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Your brain is the key to unlock big data’s potential

  • Posted on July 17, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Unlock big data potential
For many organizations and executives, dealing with big data has become a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole. Just when you are able to collect and analyze a group of interesting data, you’re confronted with issues around a new business challenge or a newer, better data set.  Just when you whack that problem down (for now), you need to go look for data scientists who can figure out how to make the data and analysis work for you. Finding the gold nuggets hidden in your data is the big payoff, but very much like playing an arcade game.

The feeling of putting out frequent fires rather than being able to build and execute a consistent strategy is shared across industries and organizations. Avanade recently asked executives what their top challenges are incorporating big data and analytics into their businesses. Their options were:

  • Collecting and accessing appropriate data

  • Determining the appropriate way to analyze the data

  • Finding skilled data scientists

  • Using insights gained to improve business outcomes

  • Determining what data to use

  • Finding appropriate data
The resounding answer? All of the above.

When everything is urgent, where do you start?
The best way to figure out what big data can do for you is to challenge the status quo and imagine ways your business can be done differently. The most effective way to build intelligence into the fabric of the business is to start with an idea, not with the numbers. The more revolutionary and creative the hypothesis, the more likely it will be disruptive and transformative.  For example, you may hypothesize that customer retention will improve if the in-store experience is personalized. This idea, though it may not sound revolutionary today, at one point transformed entire industries and launched new companies. But where do you start?

Executives feel like they need to discover the value hidden in the numbers, but no one is sure how to make it happen. With 89% of executives agreeing that their data analytics team lacks the right combination of skills to get the value from advanced analytics, it’s no wonder that organizations may be feeling stuck. This is where intelligent process design comes in. At Avanade, we bring together design thinking, digital transformation and AI to find a new way of doing business. We help executives see past the competing pressures and the scarcity of skills to envision the possibilities that can come from a strong partnership inspired by creative thinking and backed by technology know-how.

We recently worked with a global cleaning products company to apply big data to drive sales, help customers and improve food safety. Data showed that the company’s equipment could be used to maintain safety and sanitation and help a restaurant pass health inspections. After discovering the correlation, we worked with the client to create an app for customers to use with their products so they could reap the best results. It included checklists that reminded workers to check temperatures, change filters or reorder supplies. We helped the company identify a disruptive experience that transformed the business from a supplier to a valued partner in a vital element of any food preparation business--health and safety.

From here to a trinity
The three elements our clients draw upon to create intelligent process design are data discovery, artificial intelligence (AI) and that all-important disruptive experience. This three-legged stool has the potential to transform lines of business and entire companies. You can come in through any of the three angles, but all must be present and underpinned by an idea.

The idea doesn’t even have to be big or unique. Having an executive say, “I think I can save money using bots to change my customers’ experience” is a valid idea that many organizations pursue. As long as you have an idea that uses AI to draw upon big data to create a disruptive experience, you are on the path to intelligent process design. The next step then, is to build some pilot use cases to ensure the data supports what you want to do and that the new experience is desirable and beneficial. This is where cloud computing and its ability to stand up applications quickly and cheaply makes it easy to experiment to find the big idea that sticks.

Instead of whacking at the various issues around big data to keep them under control, the three-legged stool of intelligent process design elevates the game and enables executives to get all the aspects of big data and analytics working together to create something new.

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