Seven steps to data transformation
The intelligent use of data can be transformational in any business. With so many opportunities, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are seven simple steps to set you on your way to a successful data transformation.
1. Get your mindset right
You don’t protect your business from disruption by making incremental changes to old ways of doing things. Would-be disruptors aren’t sitting around working out how to attach a data solution onto one of your legacy processes. They are looking at the big picture and shaping new business models from the ground up.
You need to draw upon the considerable benefits of incumbency and imagine the future better than anyone else. Then set your business up to bring that vision to life.
Whoever does that best will take the spoils.
2. Align your team behind your vision
Great, you have a clear vision to transform your business. But is everybody with you?
As strategies change, so too will the world of work. This will be confronting for many, but it’s inevitable, and clinging to less efficient ways of doing things is never a solution in a competitive marketplace.
It’s important to be open and honest about this with your people and to sell the need for change. You need to paint a compelling picture of a data-led future.
3. Get the right people involved
When you’re doing something new, you take advice, right?
You employ an architect to design a factory, you enlist a barrister to represent you in court and you get the best investment bankers and lawyers on board if you’re going shopping for an asset.
So why, when implementing a data strategy, do so many businesses go it alone?
Yes, you need to hire some data-natives to disrupt the way you think and help frame a vision of what’s possible. But you also need to be realistic about your capacity to hire the very best.
The talent war for data scientists is intense and the most highly skilled are seeking work at the very edges of data-innovation. At Quantium, our best data scientists break new ground daily. Consequently, we are recognised as a data employer of choice. Can you say the same?
Most organisations need a blend of internal talent and external expertise. Very few projects pose totally new challenges and you will likely save a great deal of time and money by taking counsel early.
4. Steer clear of white elephants
Technology moves incredibly fast. For every VHS solution, there is a Betamax alternative.
When investing in big data technology, you need to get clear on what it makes sense to own and what it’s best to borrow.
At Quantium, data is our core business. With over 500 data scientists working across every discipline, we can justify the time and investment required to stitch together over 60 open-source and proprietary technologies.
But, the truth is, most companies struggle to muster the investment necessary to build a truly effective data science platform and many have wasted millions trying to go it alone.
Be realistic from the start about your capacity to invest and, just as you are with cloud computing, be willing to leverage assets built by others where they will deliver better results with lower cost and risk exposure.
5. Start with the customer and work back
Want to be customer centric? The answer is data. It’s the footprint of human behaviour.
The perfect value chain is automatically predictive and responsive to the needs of the people it serves.
This means treating every customer as unique and ensuring everything you do is geared to delivering them a personalised and satisfying experience.
6. Make sure your investment settings and incentives support your strategy
Most of the projects we work on deliver an attractive and immediate pay-back. However, some opportunities will inevitably challenge your investment and incentive frameworks.
The new tech disruptors play by a different set of rules. They make big bet investments while private owners or tolerant shareholders are willing to wait for returns. So, these days, every business needs a healthy injection of patient capital. If you don’t have it, you need to find a way to get it.
Change is led from the top. If your leaders aren’t on board, you will inevitably fail. Most leaders are naturally biased and practically incentivised to replicate what’s brought success in the past. If you want to achieve genuine change, your leaders must be open to new perspectives and your incentive regime must genuinely reflect your new strategy.
7. Improve, constantly
If you have diligently followed these steps, you’re set up well for success. By embedding machine learning your accuracy and efficiency should get better and better.
But never forget the incredible pace of change. In the last 10 years alone, Quantium’s data processing capability has increased by a factor of 19,000 times. We are doing things today that simply weren’t possible a year ago. Keep your mind open and always be ready to disrupt yourselves before someone else does.