A digital transformation is a more complex endeavor than following a predefined, generic recipe where data magically guides you to the best outcome: it’s the combination of multiple elements that interact with each other. Here’s how to generate real value through their synergy.
“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine”, remarked Peter Sondergaard, SVP of Gartner, in 2011. While data and analytics are core elements of this car metaphor, you also need a good driver with a purpose, a solid chassis, good tires, etc. Let’s examine these essential components that are too often disregarded.
Bridging the technical and business world
“It is relatively easy to hire profiles that have an extended technical competency. It also isn’t that difficult to find employees proficient on the business side”, notes José Andrés García, Wizata’s lead data scientist. “The hard part is finding technical-minded people with a business approach, to enable pertinent and testable hypotheses to emerge at this crossroads.” An idyllic approach would be to hire these rare, mixed profiles, though it’s usually more practical to set up an innovation team where both types of expertise freely communicate and interact. By breaking down the barriers to knowledge sharing, perspectives from the different departments can be combined to brainstorm and bring forward ideas that have company-wide impact. You’ll find more details and advices in the Starting with AI article.
For all their expertise, employees, engaged in their day-to-day tasks, still often lack a transversal vision of their company’s business. And when they do, it’s easy to miss sectorial or global trends since they only work for a single company. This exchange of ideas can nevertheless be enhanced to stimulate original line of thoughts: “Every employee is usually biased, with no clear full picture in mind”, says José Andrés García. “The good news is you can alleviate this problem by bringing in outside expertise and collaborating with advisors and partners that worked on varied projects for different companies with different problems and different technologies. Every mission is unique, but with experience under their belt they can more efficiently think outside the box and stimulate the emergence of new paradigms.”
Combining internal and external collaborations
Technological limitations aren’t the only pain point, and indeed it’s important to go beyond the confines of your organization. Another counterintuitive point to grasp is that small companies such as startups can bring a great deal of added value to established companies, not only because it brings new thoughts but because things move smoothly and rapidly between team members, an optimal setting for ideation. This is part of the reason behind the co-creation trend of linking startups with corporates, and it explains the success of sponsored incubators. It’s also one of the most potent ways to facilitate knowledge transfer pertinent to your unique processes.