Is there a single, definitive answer to companies asking for the killer application to support their business? Although we acknowledge that some emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things or the blockchain have a high evolutionary impact, it all depends on the company background, its industry and target customers, the goals its senior management is set to achieve.
Some fresh insights come from a recent survey by SDA Bocconi (School of Management of Bocconi University in Milan, Italy). According to this research, in the short and medium term, most businesses will concentrate their investments in two main areas, people and data.
Quite easy to understand why human resources are under the spotlight: employees represent a strategic asset for any organisation, and they could dramatically influence performance regarding sales, customer satisfaction and retention. Considering up to 10% of today’s jobs might become obsolete due to digital transformation (that’s what about 35% of surveyed managers believe), considerable effort should be dedicated to education and training, strengthening technological and soft skills, reinforcing leadership and forward-looking thinking.
Data are another property that some companies are still underestimating. Leveraging advanced analytics, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning techniques, it is already possible to unlock the value that information has, turning it into actionable knowledge to make evidence-based decisions. This might lead to smarter asset management, streamlined internal workflows, better resource planning, and even a more accurate comprehension of market and customers behaviours.
In the past, collecting and analysing data was a back-office task, so it was all about efficient reporting to keep costs under control. Nowadays, most companies know that data management is fundamental to drive any process and any workflow, from routine to business-critical tasks. Data quality and timely management improve transparency, thus supporting corporate governance and regulatory compliance, enables organisational, and business change shortens time to market by increasing business agility and responsiveness.
When a company has its strategic direction clear in mind, data can make the difference in reaching its objectives. With the right people, of course.