After years of ups and downs with digital transformation initiatives, we are coming to a tipping point: We can see the digital economy emerge on the horizon. IDC forecasts that in the next 3 years, 46 per cent of worldwide GDP will be driven by products and services from digitally transformed enterprises.

To be successful in the digital economy, an enterprise will need to be intelligent. It will need to have the capacity to acquire information as well as the ability to synthesise that information in order to learn. If an enterprise can achieve this, it will be able to react to market changes with shorter response times, see increased success rates of new product introductions and receive higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

Today, organisations struggle with several issues concerning data intelligence:

  • Poor dissemination of the information that is needed to learn
  • Limited ability to apply automation technologies due to insufficient visibility into end-to-end business processes
  • Decision-making latency, as it takes too long to move from data to insights

The goal of your data transformation initiative is to develop comprehensive intelligence across the entire enterprise, from which the organisation can learn and act on. But this requires a change in the way people work and how decisions are made.

  • Data intelligence projects will require trial and error to figure out which data sets are the most relevant, deepest and complete data sets to feed the algorithms. You need a work style that supports this iterative, rapid learning approach. You also need a strong business partner that is committed to working in this new style.
  • You are developing evidence-based culture, where the information at hand shapes decision making. But the organisation first needs to trust the data. Data quality, data lineage, and data protection need to be documented, governed and managed by centralised processes, systems and structure.

How do you get started? The transformation begins with people. As a leader, you’ll need to educate the executive staff about what technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can do for the company and educate your colleagues about how their current problems can be solved by these technologies. Start with a small use case that can be completed within 6 months. This will provide your organisation with some experience and build the enthusiasm you need to keep the momentum going.