The modern, data-enabled organisation is connected
The use of data by organizations to improve the efficiency of their operations and drive innovation is nothing new. Financial data is widely used to inform decisions. Limiting the use to financial data, paints an incomplete picture of the organisation and mostly provides hindsight.
In the last few years, we have seen a rise in the use of new kinds of data, as well as new tools and techniques that are changing the game. Modern data companies use all sorts of data - internal and external, direct and proxy - to inform their decisions. Examples range from understanding social connections within an organization to accessing resources and knowledge. Richer data allows them to move from fighting fires to prevention and foresight.
According to a study by Forrester, organisations that generate actionable insight through using new kinds of data and analytics will enjoy significant competitive advantages and a steep growth curve of up to 30%.
Data improves decision-making and helps people succeed in their work
A data-enabled organisation builds tools, skills and, most crucially, a culture that acts on information and data - in addition to experience and opinion. The real value lies in actions and decisions based on data. Data improves decision-making by enhancing human capabilities through the addition of data derived information, facts and insights.
For successful data-enabled organisations, data is never the starting point. They start with and focus on business strategy and how data helps deliver it. To do that they collect, analyse, and deploy data to make better business decisions.
A human mind working with reliable data is unstoppable.
Data is jet fuel for creativity and innovation
So, how do data and analytics contribute to innovation and help our organisations become more resilient? Data analytics can accelerate the innovation process by combining, identifying and accessing new and existing knowledge to deploy in solving new problems. In short: good data is jet fuel for creativity and innovation.
Dykes' data-driven analytics value chain (Dykes, 2019)
Data and analytics help to understand opportunities both inside and outside the organisation. It can give us real-time and predictive insights. A better understanding of our surroundings and organisations enables us to adapt and respond faster to changing customer, partner and market needs.
There are many ways data brings value. It can help identify and build new products and services, create new business models built on untapped existing assets, break into new markets, or reveal new customer targets.
Based on data insights we can forecast, plan and model future scenarios that help us prepare for changes and sudden economic shifts. Innovative, data-enabled organisations learn fast, move fast and live long.
Data analytics and innovation can enable organizational adaptation in a rapidly changing environment, depending on the company’s inherent structural and human capabilities. This capacity to react, adapt and recover from difficult situations, and stay flexible in a volatile environment is called resilience.
The primary challenges in becoming data-enabled are not technical
Hiring a team of data scientists or investing in tools and applications won't magically transform your company into a data-enabled organization. A C-level survey conducted amongst Fortune 1000 companies in 2020 identified that the biggest challenges for adopting data and cognitive technologies like AI in organizations are, in fact, 95% organisational and only 5% technical.
Biggest challenges to business adoption of AI in organisations - Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2020 (Davenport and Bean, 2019)
A holistic approach that combines governance, tools, skills, ways of working, processes and a data-informed culture is needed.
Becoming data-enabled is a business transformation process, so it will encounter obstacles and barriers very similar to traditional transformations: insufficient budgets, company culture, resistance from managers, low CEO and senior management support and change resistance.
A successful approach is one whereas much effort is spent on strategy, change management and changing the attitudes and behaviours around data as on the technical challenges.
If you want to know what the three vital components of a data-enabled organisation are, click here.
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