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May 30th, 2020

Survival of the smartest: What companies need now for a data-driven future

by in Data-Driven

Survival of the smartest: What companies need now for a data-driven future

You’ve undoubtedly heard it all: how every company is a tech or data company, how everyone and their dog are using tech (even your neighbour’s toddler is watching vlogs), how data analytics are uncovering new revenue streams and even generating new “smart” products.

These days, everything can be “smart”. Your home, your phone, your fridge, your car and even your neighbour (sometimes). But what about companies? The smartest companies are capitalizing on the digital momentum that’s driving every part of our world – there are small fortunes to be made with big data, and processes that can be revitalized by tech.

But when we’re talking about “smart” companies, we’re not just talking about businesses that are digitally connected to their customers and networks. We’re talking about companies that are using tech and data effectively – by being smart about it.

In this multi-part blog series, we’ll explore:

  • Why you need to be smart about tech and data…as soon as possible
  • Organizational needs and digital readiness
  • What tools you need to adopt and how
  • How your leadership and your people will play a part

Part 1 – The urgency: Think NOW about tech and data…or lose tomorrow

“What’s the big rush anyway?”

There are moments in every company’s lifespan when it must pivot or perish. The pace of digital advancement is accelerating many businesses toward their next big decision, much more quickly than ever before.

Several years ago, everyone suddenly started investing in tech and digital solutions. Now, 98.8% of firms are actively investing in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, with 80% of them naming AI as the most disruptive technology. However, even for industry-leading firms, becoming more data-driven is still a struggle – only 14.6% have been able to deploy their AI into the production stage.

While some aspects of digital adoption may be slower, digital networks and algorithms are still becoming more woven into the fabric of more and more companies – and it’s important to know that this transformation is not restricted to just tech companies. Translucent Computing worked with the Canadian Black Book to digitize their vehicle valuation platform. Everything that used to be done through printed books is now done through the web or mobile apps, which powers and empowers Canadian dealers.

Over time, many industries and economies will start to work differently, too – some of them have already been irrevocably disrupted. Things like talent pools, customer preferences and capital investment will continue to shift and the ripple effects will reach across every industry – including yours. And if you don’t take smart steps to make sure your company is shipshape for the journey, those waves could sink your business.

So where do you and your company currently stand in this historic race to digitize and digitalize (yes, there’s a difference)? Have you thought about how tech and data will impact your business, and are you getting smart about how to manage these impacts?

“Why is it important to be smart about tech and data?”

Here’s the business case for you, up front. If you don’t make plans to keep pace now, you may have more to make up for later. At some point, it may be too late, and you may be forced to bow out of the race.

That’s why it’s important to be “smart” about tech and data, because if you don’t think about how they can benefit your business, you’ll miss out on opportunities to:

  • streamline your business processes to reduce costs and eliminate waste
  • use market insights to not only increase profit, but also enhance customer experience and engagement
  • deliver and market your products and services faster, in more-effective and more-targeted ways
  • empower your teams to make quicker, data-informed decisions

And because throwing money at the latest and greatest tech and research won’t make all your problems disappear. Even simply being a tech company is no longer enough for actual tech companies, especially if they’re not strategic about how they’re using and keeping pace with tech as well. At Translucent Computing, we created a R&D Center of Excellence a few years ago to stay ahead of the curve. Most of our products and services are driven by this COE, which allows us to explore, train and educate our people to stay on the cutting edge.

So yes, you can be using tech and data and similar tools to aim for all of the above outcomes, but are you thinking “smart” so you can manage your smart tools?

“How can I be smart about tech and data?”

Ask questions. Ask the experts. Ask the users. Ask within your own organization, and not just about what they know about tech and data. Ask them what data your company already has at its fingertips, and what data it can get. You don’t need to know how to write an algorithm – you just need to understand how certain solutions can support your business. In many cases, the AI that drives explosive growth isn’t that sophisticated – but you need to understand that potential before it can be realized in a way that suits your objectives.

It’s all about knowledge learning and sharing. Translucent Computing holds weekly meetings with our tech and non-tech teams so we can all share information and educate each other on the latest tech developments, including advancements in data and AI. Learning is in our company DNA, and we know it’s the key to growth and working in tech. Continuous improvement and learning allows us to be thought leaders who can partner with businesses to help them integrate business and tech.

Be discerning. Just because something is new and trendy doesn’t mean it’ll be a fit for your business, processes and customers. Smart investments in tech require considerable forethought and thinking through the practical applications for your business goals. Your company will need your discerning eye on what data to collect and measure. As businesses become more reliant on data, analytics, AI, automation and the IoT, it’s important that you’re measuring the right things that will bring you the right insights for the right growth.

Think like a tech company. So many business articles talk about companies becoming tech companies – that’s because there are many benefits to thinking like one, even if tech isn’t what you sell. It’s about thinking in ways that integrate and embody the possibilities of tech innovation, and imagining your business as one that is data-driven and tech-enabled. For example, a car loan company like GoToLoans isn’t in the business of tech, but tech is in their business. Their loan processes already lend (pun intended) themselves well to automated platforms and applications that Translucent Computing helped develop. The fact is: Many companies already have what it takes to take the next step – you just need to think about how you can use your resources and look at your processes differently, whether they’re ones you have now or ones you’ll eventually integrate into your business.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series, where we discuss what businesses can be thinking about when doing a pulse check to see where they’re at in their digital journey. Because if they’re not planning on being smart about using tech to prolong and propel their vision, then they may as well be dead.

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May 30th, 2020

by in Data-Driven

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