Gauging your organization’s readiness to drive digital disruption

used with permission from IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub
by James Kobielus

Disruptors such as Airbnb, Netflix and Uber have overturned the established order in the respective lodging, entertainment and transportation industries. They use digital technologies to bring greater immediacy, responsiveness and convenience to the reimagined customer experience. They’re tapping into data-driven insights to optimize everything from their front-end customer engagement channels to their internal processes and distributed supply chains. And they’re monetizing these insights into robust revenue growth and profitability.

Readiness criteria for assessment

How can you know whether your company has what it takes to be a digital disruptor? Here are the strategic criteria that you can use to assess your organization’s potential as a disruptive digital innovator.

  • Digitization: How rapidly does your company adopt digital technologies—including cloud, social and mobile computing; big data analytics; and the Internet of Things—into every process, touch point, channel and application?
  • Foresight: How proactively does your organization use digital tools to sense market shifts, capture previously unaddressed opportunities and rapidly deliver predictive insights into every decision?
  • Innovation: How imaginatively does your organization leverage digital technologies to revolutionize the customer experience; experiment with new go-to-market approaches; or deliver new value solutions that are simpler, cheaper and better than the competition?
  • Agility: How rapidly does your organization use digital intelligence to adjust its processes and partnerships to stay ahead of the competition, respond to changes in the marketplace, seize new opportunities and neutralize strategic threats?
  • Culture: How consistently does your organization build digital intelligence skills and practices, empower personnel to take data-driven risks and incentivize evidence-driven decision making? And how uniformly does it provide open access to data and analytics tools; foster collaboration among data and business professionals; and encourage iterative experimentation, tracking and analysis across all operations?
  • Data: How extensively does your organization incorporate both internal and external data to drive decisions, processes and operations, and how thoroughly do you leverage business intelligence, predictive analysis, cognitive computing, streaming analytics, data lakes and other key data investments to harvest digital intelligence?

Strategic steps to disruption

One of the keys for digital disruption is the infusion of the tools, skills and methodologies of cloud-based cognitive analytics in every aspect of business operations. In digital-first and data-driven business cultures, disruption involves taking several strategic steps.

Democratize data analytics skills

Accelerate the democratization of self-service data analytics across the enterprise by making cloud-based cognitive, predictive and other analytics tools accessible within everybody’s workspaces.

Provision sophisticated tools to team members

Unify your data analytics tools in a cloud-based environment that incorporates an integrated library of machine learning, streaming analytics, graph computing, natural language processing and other algorithms. The integrated library needs to also include an enterprise-ready data lake that combines object storage, NoSQL databases, Apache Hadoop and other cloud-based data platforms in a hybrid architecture.

Provide strong collaboration and governance

Instill a cloud-based collaboration capability that empowers distributed analytics development teams comprising business analysts, data engineers, data scientists and developers to tackle more ambitious data-centric initiatives. You can do so by implementing a shared public, private or hybrid cloud service for flexible development, deployment and management of data-driven analytics applications. The cloud-based collaboration environment needs to incorporate robust tools for lifecycle governance of data, machine learning models and other key development artifacts.

Foundations of digital intelligence

For an excellent overview of how real businesses are creating an organizational foundation for digital intelligence and incorporating these and other tools and methodologies into their operations, download these complimentary Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reports: