Five Steps to Become a Data-Driven Business Using Technology

Every organisation and industry has had to transform in recent years. All are striving to move faster, become smarter with data and innovate more with technology. The main message I’ve been hearing from business leaders in every corner of Ireland is that digital transformation is a must-have. As organisations navigate this journey of change and transformation, they manage increasingly complex data and tasks. And while data is considered critical for any efficient operation, it also has the potential to become the number one barrier to transformation.

According to the recent Breakthrough study of 10,500 knowledge workers, business decision-makers, and IT decision-makers undertaken by Dell Technologies, 42% of organisations in Ireland believe the opportunity to become a data-driven business will pass them by. Another way to put this is that at every business conference you attend, there is a chance more than half your peers are worrying about data.

Going deeper, 30% of Irish respondents believe their people won’t be able to keep up with technological change. It is an interesting paradox. While technology is an enabler to human potential and it has significant business benefits, the number of solutions and settings to navigate can overwhelm workers with too many choices. From my interactions with customers facing the same challenges, I noticed the path out of the data labyrinth is often a mix of the right set of tools with a human perspective. Here are five steps to help Irish businesses navigate their digital transformation:

1. Have a clear shared vision of how digital transformation can help you realize your business goals.

Every IT problem starts with a business problem. Before laying down the foundation on how to deal with your data, think about the challenges you are trying to solve as a company. Once you have that vision, you can articulate the right technology solution and partner with the IT experts on your team to build a plan. You don’t have to build an aggressive timeline. A phased approach accounts for your most important asset – your people. Give them enough time to understand the strategy and align to it.

2. Invest in appropriate edge and as-a-Service Strategies that can scale.

As-a-service experiences help ease or drop the infrastructure management burden on your teams. When working with a flexible IT consumption model, you can operate with agility. But you can also control and scale your environment, adapting to different dynamics. And then there is an opportunity in the edge – where you can act on data near its point of creation to generate. With real-time data analysis, you can act faster and reduce the cost concerns associated with sending large amounts of data to a central location. This is especially true in industries like retail, healthcare, and even public transportation.

3. Automate mundane tasks.

The research shows that people would be willing to partner more with technology if the personal benefits are clear. In fact, 66% of respondents in Ireland would look forward to having more time to develop their skills and elevate their roles. By automating work, people are available to focus on what inspires them and on uncovering business opportunities. The curiosity mindset is a valuable skill for data analytics. And once your teams have enough time to look at the data with a strategic approach, you start to pave the way for insights-driven decisions.

4. Start with small-scale pilots.

The sandbox environment is perfect for the test-and-learn method. People feel safe, and you have control over the impact. It is one of the best tactics to gain insights from analytics while stimulating people to adopt and publicize the successes. At this point, you go back to the number one step in this framework. Look at the initial business problem. Combine your newly added technology with your team’s recent gains in time to generate a positive outcome. Then assess your pilot. Replicate. Scale.

5. Provide adequate coaching, mentoring, and reassurance.

Real breakthrough happens at the intersection of people and technology. Thus, it is paramount to recognise that while consumption-based IT models provide the necessary breathing room to your teams, you must deploy them in ways that are sensitive to human behaviour. Make sure that everyone is accessing the necessary tools and has enough training and resources to use them to their fullest. Communicate and establish a platform to contribute ideas and be heard. Lack of communication is one of the areas where respondents say their teams struggle the most.

At Dell Technologies Ireland, we have been helping leading companies leverage data in order to enhance business performance. Through our partnership with Ronan Daly Jermyn (RDJ), we’re enabling one of Ireland’s top law forms to harness the power of data to transform its legal services and adopt a hybrid working model running on Dell Technologies infrastructure.

Outpacing competitors also requires organisations to embrace new technologies. The Dell Technologies Ireland team is well positioned to help businesses realise this goal. Thanks to the work being undertaken at our 5G Edge Labs, led from Cork and Limerick, we are bringing together 5G, Edge Computing and Machine Learning to prototype next generation products and services for the global and Irish markets.

I am optimistic about the role that technology plays a role in unlocking a company culture shift toward data-driven decisions. Once organisations augment human capabilities with automation and consumption-based IT, they create new opportunities and experiences that excite their team, while delivering incredible business outcomes.

Guest post by Jason Ward, Vice President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies Ireland