In the digital age, being able to make data informed decisions is not optional – it is essential. Organizations that use data to make decisions simply perform better. *
The continuing acceleration of change across the business landscape means that many organizations are facing data overload. Pivotal decisions are being made without consulting solid data and this, without doubt, is a high-risk strategy. Data and AI is now a key factor in enabling organizations to reduce the time required to gain insights and make informed decisions. If you are still choosing to overlook valuable data sources, you could lose out to your competitors.
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review of Fortune 1000 companies, 81% of executives indicated that they had an optimistic outlook for the future of data and AI within their firms.**
Why data should be at the core of decision making
Why is it so important, and what can you hope to achieve? Well, if your organization has a culture of collective decision making, chances are you already view data as an asset. If this is not the case, one of the first steps is to embrace data driven education as part of a quest to create an ecosystem, where everyone in your organization can understand why using data is so important.
A culture of data-driven decision making empowers employees to leverage key insights to add tangible value to your overall offering. A data driven mindset communicates progressive leadership and sets a precedent for the whole organization. Communication will be improved when working as a cohesive data driven unit, as your employees will gain the ability to share insights and collaborate on key strategies designed to result in a more intelligent, dynamic, and profitable organization.
Informing business design
In terms of solving business problems, like any problem, it is important to fully understand the intricacies of the challenges your organization is facing. Getting closer to your data and reviewing internal processes helps you identify how to solve problems that arise in real-time. If you then apply design thinking to data sourced intelligence, it enables a real-life point of view for positive business improvements.
When stored and implemented in the right way, data can also provide a joined-up view of the customer journey, allowing you to target customers at the right moment in their journey, with the right message that is appropriate for their needs.
Developing products & services
Utilizing data to help specifically design products or services is becoming increasingly commonplace. Using data from a design perspective helps frame key questions and identify possible directions for prototypes of products or services.
Prototypes are an exceptionally good way of creating a version of a product to test hypotheses and iterate on ideas around how it might work, before investing time and money in formal development. Developing innovations, supported by data, can give you an all-important edge on the competition.
Finally, adopting a creative approach to customer communications and data collection helps build closer relationships with customers, and ultimately, can lead to improved services.
Design News states that for modeling the performance of materials from prototyping through manufacturing, data plays a critical role in helping design and operational teams remain competitive. ***
A glimpse into the future
A succession of data driven decisions, actioned with consistency, will work as markers of continual progress and growth. This also opens the mind to new, and possibly unseen, opportunities to supercharge your success rate. Embracing data will ultimately make your organization more adaptable – a necessity in today’s ever-shifting business landscape. Data also lets you connect with emerging industry trends, and interpret patterns to ensure you remain competitive, relevant, and profitable.
Futureproofing Your operation using Data & AI
So, we’ve talked about designing your business with data and using insight to define products and services, but how do you ensure efficient long-term management of data to enable faster, more informed decisions into the future?
Two things will be vitally important when thinking about data and AI in the future - quality and discoverability. The quality of your data is the key to making more accurate and informed decisions. The provision of analytical data sets, or the building of data platforms to ensure data discoverability is a smooth process, should fall to specifically designated teams. Your employees should be able to find the data they need, assess the quality, and understand its structure and lineage whenever required. The adage of data rich and information poor has no place in a forward-looking organization.
No turning back
The organizations that are ahead of the game today have typically made major changes, rather than slight adjustments, to respond to the current pace of change. Considered use of data and AI means actions can be agreed and reaction to new and evolving market conditions is now faster than ever before.
Those with the conviction to make significant changes based on early signals within their markets, measured with consumer behavior, will gain valuable ground. Naturally, it is vital that such changes are solidly rooted in trusted data and up-to-date insights. We’re never going ‘back to how it was before’, so be bold, be brave, and use the insights of today to inform the decisions of tomorrow.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics.****
Your checklist for success:
To dissect challenges, inform decisions, and prioritize actions, introduce capability building and not simply operating models.
Think of the insights
When designing your business, or looking to ideate around products and services, think how you will leverage and exploit data-driven insights.
Make data part of the furniture
Actively champion the use of data derived insights and then embed this behavior in your operating model to evaluate and improve every function of your organization.
Place trust in your data
Ensure the highest levels of data handling, governance, and information security and then convey this to your clients – trustworthy data/AI will continue to be a hot topic well into the future.
Please give us a call or drop us a line, and together we can put you data to work!
Written by Simon Robson
* MIT Sloan School of Management professors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson once explained in a Wall Street Journal article that they performed a study in conjunction with the MIT Center for Digital Business. In this study, they discovered that among the companies surveyed, the ones that were primarily data driven benefited from 4% higher productivity as well as 6% higher profits.
**Why Is It So Hard to Become a Data-Driven Company? Harvard Business Review. Randy Bean. 5th February 2021. https://hbr.org/2021/02/why-is-it-so-hard-to-become-a-data-driven-company
***Data as a Critical Raw Material. Design News. Bridget Nyland. 14th December 2021.
****Gartner Survey Finds 72% of Data & Analytics Leaders Are Leading or Heavily Involved in Digital Transformation Initiatives. 5th May 2021. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-05-05-gartner-finds-72-percent-of-data-and-analytics-leaders-are-leading-or-heavily-involved-in-digital-transformation-initiatives