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  • Accenture Technology Vision 2012

    Business Implications Series Data culture

  • Business Implications – Data culture Technology Vision 2012 trend: Converging data architectures

  • Technology Vision 2012 trend: Converging data architectures Business Implications – Data culture

    Business changes, Technology catalyst

    Each year, the Technology Vision team at Accenture Technology Labs sets out to determine the emerging IT developments that will have the greatest impact on enterprises, government agencies, and other organizations in the next three to five years. These efforts produce a handful of robust hypotheses, which have been synthesized into the six overarching technology trends in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2012 report, with the goal of guiding CIOs in their strategies to leverage and drive new opportunities based on an evolving technology landscape.

    But, times are changing. With each passing year, the rapid rate of innovation within IT is having an increasingly larger impact on businesses beyond the CIO organization. To address this new reality, this year we have created Business Implication companion pieces to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2012. These pieces walk through opportunities and issues driven by the vision technology trends and start the C-suite discussions about what needs to be done now to prepare for and take advantage of these changes. Technology is playing a key role in reshaping how companies do business. Some of you are already having these conversations with your IT colleagues. For those of you that aren’t, are you ready?

    Accenture Technology Vision 2012

    Accenture’s Technology Vision 2012 Business Implication companion series covers:

    • Data culture • Privacy economy • Emerging economies • Social commerce • Social collaboration

  • Business Implications – Data culture

    4

    Fostering the new data culture

    Google, Facebook, and Amazon already run on data—lots of it, from outside their respective four walls as well as inside. They sift the data in ways that deliver rich insights and lead to faster, more assured decision making. But how is this different from a decade or two ago, when companies began investing in business intelligence solutions? Facebook’s recent public offering gives a clue: its valuation owed much to its storehouse of consumer data. The broader answer: we’re entering an age in which data drives every decision. Data has become a strategic asset, and a company’s success will depend on how well and how often its employees, at every level, use that asset.

    Converging data architectures

    Business implication drivers – Accenture Technology Vision 2012 technology trends

    Industrialized data servicesContext-based services

    Accenture Technology Vision 2012

  • 5

    Fans of the AMC series “Mad Men” will get it, but the rest of us need to be reminded of a time, not so long ago, when businesses had entire service functions to produce memos, type letters, make copies, and create presentations.

    Today, basic office-productivity applications mean that these tasks are expected to be part of everybody’s workplace literacy. It’s an essential part of how people do their jobs.

    Not too far in the future, business leaders will recall an era when data literacy was the province of only a few specialists. For now, it is the trailblazers among business leaders, eager to outgrow and out-innovate their competitors, who are creating a new corporate culture; one where acquiring insights and making decisions using data sources and data analysis is the rule and not the exception. Their efforts are directed toward a host of business benefits: pushing for deeper cost savings and greater operational efficiencies, striving for revenue growth by identifying new market opportunities and accelerating new-product launches, improving financial models, mitigating supply chain risks, and much more.

    But what’s really new here? Haven’t businesses been recognizing and treating data as a valuable asset for decades? Yes, but something significant has changed: the costs associated with that data.

    Ten years ago, data was expensive—expensive to gather; expensive to aggregate; expensive to access, report on, analyze, process, and store. In addition, as more data was added to the mix, the costs grew exponentially. To deal with those realities, organizations had no choice but to build systems and cultures for treating data as a scarce resource. That meant that only the highest priority decisions have been able to rely extensively on data; essentially, everything else has been priced out of the data equation.

    The new news—and something that most business leaders have not yet realized—is that innovative tools and maturing technologies now allow IT to change that cost equation. Data volumes are exploding; today, more data is being collected

    than ever before, internally, within businesses, and externally, among the organizations’ networks and in the wider consumer world. Horizontal-scaling technologies now allow the storing and processing of that data in ways that do not exponentially raise costs. Chief information officers can now “architect” data platforms that enable their organizations to tap structured and unstructured data—everything from blog posts and Facebook data to e-mail traffic—and to industrialize their data services (see Accenture’s Technology Vision 2012 report) so that companies can quickly access and share data across the organization, at minimal incremental cost.

    But implementing a data platform to change that cost model is only half of the equation. To get tangible results, it’s necessary to start modifying the organization’s objectives too. Companies must move from the current model—the implicit strategy of maximizing the benefit of a set amount of data usage—to an explicit model where all employees are expected to maximize data usage to drive business benefits. That represents a cultural shift that can have a dramatic effect on how the organization is run. In the new model, data becomes central to innovation and to all decision making, fueling growth and making the organization’s operations more efficient at every level. Data skills spread beyond IT, becoming part of every business function and business activity. This new culture not only allows all employees to ask “what data would allow me to do my job better?” but also makes the necessary data available to them. Like the managers who were the first to realize what the proliferation of Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Office would mean for office productivity, farsighted executives today are starting to realize that data is becoming a strategic asset for the future growth of their business. In essence, data is en route to becoming every organization’s next core competency.

    Business Implications – Data culture Accenture Technology Vision 2012

  • 6

    Silicon Valley’s latest approach to decision making Think about this scenario: a customer service manager has a hunch that the company could win more repeat sales if its customer service reps (CSRs) were to proactively contact all customers who have bought more than $500 worth of products in the last month to see if those customers have encountered any issues that the company could help with. In an ideal scenario, the service manager makes this decision by weighing the potential benefits against the cost of having the CSRs do this. If that cost is less than the incremental revenue that is driven through increased sales, the service manager will do it; if not, they won’t.

    Why aren’t managers acting on hunches like this every day? The answer is often distressingly simple: in most companies, they lack access, expectations, and time. To begin with, groups don’t have easy access to the necessary data, even though the components of the data almost certainly exist in pockets throughout the company—the cost per hour of the CSRs’ time, the number of customers who’ve spent more than $500 in the last 12 months, the current rate of repeat purchases within 3 months, and so on. Also, there is no expectation—few if any metrics or incentives—to help make this type of experimentation a part of someone’s job. And few people are given the time to act on these ideas. Too often, there simply isn’t a minute to explore the possibilities; immediate concerns override such experimentation to the point of complete exclusion. The consequence: managers make decisions on “gut feel,” or, more often, they don’t act on their hunches and instead just move on to their next tasks.

    That’s what’s typical today. But a new corporate model is emerging: young companies that aren’t dogged by heavyweight legacy IT systems and that are infusing data into many more of

    the decisions their managers make every day. Amazon’s chief technology officer, Werner Vogels, has stated that Amazon’s free-flowing data-services model enables the company to respond very quickly to new ideas. At companies such as Amazon, LinkedIn, and Facebook, data is the new lingua franca: managers are expected to come to meetings with proposals, but those that aren’t backed by hard data are unlikely to get a hearing.

    The advantage that these companies have is this: without existing IT systems to contend with, they’ve implemented a data architecture that is focused on data sharing (see “Industrialized Data Services” in Technology Vision 2012). In essence, through data services, thei