Become a data-driven organisation

Issue 7 2021 Integrated Solutions

The current pandemic has accelerated digitisation across organisations everywhere. As a result, businesses now have an unprecedented opportunity to put data at the centre of systems, processes and ultimately, decision-making.

A McKinsey survey found that Covid-19 had sped up digital transformation by up to seven years, with gains most prominent in healthcare and pharma, financial services and professional services.

Customer needs and expectations have changed permanently while the cloud and advanced operation technologies – automation, AI and advanced analytics – are here to stay. Companies that want to thrive in this new environment are those that become truly data driven. And in order to do so, they must consider how best to equip employees with the skills and mindset to do things differently. This requires an integrated data and analytics strategy that guides the adoption and integration of cloud services.

Cultural transformation is the next step

Successfully running cloud and SaaS requires rethinking operations and culture, as the benefits of this approach differ from that of on-site and legacy systems. Real-time access to data, agility and scalability are core benefits of this approach and this means a bigger role for data analysts. At the same time, the traditional silos between roles and teams are no longer relevant.

Augmented data management, which uses machine learning and AI can help make data analytics more accessible outside of ICT roles, automating many process that are currently done manually. For instance, data stories – which use AI to generate a story out of data analysis findings – can help make complex issues more understandable. These data stories can be tailored for different users to deliver the most relevant insights.

The challenge for companies is to help non-technical users gain confidence to explore data, upskill themselves and successfully contribute. Data analysts can themselves become change agents, empowering their co-workers to use data effectively. They can encourage the use of self-service tools, suggest improvements and drive efficiencies. At the same time, data skills are becoming relevant across a much broader spectrum of jobs and not only the traditional ICT roles.

Companies who are serious about digital transformation will need to spend as much attention on the cultural transformation and change management processes as on the technological side. After all, employees are being asked to change the way they have always done things and to take on new roles. Driving and committing to this change will see companies reaping the rewards further down the line.

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