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November 19, 2020

Businesses must focus on data’s higher purpose in the new normal

By Zhiwei Jiang

Many companies have declared themselves on a journey to become data-driven, but for an organisation to realise the full potential of data requires a fundamental shift in the way it views and defines its value. To thrive on data, organisations need to manage it as a vital asset above anything else – with the same passion as with any other part of the business.

The technology playing field has been firmly established, but it has also triggered enterprises to realise that data needs to be at the heart of their business ambitions. It is now crucial for organisations to understand where their data comes from, both from internal and external sources, and maybe even as synthetic, generated datasets.

In the past few months almost any business – unless already fully online and working virtually – will have seen its current IT infrastructure, data, and applications landscapes pushed to the very limits. Organisations must learn from this and take a committed approach to focus on data’s higher purpose and business impact, to remodel, reset and reconfigure for the new normal.

Leading with data

Businesses have been trying to respond to the Covid-19 crisis with agility, reacting to the issues directly that required their immediate attention. While this is still critical, organisations also need to prepare for, and take actions to ensure resilience in the long-term.

Going virtual is no longer just an interesting, possible option for some in the future. And through that, many organisations find their journey towards a full symbiosis of technology and business rapidly accelerated – albeit on a bumpy road. Data, analytics, and AI are an indispensable part of that journey – which is why they need to be thought through up front.

Challenging your data mindset

The current situation is also forcing C-suite executives to think creatively and ask questions based on their innovation maturity and current business landscape. Can they create a digital picture to solve business challenges? How can they accelerate the innovation agenda? Can they prioritise innovative use cases to address business challenges?

Companies need to pivot to an even more innovative, creative mindset, particularly around the use of data, analytics, and AI. Innovative applications of technologies and AI for things like crowdsensing and social distancing, contact-less user experiences, digital and online channels, frictionless fulfillment of supply chains, workforce analytics, video analytics, and image recognition – all powered by data – are all emerging, but we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. There’s still a lot to play for.

Data is the fuel of the future

If data is a corporate asset, it needs to be treated as such. This means understanding its sources and knowing exactly where it can be leveraged throughout the organisation. But data also needs to provide measurable economic benefits to be seen in this way, increasing shareholder value or adding to the corporate purpose, especially within the current climate.

With more businesses striving to become data-driven, they must also tap into the external mindset of marketing to envision how to monetise data and whether it can be added to the corporate balance sheet. This includes mapping external sources like brokers of open data and industry consortia, to identify additional data sets that can lead to value-creating insights.

By assessing both internal and external sources, companies can create a foundation for data to serve many different potential objectives and purposes. All the while, improving effectiveness and adding value to existing business intelligence and analytics.

The current economic period has put businesses under more constraints than possibly imagined before, and moving forwards with a new mindset, especially if many parts of the business are distributed across the world, it won’t be easy. We should view this new environment as a catalyst for change, and in this we will start to see who the real winners are.

Zhiwei Jiang is the CEO of data & insights at Capgemini, a French multinational corporation that provides consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services.


Read more: How technology is helping companies weather the Covid-19 downturn


 

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This analysis considers only announced and completed artificial intelligence deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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