By Rachna Nath
With technological disruption at the helm of changing the world as we know it, companies are rehashing the core of their businesses by ramping up their investments into digital technologies and analytics.
Business leaders today are streamlining their budgets to incorporate data collation, harnessing and analysis, which could together transform a company’s operations to allow leaders to make informed decisions, cut costs and make profits. However, CEOs need to navigate their way through complex processes and organisational structures becoming matrixed.
They need to fine-tune their presence and strengths in a market, where in the stride of creating differentiated products, companies are increasingly using data-based innovations. It is thereby imperative that the companies of the future create enterprises that emphasise on keeping data and analysis at the heart of their operations.
As per KPMG‘s CEO Outlook Survey 2017 (India), data has become a key proposition for investment plans. There is expected to be a surge in the number of Indian companies increasing investments in data harnessing and analysis as global strategies increasingly make their way into Indian branches of companies.
Business leaders in the country are fast recognising data to be the fundamental tool that paves a faster route to achieve their strategic goals with 46% of them planning bigger investments into programmes that support data harnessing and analytics as a core part of their operations.
Increased investment is expected to help bridge the gap for shortage of skills. While the myth of technology leading to a shortage of human jobs has been busted in several instances, it is a well-established and accepted fact that the market is moving towards adding more jobs requiring newer skills.
New technologies are being experimented with and innovation is spurring the use of digital components that need different skills to master. Companies are increasingly realising the crucial role data plays in efficiently identifying areas that need better skills.
Perhaps, this forms the base of why about 66% CEOs stated that they plan to use data analysis to predict areas where there will be a shortage of skills going forward.
Using predictive data in the process will help to accurately gauge the actual demand for a skill and the changes that existing skills are witnessing in real time, so that company leaders can make informed decisions on talent acquisition and retention. It would also give a clear view of the strategies that companies need to undertake to help ensure that they stay focussed and develop necessary skills for the path ahead.
With the realisation and establishment of the imperativeness of data, companies need to inch their way towards forming an ecosystem that could support these changes. Organisations need to create an infrastructure that supports and enables digital transformation. These include connected devices, rehashing strategies and operations, making focussed teams, and establishing enhanced connectivity and integration between shop-floor and top-floor. Digital architecture need to be in place to simplify processes to ensure clarity in work and roles thereby causing 82% of CEOs to plan an increase in investments to establish an efficient digital ecosystem.
Although budgeting in the expenditure is the first step, companies need to simultaneously ensure that the data being fed into the system is accurate, relevant and secure. Increasing digital disruption has led to terabytes of data being created and stored on clouds, waiting to be harnessed and analysed. This trend will just keep increasing as more devices get connected to a digital infrastructure. Some estimates even suggest that by the year 2020, the number of connected things could stand at a whopping 20.8 billion.
Companies need to be prepared for such jarring figures, increasing the precision in data analysis and improving the quality of the data uses to make decisions, reinforced by 42% CEOs who agree that they cannot make crucial business decisions without improving the quality of the data first.
The need to improve the quality of data gathered has led to a boom in data analytics as a field in the country. Budding startups are gathering expertise in navigating through big data and analysing it to draw insights that impact decision making. These companies aim to better the integrity of data to meet the demands of 63% CEOs, who agree that the integrity of data is crucial to make informed decisions. This paves way to establishing an enterprise that is driven by data and its accuracy. Companies are using data and the insights generated from it to revamp their entire product line.
One example is of mobile phone companies, which are increasingly interacting with customers to know their needs, to create tailor-made, customised products. If the quality of data gathered is poor, companies might end up creating a product line that is disconnected to the end user.
Amid the increasing breaches of reputed organisations and hackers ramping up their attacks, companies need to ensure the sovereignty of data and the insights developed from it. Enterprises need to ensure strong firewalls are developed to keep attackers at bay and that the strategies, plans and data are not compromised.
Creating a data-driven enterprise is an integral part of a company’s growth in the current ecosystem. It paves way to creating unique and market-accurate products while innovating towards future goals. From infrastructure to skills, companies need to take into account all aspects of an organization that can be impacted by data and maximise its effectiveness across functions to create an intrinsically growing enterprise of the future that can compete in the market. While the transformation towards this seems unavoidable for many companies, the future is lit with organisations innovating to create impeccable data-driven enterprises.
The writer is Partner, Digital Enablement, KPMG in India.