Digital Transformation: Data, Tools, and Culture
Data is the foundation on which you build a transformation - without it you cannot move forward. Tools are the how you view and interact with data, and culture is the actual change in thinking and action in your organization. All 3 are required for maximum value.
These three pillars are non-negotiable elements of digital transformation.
Imagine a stool with three legs. With only two legs, the stool collapses. Even with two functional legs and one wobbly leg, the stool does not hold steady. Sapere believes digital transformation is much like this stool. It has three main pillars – data, tools, and culture – and without these critical supports in place, digital transformation does not function as it should.
"Data is the foundation of digital transformation." Data is the foundation of digital transformation. To analyze data, you first need information to fuel that effort. Therefore, in order to effectively transform data, an organization must invest in its collection and storage. While this is unique to every organization, it more likely than not includes purchasing the appropriate equipment/sensors, subscriptions to online storage services, and appropriate security.
The more inputs, the more powerful your analysis and findings are. Therefore, data shouldn't be limited to the sensors on your equipment. It may come in the form of publicly available weather, traffic, or financial data. It also may be employee feedback or an analysis on customer behavior. Lastly, organizations should consider data aggregation across systems, locations, companies, and even industries.
While data is both powerful and valuable, it is virtually worthless if you cannot interpret it. Investing in the appropriate analysis and visualization tools are critical for digital transformation. Tools of all shapes and sizes exist, and therefore, tool selection should be catered towards the needs of your individual organization. In this process, there are a few key considerations to make, including the capability to analyze unstructured data, analyze large amounts of data, present analyses in a relevant manner, and properly integrate with other systems. If data are letters of the alphabet, then tools are the dictionary. Tools allow us to take seemingly disparate pieces and form words and sentences.
The most difficult piece of any digital transformation process is culture. Often, businesses try to solve problems by implementing a tool, but tools do not solve problems. Tools largely do not change how people act. Changing how people act is both intimidating and scary as well as exciting and challenging. You cannot underestimate the value of doing this right. Communicating the benefits of digital transformation, organizing the necessary trainings to implement the new tools, and creating buy-in throughout your organization is crucial. Ultimately, culture is the only way to drive meaningful and lasting changes in your company. If data is the alphabet and tools are the words, then culture is the story they tell. Culture ties digital transformation together, creating something of much more value than its individual parts.
Every business can improve how they approach the three legs of the stool: data, tools, and culture. Realistically, it is a lot easier to collect data than it is to change how an organization is structured, so these processes may naturally mature at different rates. However, each one of these legs is critical to digital transformation and it is imperative for them to work together.