The summer holiday season is near its end and people are returning to work, their batteries charged by the fickle Finnish summer weather. Executives are probably thinking about strategy: new ideas, questions and approaches seem to appear out of nowhere. But brains are running hot elsewhere in the organization, too, where ideas spring forth concerning customers, sales, human resources, production, and marketing. Most ideas require development and facts, however. There is one question that always comes up, at least in companies at the forefront of utilizing data: What data will we need to develop and evaluate this idea? What data is available in-house, what from outside?
Data and advanced analytics are at the core of developing business operations. On the one hand, strategy work will falter without forecast models based on financial data at the least. These models allow a business to see the potential impacts different decisions can have. On the other hand, top management often wants that financial data to be supplemented with data on customers and trends, based on value-adding external data, studies, data from websites, and social media posts. A company adopting such an approach is on its way to becoming a data-driven business, using advanced analytics and AI in management and improving competitiveness.
Most companies are still at the stage, however, where data is scattered in different data warehouses and there is no comprehensive idea of how to use data. The world and how companies use data will never stop changing but it pays to invest the energy you have stored up over the summer in getting started. You need to base your work on business needs – and quick results so that your initial drive will not be exhausted by all the urgent matters the autumn will bring.
Yet pure energy is not enough. You must improve skills and competences on all levels and functions of your company and choose the right professional partners to help you. This summer’s data breach crisis in Sweden that almost brought Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s government to its knees is a good reminder of the importance of competence. What the crisis taught us is that it is critical to pay attention to data protection and security in data projects.
Now that everyone is bursting with energy, it is an ideal time to look forward and start improving the way you use data. It is the best way to improve your competitiveness!