SINGAPORE: Marketers can capture huge volumes of data but many brands are over-invested in associated technology and "grossly underinvested" in the people who can interpret that data, according to a white paper from the IAB Singapore.

In Breaking down the silos: Unleashing the power of data, a round table discussion among experts from the Asia-Pacific region highlighted the tendency for companies' data assets to remain stuck in silos, typically within research or IT departments.

And this has been exacerbated by the fact that "the technology and vendor landscape that enables the collection, storage analysis and visualisation of data has evolved significantly, outpacing the rate at which we have evolved how we think about people, skills and hiring".

So, not only do companies have to break out of their traditional organisational structures and "democratise" the data they've collected, they also have to look at training the entire workforce in how it can use that data.

Whether a company builds the necessary skills in-house or buys in expertise, it needs to have the capability to "digest multiple sources of information into a clear stream of actionable insights", the white paper said.

It cautioned, however, that it is vital that marketers know what they want to be able to do with the data over time and noted that "many marketers today struggle to identify meaningful metrics that demonstrate real business value".

According to Damien Crittenden, direct of analytics and insights at Xaxis, "The problem is sometimes rooted in laziness of developing a taxonomy and foundation for understanding the data".

"If you don't do your homework and lay that foundation, then you have no chance of finding answers," he added.

Other problems include failing to ask the right questions in the first place and failing to properly apply any insights that are gained.

Data sourced from IAB Singapore; additional content by Warc staff