Democratize data to boost innovation
Providing open access to data – through a system where data is collected, stored, processed, and managed effectively, giving employees self-service access to timely and reliable insights – is key to building-in innovation and adaptability. Gartner predicts that, by 2023, organizations that promote data-sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics.
Fewer than half of leaders (46%) in our study said they are sufficiently digitally well-equipped to ensure business continuity in times of crisis. In companies where data is fully accessible, that proportion rose above three-quarters (76%). If employees are to contribute fully to optimizing the digital transformation of their organizations, including improving processes and developing innovative new products and services for the digital age, they require access to stored data and insights.
Investment in modern data architecture is crucial; the operational and data silos of legacy systems restrict businesses’ growth. When there is one reliable source for financial, people, and operational data, everyone can access real-time insights to make sound decisions, at pace, in response to changing business needs.
The right headspace for change
A critical aspect of cultivating innovation and flexibility is empowering decisions at every level. About half of leaders (52%) in our study said that their organizational culture enables the business to embrace change. This rose to 85% among companies where data is fully accessible.
A “fail-fast” mentality (trying new ideas with high potential but minimal viable scope prior to extensive investment) is essential to effective innovation. However, the culture of experimentation that gathered pace during the pandemic has fallen back, with many businesses no longer confident in this approach. This is backed up by our research: in our latest study, only 53% said they had a fail-fast mentality, compared with 77% in 2020.
While an innovative mentality is important, finding a sustainable approach to change is a key consideration for businesses. Digital transformation must be an ongoing effort, from the implementation of technology to its ongoing use and development.
Digital leaders can find it difficult to balance experimentation with the need for steady progress. By better aligning transformation with specific company-wide strategic priorities, organizations can support a more measured approach that maintains momentum towards long-term goals.
Four steps to success
It’s important for digital leaders to remember that the acceleration gap is a global problem, and is partly a product of our current circumstances. There is a worldwide skills shortage, and every budget has its limit.
However, there are key steps that should be taken to help overcome these barriers to transformation:
- Take an integrated approach: plan technical and people investment simultaneously, offering skills development or training with the implementation of every new technology.
- Create a “change-ready” culture of innovation.
- Ensure data accessibility, empowering agility at every level of the company.
- Use your business’s specific strategic priorities as the basis for every development or initiative.
If you are always guided by your specific goals – even if there are significant challenges along the way – you will be transforming in the right direction.