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The 3 Truths About Data You Can’t Ignore In 2023

Gartner recently released the top 10 strategic tech trends for 2023. From adaptive AI to digital immunity, it’s clear—to be able to scale, optimize, and pioneer, businesses must have a strong relationship with their data. In other words, to be a part of what’s next, you need to know what came before. That’s the Data Imperative.

In 2023, data will separate leaders in digital from laggards. If you plan to expand your business, incorporate new revenue streams, or create digitally enhanced experiences for your customers, harnessing your data is imperative to transformation.

Whatever data you use—customer records, vendor contracts, usage statistics, maintenance logs, social media sentiment, user feedback, ESG numbers, capacity management reads—it must be verified, organized, secured, mastered, accessible, and rich. That’s enough to make anyone sweat, but it’s a fact: Understanding your business’s historical data and leveraging it to work for you is the only way to level up in an information-saturated world.

With that in mind, how have you decided to invest in data in your 2023 planning?

To get ahead (while everyone else falls behind), keep reading for the 3 data truths you need to know in 2023.

Truth #1: Data is not a new idea, but its significance and scale are greater than ever before – and to more organizations (not just the big guys).

Data consumption (and production) has skyrocketed. Here’s a sample of the sheer amount of data businesses must contend with:

·       90% of the world’s data was created within the last two years

·       456,000 tweets are published every minute of every day

·       More than 1 billion videos are viewed per day on TikTok

·       Bad data costs US businesses $3.1 trillion per year

The fact that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years corresponds with the suddenly much more digital world we all found ourselves in with the onset of the pandemic. However, that number hasn’t abated as the analog world has reopened. In fact, by 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be generated every day.

Clearly, digitalized services—and the risks and responsibilities that come with them—are here to stay. 85% of U.S. executives believe that collaboration between humans and machines will be critical to innovation in the future. That means businesses that haven’t undergone a full digital transformation (DX) need to—and those who have need to move further onto the edge.

Some of the biggest barriers to DX are as follows:

·       38%: Complexity of current environment/internal silos

·       Too many competing tech priorities

·       Security concerns and compliance constraints

·       Change management and implementation complications

·       Operating-model transformation complications (current business processes are too rigid)

These challenges aren’t unique to the Microsofts and Intels of the world—every business experiences them and must devise a future state that overcomes them in a space that’s always changing. In this digital-first world, growth, competitiveness, and relevance all balance on the shoulders of data.

Truth #2: Harnessing the power of your data can massively impact your organization’s success. 

From hospitality to healthcare, entertainment to energy, and finance to federal government, data can enhance and transform organizations…but only if it’s accessible and useful. These are the top goals companies have for their transformations:

·       Improve customer experience and engagement

·       Reduce operational inefficiency

·       Replace or upgrade legacy IT systems

·       Transform existing business processes

·       Increase/achieve innovation

Across sectors, it has been difficult to track the return on investment for transformation initiatives. That’s partially because these projects are often multi-year, tiered rollouts and partially because it can be difficult to put a price on transformation markers like employee engagement. So here are some results from data transformations that have impacted Launch clients’ success:

1.  We helped a global footwear retailer increase revenue by 30% by modernizing their data platform.

2. We took a Fortune 50 health insurer’s provider data accuracy from 36% Highly Accurate to 96% Highly Accurate with automation.

3. We created a daily finance flash report for the CFO and CEO of a global tech company that’s available in minutes, saving 7 hours of executive wait time every day.

4. We helped a global telecom powerhouse leverage historical customer data to develop a new digital business that generated $2B in its first year.

Other real-life applications of data transformation include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

·       Financial forecasting that modifies in real time

·       Automated contract writing

·       Customer verification to prevent fraud

·       Emergency call insights that save lives

·       Marketing that targets individuals, not personas

·       Robotic process automation that reduces time spent and human error on repeatable tasks

·       Precision healthcare based on personal, family, and community data

·       Proactive and error-free construction bid management

When deciding how to invest in your data strategy, it’s important to note that data without analysis is just numbers. Visualizing data, digging into the hows and whys, and mastering it so the business can apply the historical knowledge to future decisions are all key to business scaling, optimizing, and pioneering. Both quantitative and qualitative data available to your org matter in the development (and eventual impact) of your digital-first business planning.

Truth #3: You must undergo a holistic data transformation.

Imagine idling at a four-way intersection, your org’s data boxed up in the back. All the components of successful transformation surround you: Strategy to the north, Technology to the east, Process to the south, and People to the west. Which direction should you drive to jumpstart your transformation?

It’s a trick question. If you find yourself and your data at a 4-way intersection, you should call a city planner to build a roundabout. Data transformation must be holistic, embracing strategy, technology, process, and—most importantly—people. These elements must be incorporated in a continuous loop, with no true “end” or exit.

Why are these factors so important to transformation?

Strategy

Your data strategy answers the who, what, and why. What do you want to know from your data? Why? What kind of pain points are you experiencing that could find a solution in data? How can data help attract or retain employees?  

Without a data strategy, data remains untapped and unusable. You may have an idea of where you want to go, but there’s no road to your destination and you won’t know what todo when you get there.

Technology

Technology is the dam that collects and directs the river of data, churning through the numbers and using the data to power the business. From back-end platform development to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to augmented reality and the Metaverse, tech is how data becomes usable.

Process

Everyone of the top barriers to transformation listed above are issues of process. Communication and data silos incubate inconsistent processes and prevent data from being accessed by people in other departments who could use it. Lack of change management results in confused people, lack of support for initiatives, and legacy products and processes. Rigid business processes hinder progress, which renders DX DOA.

Transforming process—and the way a business thinks about process—is key to turning data insights into action.

People

Finally, people are your org’s strongest asset, especially in a tight labor market where everyone has struggled to attract and retain the right people. Data can help with both, from streamlining the candidate acquisition and hiring process to auto-scheduling check-ins and reviews to automating employees’ mundane, repeatable tasks.

Data, tech, and process transformation also transform and empower your people. Ultimately, no matter what reports a computer runs or how sophisticated automation is, humans will make the business decisions. And they make the best decisions when they have the data. Combining your team with your data: magic happens.

Data touches every part of our lives. From the coffee we order via mobile, to the products we finance on credit cards, to the sleep insights on our smart watches…everything we do sends data to a business like yours. To thrive in your industry, no matter what your size, it’s imperative that you embrace data transformation. That’s how to make your business recession-proof and gain the confidence to make your next bold move.

So, how will you plan for success by leveraging data over the next year or three? How will you not only stay afloat in a digital-first world, but unequivocally solidify yourself as a data vanguard in a constantly evolving technology universe?

If you want to start using your data more strategically but aren’t sure how to start, we have good news: you’re not alone, and it’s not too late. Even if you are already on your transformation journey but encountering roadblocks or looking for a more powerful innovation through data, there’s a discrete next step.

Ready for more good news? You can take a half-day Future State of Data Workshop with our data experts and an SME from your industry to help you understand where you’re at now, where you want to be, and the steps you specifically should take to get to your Future State. In 2-3 hours, you’ll envision the next 2-3 years, and you’ll be well on the way to fulfilling the Data Imperative.

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Russ Whitman

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