Data and Analytics: Catalysts to Digitally Transform a Business

calendar iconOctober 20, 2022

The Role of Data and Analytics in Digital Transformation

Today’s most profitable organizations use data analytics to turn their data into insights that digitally transform their business operations. Accessing the right data helps organizations keep up with the latest trends and better predict and forecast what might happen in the future. This leads to taking proactive actions that drive sustainable growth.

Leveraging data to make important decisions is critical for businesses. However, many don’t quite understand the importance of data in digital transformation, how to get started or how to accurately interpret its insights.

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics is the collection of information (such as quantitative and qualitative statistics) used to make effective, rational decisions. Insights refer to the interpretations and communications resulting from data analysis, which are then used to make more informed decisions.

A main question that leadership inquires about is whether they are maximizing their data’s value and whether it helps their organization compete in the marketplace. To understand this value, leadership needs to understand optimal solutions based on complex business parameters.

How Can Data be Used to Transform a Business?

Buy-in for a data-driven philosophy starts at the leadership level of the organization. Full value comes into play when data helps organizations:

  • Better understand and serve customers,
  • Optimize operational efficiency to maximize performance,
  • Ensure strong systems security, privacy and reliability,
  • Create innovation for business growth, and
  • Enable collaboration and communication at any time from any location on any device.

The key is that data-driven insights need to trigger new actions that are closely linked to business strategy, go-to-market approach, products and/or services offerings, organizational processes and end-user comprehension.

Getting Started with Data Analytics and Digital Transformation

Not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Getting started with data analytics is not a one-size-fits-all approach for organizations. Businesses considerably vary from one another, but nevertheless some organizations are more mature in the early stages. There are organizations who aspire to start using data to drive business decisions, but they only have a few of the necessary building blocks that incorporate their people, technology, processes and culture. Second, there are organizations that have some data analytics experience, but have not quite cracked the code to optimize insights at their full potential. Finally, there are organizations that have extensive analytical experience and have completely transformed their business.

It is important for organizations to define what data and analytics mean to them and determine a strategic planning process for digital transformation.

Overcoming Adoption Barriers

Adoption barriers of data analytics come in different forms, but most are usually culturally-based. It can be extremely challenging for people to change from making decisions based on personal experience to solely making them using data. However, many mature organizations realize that analytics triumph intuition. The key is understanding how to interpret data to optimize business growth.

Obstacles that can stagnant the process of embracing data analytics for digital transformation include:

  • Lack of understanding how to use analytics to improve the business,
  • Lack of internal skills in the line of business,
  • Ability to obtain the data,
  • Culture that does not encourage sharing information, and
  • Ownership of data is unclear.

Understanding these obstacles will help organizations better prepare for the challenges they will face and work towards receiving guidance accordingly.

The Impact of Business Intelligence (BI)

New methods and tools make insights more comprehensible and actionable. As the digital ecosystem continues to thrive, organizations rely on BI to maintain resiliency and increase efficiency. BI comprises data analytics and helps users interpret data, using predictive analytics to calculate patterns for current and future decisions. BI carries out a holistic view of relevant, real-time business data. Implementing BI offers a myriad of powerful tools, including:

  • Data visualization, such as dashboards and scorecards,
  • Simulations and scenario development, and
  • Business modeling and forecasting.

Many industries successfully leverage BI, including professional services, industrial manufacturing and technology. For instance, Cherry Bekaert’s Digital Advisory practice has delivered measurable impacts for a Caterpillar and Hyundai industrial equipment dealer. The Firm restructured the client’s new SharePoint Infrastructure to accommodate the requirements gathered in the Microsoft Architecture Design Session. Additionally, the Firm developed multiple PowerApps and Power Automate workflows to replace tedious InfoPath forms and SharePoint 2010 workflows. This innovative change has significantly improved the client’s front-end workflow by streamlining the interface configuration and enhancing customer experiences.

The Role of Data Analytics on Automation

Within the digital ecosystem, data analytics also impacts automation, which includes democratization, user experience and productivity.

Democratization: Analytics automation has increased the power of cloud computing and enabled access to machine learning. This helps employees better understand the data they access, influence business decisions and expand opportunities.

User Experience: Users prefer simple and engaging interactions with their analytics tools, which can be provided by automation platforms. Automation has enabled users to focus on practicing good data storytelling, which involves presenting data elements in a way that creates a cohesive narrative.

Productivity: Before automation, data analytics involved cumbersome, manual processes and human errors. With advanced technology, manual processes are now relegated to computers, which saves organizations time and money.

Implications on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems

As decisions become more data-driven and connected, AI systems can help organizations adapt more quickly to changes. Without the right data, building AI poses potential risks to an organization. Formalizing AI and AI-centric data addresses bias, diversity and labeling in a more systematic way within an organization’s data management strategy.

Cherry Bekaert is Here to Help Your Business with Data Analytics and Digital Transformation

Starting on the path of data and analytics to digitally transform a business might seem daunting, but it does not have to be. Cherry Bekaert helps organizations identify their biggest data and analytics challenges and how to overcome them. With data-driven technologies such as Tableau, Alteryx, Azure HDInsight, Power Automate or Power BI, Cherry Bekaert can assist companies on their digital transformation journey.

Cherry Bekaert’s Digital Advisory team encompasses decades of experience and proficiency in designing, deploying, migrating, integrating and configuring cloud-solution platforms such as Microsoft Azure and AWS. Migrating to the cloud will always be in high demand, so designing a business continuity strategy is vital for long-term success and sustainability.

Additionally, our team is comprised of strategists, technologists and analysts who have broad industry experience and keen business acumen. Our firm helps clients drive important change and ignite growth in productive and cost-effective ways, while applying relevant technologies to optimize performance.

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