Data analytics is increasingly driving critical business decisions. Studies have found that in the wake of the pandemic, companies that embed data-driven digital transformation into their organizational cultures will surge ahead despite a challenging business environment. A recent Gartner report note that IT leaders must focus on data analytics by finding agents of change within their organizations, building adaptive systems, and re-engineering the way decisions are made in order to be successful.
Finding Agents of Change
“Data analytics is essential for enabling organizations to respond to change,” Gareth Herschel, research vice president at Gartner said during the virtual keynote at the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit 2021.
“As enterprises look to recover from the profound disruptions of the last year, Data and analytics can help with tasks such as enabling business model transformation, optimizing resource allocation, or figuring out new ways to connect employees, customers and other stakeholders,” he said.
According to the Gartner analyst, in order to drive lasting change across the organization, IT leaders must first identify those who have expressed a desire to change. Terming them as ‘change agents to develop a shared vision’ he said, by speaking in terms of revenue, cost, risk and innovation, IT leaders can establish relevance and inspire business leaders to move towards a future where data creates enterprise value.
The reality is that one cannot do anything alone, believes Herschel. “Change must be driven by people and processes too, and not just technology.”
Build Adaptive Systems
Technology can bring about significant changes, as tech maturity becomes increasingly important for business success. Hence Investing in systems that deliver value today and will evolve to do the same in the future must be a priority for tech leaders.
Gartner has identified four data analytics technologies that will enable organizations to automatically adapt to change:
- Data fabric, which can assist with and automate data integration.
- Graph technology, which helps to identify and understand complex connections between data.
- Generative adversarial networks, which use simulations to identify processes improvements.
- GPT-3, which is a natural language generation technique that will enable machines to tell data stories.
“The new imperative is to build adaptive systems so that we can rely on technology to help keep pace with our changing world,” said Herschel.
A recent Gartner survey found that less than half of respondents use data as their first-choice approach for making decisions. These leaders can extend their influence and ensure that data plays a role in every organizational decision by re-engineering the way decisions are made, specifically by:
- Looking for places to insert data analysis into formal processes where decisions are being made, such as project plans or budget requests.
- Identifying hypothetical reasons an initiative may succeed or fail, and then checking the data for indications of the validity of those hypotheses.
- Encouraging influential people within the organization to use data by feeding them data points or visualizations they can use with their teams.
- Sharing data success stories widely across the organization to champion a data-driven culture.
“We cannot simply tell people to use data, or build an analytics infrastructure and hope people use it,” said Herschel.
“Leaders must identify opportunities to change the way people think, until using data and analytics becomes a habit,” he summed up.