Data fuels success in today’s digital economy – and businesses that want to succeed should use their data to fuel digital business transformation.
The many benefits of data-fueled business processes include:
- Better customer engagement and value
- Improved employee engagement, retention, and productivity
- Insight and intelligence around digital adoption and transformation
- Optimized business processes – that is, processes that cost less, are more effective, and more efficient
- Enhanced business metrics across the board
In short, wherever you use data to gain insight, you see better results.
Let’s look at some specific applications now.
How Data Drives ROI and Digital Business Transformation
Data can be applied to virtually every corner of a business, and most businesses don’t use a fraction of the data at their disposal.
Today’s technology can be used in a vast range of data-driven applications.
Here are a few examples:
Business intelligence is a field that offers insight into business processes.
It can be used to improve a wide range of business functions, such as:
- Customer service
- Recruitment and employee engagement
- Marketing and sales
- Product design and development
- Supply chain and logistics
In short, data can inform decisions around – and improve – virtually any business function.
Competitive intelligence uses data and analytics to understand competitors and the market.
Specifically, it aims to understand:
- Everything about competitors – such as their operating models, revenue, and customers
- The competitive arena – the market within which a business and its competitors operate
- Future trends for both
Competitive intelligence is a practical tool, used to inform and improve decision-making.
Data can be used to assist human decision-making and enhance human-driven business processes.
But it can also optimize technical business processes, such as:
- Energy or fuel consumption
- Automated software processes
Google, for instance, used AI to reduce data center cooling bills by 40%.
Data can dramatically increase employee engagement, through digital adoption platforms (DAPs), for instance.
Platforms such as these use data to understand and improve:
- Skills competencies with software
- Engagement levels
- Productivity and output
With AI-powered analytics, it is possible to improve digital transformation and adoption – cutting costs and increasing efficiency.
5 Steps to Data-Driven Digital Business Transformation
Many business professionals have called data the new oil – claiming that it is the world’s most valuable resource.
There are many reasons for this, as we have seen already.
Whether or not it is as valuable as oil remains to be seen, but its value is undeniable.
Transforming into a digital-first, data-driven business is not easy. It will require resources, effort, and disruption.
But the rewards will outweigh the growing pains.
Here are a few steps you can follow:
1. Start with the data you’ve already got.
The first step is to grab low-hanging fruit.
Understand the data you have at your disposal, then define a few potential applications for that data.
Inform decisions, build models, and optimize processes.
This can help you gain immediate, short-term rewards, which can prove the ROI of that data.
In turn, these successes can help you understand digital transformation in your specific context.
This information can, in turn, help your business strategize accordingly and make the right decisions.
2. Democratize and understand your data.
One barrier to successful data-driven transformation is “siloed data.”
In other words, different business departments keep data to themselves.
The less data is shared, the less useful it is.
Improve data sharing across departments by opening up access, proactively communicating your strategy, and encouraging every department to make use of that data.
3. Create a data-driven digital culture.
Data can be applied everywhere, and data insights can come from anywhere.
Build a digital-first culture that educates employees about data, its applications, and its potentials.
Incentivize, reward, and encourage employees to use data within their own departments.
The more “citizen data scientists” you can recruit, the more data-fueled innovations and applications you will discover.
4. Build a dedicated data function to gain insight and inform decision-making.
Every business should also have functions dedicated to data and data science.
This team should be cross-disciplinary, ideally with executive leaders at the helm, such as the CIO and CEO.
Given the variety of potential applications of data, data should be integrated into the core strategy of a business.
And the best way to do that is by having business leaders buy in and take charge of that function.
5. Transform into a digital-first business.
Data-driven digital business transformation means putting digital first.
In the past, we have heard mantras such as “mobile first” or even “AI first.”
Today, many businesses understand that digital drives the economy – and they intelligently put digital first.
This means businesses must fully adopt digital technology, use it to its fullest extent, and integrate it into their core business model.
The global marketplace is undergoing digital transformation.
Businesses of every size are adopting digital technology and using data to fuel digital business transformations.
The benefits of data-driven digital transformations speak for themselves: better metrics across every business function.
However, when in doubt, it is also worth remembering that digital transformation is an absolute necessity…
Organizations that don’t transform won’t survive in the coming years and decades.