How Singapore SMEs use data analytics to make smarter business decisions

Pooja Khandelwal
Pooja Khandelwal


While Singapore is arguably Asia’s technology capital, not enough SMEs are using technology to their advantage. Particularly, in terms of data analytics. A study conducted by Microsoft last year revealed that only 9% of local SMEs are using data analytics to forward their business. But it looks like things are about to change.

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Why data analytics?
How Singapore SMEs see digital transformation and data analytics

If Singapore SMEs can capture and harness this data, it will instantly lead them to achieve higher profits. Unfortunately, not many SMEs are unlocking the potential of data analytics, or even digital transformation for that matter.

Why data analytics?

Data analytics is a process where data is interpreted using modern systems and software to draw conclusions about the information.

There are a lot of reasons why small business owners should care about data analytics. For one, it helps business leaders make better-informed decisions. Machine learning has also evolved to make hyper-personalisation possible, thereby improving the overall customer experience. And due to its real-time capabilities, data analytics also enables businesses to make on-the-spot decisions — a necessity for certain industries.

These benefits are just scratching the surface. When used properly, data analytics can be harnessed to:

  • Create a more effective online presence
  • Improve future products
  • Track which products are popular versus which ones aren’t
  • Help lower costs
  • Grow profits over time

To put it simply, data analytics is the new currency for success in today’s world. (And we say “data analytics” and not just “data,” because not all data is made equal.) The catch is data analytics often requires businesses to digitalise their operations in order to reap the benefits, and unfortunately, not many Singapore SMEs are even aware of the fact that digitalisation is a thing.

How Singapore SMEs see digital transformation and data analytics

In 2018, Microsoft surveyed 1,057 business owners and IT decision-makers in Singapore from 23 different industries to create the SME Digital Transformation Study. According to that study, only 57% of Singapore SMEs have heard of the term “digital transformation.” And among those who are aware of the term, 44% didn’t have any digital transformation strategies in place. The top two most cited barriers to adoption included the perceived high cost and difficulties to integrate into existing processes.

The good news though, is that those who are already actively embracing digital transformation will expect to see average revenue gains of 26%.

Among the SMEs surveyed, 56% said they have already implemented strategies for digital transformation. In contrast, when it comes to more advanced technologies like data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and machine learning, only 9% of SMEs are currently adopting them.

Interestingly enough, there is an emerging group of SMEs (29%) with 20 to 99 employees planning to adopt advanced analytics within the next 12 months.

In contrast, 98% of mid- to large-sized businesses in Singapore have already unlocked the potential of digital transformation and have ambitious plans to invest in predictive analytics and AI. One conclusion that can be drawn here is that larger businesses in Singapore are more likely to leverage big data and advanced analytics as compared with smaller businesses.

While Singapore SMEs face several barriers to adoption, they acknowledge that the benefits outweigh the challenges. is a property search portal in Singapore that helps users make better renting and buying decisions. Data analysis and insights help their engineering team to improve their product roadmap. They use reports and metrics to understand cohort retention, trend analysis, transaction synthesising, to retain customers. Guided by a single source of truth, data analysis helps their team generate new ideas for untapped opportunities. Since harnessing data analytics, has been able to provide a 50% improvement in the quality and quantity of their listings in “high-demand and high-impact areas.”


ShopBack is an online cashback shopping website that rewards customers for shopping at over 1,000 partner stores including Taobao and Expedia. Their marketing team actively tracks data to make business decisions. For example, before launching a new campaign, they need to know the impact of their marketing campaigns on new user sign-ups and cashback transactions. Using data analytics, they track new user registrations and cashback redeemed by product or merchant. This makes it easy for them to collaborate and plan their business strategies, and confidently substantiate the effectiveness of their campaigns using data, helping them to discover new growth trends.


Chope is a dining platform that operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta, and Bali. Approximately 3,000 restaurant partners and 1.5 million people use Chope’s websites and applications to discover restaurants, make bookings, and fine dining deals. The business team uses machine learning models to improve search and personalisation capabilities for its services, & data analytics creates opportunities to communicate and engage their customers in real-time.


Regardless of the size of your business, you can benefit from using data analytics to:

1. Understand your business at a glance and see what impacts growth
2. Manage your inventory efficiently and avoid wastage
3. Target the right customers, at the right time, and with the right content
4. Implement targeted marketing campaigns and sales techniques
5. Enhance your decision-making capabilities and take operations to new levels

There are many good reasons more Singaporean SMEs are increasingly adopting data analytics. It’s more than just a trend, and data analytics has yielded tangible results for those already harnessing it.

If your SME is interested in turning data into actionable insights, try DataVLT. We help businesses make better decisions more quickly and affordably.




The Forefront of Data Analytics — AI Builders of the Future 
DataVLT provides artificial intelligence as an outsource solution. We exist to help enterprises accelerate their growth through digital transformation by way of data analytics. 

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