Data Insights for Transformation

Article published in French news site Silicon by José María Sánchez, member of the Executive Committee at Prodware Group and Corporate Vice-President of Prodware Spain

For over a year now, organizations have been facing challenging and complex times in a world full of uncertainties. More than ever before, managers have had to deal with their daily responsibilities of having to make the right decisions quickly, in a very unusual context, while trying nevertheless to make sure these decisions align with the “world after the virus” strategy moving forward.

These extraordinary circumstances and the lack of experience in coping with such situations, plus the fear of not having enough cash flow, have triggered creative and intuitive business survival responses.

This shock has compelled decision makers to take a new and decisive look into investing in new technologies in order to remain competitive and stay in the game…this need to appreciate things differently came at the worst possible time and happened in the worst conditions. Indeed, while this kind of major overhaul is usually well thought through, it had to happen in emergency mode while keeping level-headed judgement. Moving forward in emergency mode without panicking while making the right decisions…like walking a tightrope!

The Great Acceleration Dynamic

This situation has put managers under pressure while also acting as a catalyst for change in business and working models. If innovation today means breaking down traditional barriers, the exceptional circumstances brought on by the pandemic have greatly accelerated this phenomenon.

In this radically different environment, every organization, business and manager has had to rethink the notion of competitiveness. Companies in certain industries were extremely concerned but it must be noted that across all industries the majority of businesses reacted by going digital. These exceptional circumstances have generated an intensive wave of transformation with an incredible turbo-boost effect in terms of speed of implementation and adoption. A game-changing difference though is that some digital channels have soared. The digital revamping of operational processes with partners, suppliers and customers has reinforced the need for transformation for all stakeholders across all industries.

This has led to journeying towards new frontiers of innovation where data has become the bedrock and new black gold of the whole transformation dynamic.

A Data Driven World

The power of digitalization in a data-driven world holds great promise but no one is really sure though what the potential consequences of this world of tomorrow could be.

We live in a world inundated with data, very large volumes of data coming from many different sources. For organizations, converting all this data into valuable insights is the cornerstone of a successful digital transformation. Data analytics provides incredible knowledge of the market making it possible for companies to embrace a new realm in business intelligence and automation.

Converting all that data into insights requires a structured process and data model – data coming from multiple sources needs to be captured and organized efficiently before being analyzed, interpreted and turned into decision-making material. Integrating the latest disruptive technologies with all software systems convert those systems into intelligent systems with great modelization capability for decision-making tools that can unleash powerful business forecasts.

Are we entering into a business model where business decisions will be made based only on the logic of data and modelization or will human intuition still have a say? In our opinion, they will be complementary – a combination of both intelligent and intuitive human experience with well-documented information. Bring all of this to a manager who will then be even better prepared to make a decisive strategic decision.

So how do we get a company to take advantage and leverage the world of data insights? The answer is to get the company to become a Data Driven Organization in an Innovation Environment.
As a first step into becoming that data driven organization we first need to determine and equate the type of data and data analytics with the key business priorities supporting the company’s strategy.

Then we move on to the mapping of those data sources and defining the right data integration model to merge all those data sets. And this that can sometimes be quite challenging. Indeed, after working with several companies on their data strategy we realized that data is actually like a living thing that changes and evolves in time. Sources vary, users’ needs change, life goes on…Therefore a secure governance strategy together with an agile implementation approach with ongoing performance and goal reviews is definitely the way forward rather than sticking with static and rigid objectives.

More than ever, relying on fate and luck is not an option. Innovation and disruption journeys need assets, resources and talent allocation. Human and financial resources are required to enter into this uncharted territory.

Changing Points of View

It all starts with an initial seamless process, changing the mindset of people, empowering them with when making new strategic decisions. These parameters will contribute to bringing those organizational changes that will foster a culture shift and data-insight approach moving away from less factual opinion-based decision making. But, breaking down the barriers of conventional business KPIs is not that easy, but as Aaron Levie (successful entrepreneur) says, “Start with the assumption that the best way to do something is not the way it is being done now.” Business evolutions are based on assumptions that eventually come into being. This is actually an opportunity and is part of the innovation/startup dynamic. Change management in the way we appreciate data and approach decision-making will be a definite eureka moment!

Another important factor that comes into play in our search for intelligence is Speed. A big part of gaining that competitive edge is about velocity and driving as many iterations as possible in short periods of time, to unleash that operational intelligence.

Converting data into actionable insights sometimes reveals trends and/or information that would probably continue to go unnoticed. These new insights bring together and underscore patterns that initially were not that obvious to decipher. But what is more interesting is that data can also provide insights into other characteristics such as soft skills, behaviors, potential fraud, brand awareness…

But one of the most valuable characteristics of intelligence in systems is the interpretation of the data i.e. the relevance of the information and the personalization that comes with it – indeed these insights bring personalization to a whole new level making it possible to address all stakeholders (customers, managers, suppliers, partners…) with very targeted messages.

And, last but not least, the notions of security and privacy have become pivotal in this transformation process, both being regarded as fundamental as ever. An updated and maintained Data Privacy Compliance program is required to support this data driven innovation leap into new uncharted territory.

Look to the future, explore the power of insights, make your system intelligent-ready and take the plunge! Break down the barriers to innovation.