CEO of Crux Intelligence and 4 time Founder / Board Member. Putting AI in the hands of every business user.
Over the past year, companies throughout the world have recognized that digital transformations and automated processes are the keys to success in an increasingly online business environment. As reported by McKinsey & Co, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic caused enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation efforts by an astonishing seven years in just a few months. At the core of these efforts is data: the lifeblood and currency of modern business.
But while the vast majority of companies are using data to inform some aspect of their operations, most of these companies struggle to derive actual business success from their efforts. According to research from Boston Consulting Group, 70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives. This eye-popping failure indicates a stumbling block in modern business: While enterprises are clear that they need to make use of their data, they have no idea how to do so successfully.
Big Data Success
When considering those statistics on digital transformation, we tend to focus on the remarkable number of businesses that fail. However, it’s worth also considering the 30% of businesses that are meeting and exceeding the objectives of their digital transformation initiatives. Companies that are able to derive insights from their data and use that knowledge to inform their strategies and decision-making are finding a clear competitive advantage.
Consider some of the most successful, game-changing companies of the last decade: Uber, Spotify and Netflix. These are organizations that recognized the value in their massive collections of data, asked the right questions on how to leverage that data and used the resulting information to develop tools, algorithms and solutions that drove customer loyalty and revenue growth.
So, how do companies make the most out of their data assets?
Like any business initiative, it boils down to a few best practices. Many data-based initiatives fail due to improper planning (or lack of a plan entirely) or poor tool selection. Successful teams will recognize when they don’t have the resources — in terms of either people or tools — to achieve their goals and will then work to find the necessary solution.
For companies looking to derive more value from their business data, here are four tips that will lead to success:
1. Recognize what you don’t know.
Many business leaders fail to appreciate the size, scope and depth of their data resources. Today’s data analysis tools and platforms can offer incredible nuances by slicing and dicing through dozens of layers of information. The first step to finding value in business data is understanding what is being collected and how it can be dissected and analyzed. Business data can take many forms, and it’s important to have a good analysis strategy that will touch every corner of the organization for a comprehensive picture.
2. Define what you want to understand.
No two businesses are exactly alike, which means that no two data programs should be identical either. For some businesses, a successful data program will enable them to refine their marketing campaigns through automated testing and insightful measurement. For others, HR data can enable them to enhance their recruitment and improve retention figures. By beginning with the goal, companies are able to cut through the noise of irrelevant data and drill down to the information that matters.
3. Take a proactive approach to AI.
For some IT teams, data serves a retrospective function: In the aftermath of an error or following the completion of a campaign, they will sort through the data to understand what happened and how to prevent it. While there is value in using data in this way, companies will likely see a greater return on investment if they take a proactive approach to their data using artificial intelligence (AI). With so much data to sort through, speed-to-insight can make the difference between success and failure. Leveraging AI proactively ensures that the enterprise’s most important metrics are updated in real time, empowering business leaders to make truly data-driven decisions.
4. Make AI work for your goals.
Once you have identified your goals and the tools needed to achieve them, the final step is to create automated processes that will take you closer to your desired result. Between no-code platforms and automated intelligence tools that proactively identify business issues, it has never been easier for businesses to create tools and applications that help identify leverage points in their business — without needing specialized knowledge. Designing effective AI tools and deploying AI-based processes enables business leaders to focus their attention on higher-level challenges, using the resulting insights to chart strategy with precision.
Buoyed by the effects of the last year and a half of digitalization, the global business community is on a clear course to increase the quantity of data it collects and the ways in which that data is used. With nowhere to go but up, enterprises can take new steps to maximize the value of their data and gain a competitive advantage for this new era of online business.