting up and managing a remote workforce. Most have had to adapt quickly to a new way of working they have not done before.”
  • “The challenges are complex:
    -Adapting to the new needs of our clients.
    -Face the changes in the work coexistence.
    -To transfer a large part of our staff to work from their homes.”
  • “The biggest challenge will be to return to pre-pandemic production levels and this will require heavy investment.”
  • “The biggest challenge we face is adapting our infrastructure so that our employees work remotely and can have more accessible and dynamic work schedules.”
  • “The biggest challenge we face is to adapt to the new reality and a low consumer market, our marketing strategies and promotions will have to be modified to cope with the recession.”

Transformation is top of mind

The pandemic has pushed business transformation top of mind, with 79% of businesses surveyed saying they are somewhat likely or very likely to consider re-platforming to the cloud following COVID-19.

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

A range of new use cases to help overcome challenges due to COVID-19

COVID-19 is also influencing an expansion of new data use cases, as businesses in the region, with nearly all organisations (99.5%) developing new use cases for data to maintain business continuity.

Companies across ANZ are now using their data for a range of new use cases as a result of COVID-19, with 47% using data to improve efficiency, 40% to identify new revenue streams, 29% to optimise supply chains and 29% to reduce expenses. These are the four fastest-growing use cases, and these use cases are expanding regardless of company size.

These use cases aim to solve some of the recent challenges arising from COVID-19, as new ways of working and restructures are placing pressure on companies to become more efficient, changing customer habits require companies to adjust to their new needs, and companies of all sizes look towards identifying financial waste and reducing costs.

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

Identifying new business opportunities

Businesses on the whole see a lot of opportunity to transform coming out of COVID-19, mainly relating to driving efficiency, technological innovation, remote working solutions, and healthcare optimisation.

  • 33% mention that the potential of the post COVID-19 global situation will create new growth opportunities.
  • Industries refocusing their business: Industrial/Manufacturing, Healthcare, Technology, Logistics/Supply Chain and Retail companies are all using this as an opportunity to refocus their business models or their resource planning.
State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

What new business opportunities have you encountered as a result of COVID-19?

  • “We have the opportunity to innovate and change our labor matrix to adapt to the new post-pandemic reality.”
  • “The crisis brought new opportunities to organise our company based on remote work, until this year we only had 20% of our staff working remotely from home, we hope to exceed 70% by the end of the quarantine and keep that way of working will be the best.”
  • “Many companies have fallen in the middle of the pandemic, we have the opportunity to innovate to make our services more attractive and accessible."
  • “Noticed huge potential on remote working tools which avoids isolation and promotes socialising with everyone maintaining an active working environment."
  • “Unmanned pickup and robot delivery will be our key development direction in the future."
  • “The pandemic has allowed us to accelerate the digitisation and automation of many processes."

Marketing is leading the charge

Marketing is leading the charge, with more than 50% of organisations in Australia and New Zealand reporting the marketing department is currently performing analytics or employing BI solutions. This was followed by operations (40%), finance (33%) and HR (31%).

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

40% of Respondents also pointed to marketing as the department to be using additional BI and analytics solutions as a result of COVID-19, followed by finance (30%) and HR (27%).

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

However, only 12% cited sales as performing analytics or employing BI solutions. This reflects a growing gap between the frequency and depth data analytics and business intelligence is leveraged across the marketing department, versus the sales function within organisations across the region.


Methodology

The survey responses were divided by industry and company size, as well as by respondent role and seniority.

State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ
State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 ANZ

The ANZ State of BI & Analytics Report 2020 is an inaugural regional research study from Sisense. Plans are to field future surveys and accompanying reports. 

If you’re interested in learning how Sisense can help your business with analytics, contact us.

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