SIT-Led Study Finds Limited Adoption of Data Analytics Among SMEs in Singapore

Findings reveal that 69% of SMEs have yet to adopt data analytics despite various support schemes from the Singapore government

Despite various support schemes from the Singapore government to help SMEs transform their business model into a digital one, a study jointly undertaken by the Singapore Institute of Technology, RSM Singapore and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) found that 69% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have yet to adopt data analytics.


A total of 575 SMEs, from businesses spanning commercial & professional services, engineering services, and food & beverage services, took part in the survey conducted between November 2018 and April 2020.


Survey results at a glance:
  • 34.6% of the SMEs have not adopted any data analytics in their organisations and have no intention to do so in the future.
  • They were skeptical that data analytics would generate real monetary savings for their organisations.
  • Top potential deterrents include a lack of IT infrastructure support, limited financial resources, and concern over data protection and privacy.
  • 35.1% of the SMEs surveyed are likely to embrace data analytics in the future.
  • Performance expectations, effort expectancies, management support and government support are factors that would increase their intention for implementation.
  • 30.3% of respondents have already embraced data analytics in their businesses, using varied tools from basic software such as MS Excel to sophisticated software like SAS and Tableau.
  • They saw business value in adopting data analytics to reduce their operating costs, enhance staff productivity, and to provide better customer service.
  • 72% of the SMEs surveyed did not have designated full-time staff to perform data analysis. More than 50% of the respondents reported to have outsourced this function to meet their organisations’ IT needs.
  • 45% of the respondents did not have the intention to send staff for data analytics training, due to the cost and time required.


Said Assoc Prof Koh Sze Kee, Deputy Cluster Director, Design and Specialised Businesses, SIT, “SMEs are a vital part of the economy, contributing to about half of Singapore’s GDP and two-thirds of employment. With digitalisation, it is critical for businesses to implement data analytics to place themselves in a stronger position in the market. This transformation will produce vast quantities of data that businesses can use to conduct decision-making analyses. Companies need to understand data generated and know ways to utilise advanced technologies in order to convert data into powerful business strategies.”


“To realise business value brought about by data analytics, having a supporting platform to help SMEs design a data framework to ensure seamless analyses flow is necessary,” said Associate Professor Koh. “To encourage more SMEs to implement data analytics, more needs to be done, such as sharing real-life examples on how data analytics can result in business success,” he added.


Read the full report for Data Analytics Adoption in Singapore SMEs here.