by Avanti Kumar

Unlocking insights for sustainable development in ASEAN

Jan 19, 2018
Technology Industry

Researchers around the world are in broad agreement that the size of the digital universe will double every two years at least.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Data has become the new life force that drives the world today, proclaimed SAP Southeast Asia president and managing director Claus Andresen.

Andresen said that businesses have always leveraged their company or customer information to make better, smarter, real time, fact-based decisions—from developing a new product, moving into a new market or simply redefining an old process.

“New technologies, an increasing number of connected devices, combined with better data collection tools and processes are leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available,” he said.

“Researchers around the world are in broad agreement that the size of the digital universe will double every two years at least, resulting in a 50-fold growth in this decade. Machine data is growing even more rapidly, at 50 times the growth rate. This data revolution is creating unprecedented possibilities, not only for businesses, but also for governments and the public sector to inform and transform the society, while driving positive social impact outcomes,” he added.

As the region strives to meet the United National Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Andresen believes that there is an urgent need to leverage data and analytics to unlock insight that will enable governments to design impactful, innovative solutions to societal problems.

“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is facing the same challenges posed by the data revolution and the advent of the fourth industrial revolution as the rest of the world. A rapidly changing work environment demands that our youth to be equipped with the skills they need to thrive in the new digital economy,” said Andresen.

“The region forms the world’s third largest workforce—behind only China and India—and the youngest. More than half of ASEAN’s population is under 30 years old. Southeast Asia as a region, however, still lags behind when it comes to digital infrastructure, and, in particular, human capital. The ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2020 acknowledges the need to strengthen the digital workforce as it outlines recommendations to propel the region towards secure, sustainable, and digitally-enabled economy,” he said.

However, it is not just about equipping youth with the necessary digital skills for tomorrow, but also about enabling them to design impactful, innovative solutions to societal problems.

“ASEAN will need to tap on all its stakeholders—public and private sectors, academia, and civil society -in order to overcome these foundational challenges,” said Andresen.

Partnership for sustainable development

“The inaugural data analytics competition “ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ADSE)” not only taught youth essential digital skills in harnessing the power of data but also encouraged them to focus on issues in ASEAN across six UN SDGs, namely: (1) good health and well-being, (2) quality education, (3) gender equality, (4) clean water and sanitation, (5) decent work and economic growth, and (6) sustainable cities and communities,” said Andresen.