The most valuable companies in the world have developed digital platforms or engage with organizations that offer a platform ecosystem. Think Amazon, Apple, Uber, or Alibaba.

Not all businesses have moved to a platform system, but the majority of executives now should understand how the platform way of doing business sets it apart. To succeed, today’s leaders not only need to know the platform strategy, but also learn how it connects with data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and data strategy.

The Digital Strategy and Analytics program at IMD introduces executives to new techniques in the areas of data and digital analytics.

IMD spoke to some recent participants in the program who are leading their organizations forward.

Pedro Carreiras is Senior Engineer for Operations Excellence at the ADNOC Group. His sector, oil and gas, is facing many challenges – particularly in the areas of robotics in refineries, cybersecurity, and storing data in the cloud. But he believes his industry will see leaps forward soon, thanks to strategy and data.

Before doing Digital Strategy and Analytics, he says do some homework first. “To get the most out of it, you can bring your specific challenges with you to discuss with the professors. That way you get more value out of the course back at the office right away.”

Moving on to a very different industry, Nicholas Hyett, Technology and Innovation Manager at the International Federation of Volleyball, says data is his organization’s bread and butter. “Data is the DNA of our Olympic disciplines of volleyball and beach volleyball.”

“We sit on a mountain of data. The challenge is how to use it in a strategic way. What I’ve learned at IMD is that we’re moving in the right direction, but we need to fine tune and implement our strategy.”

“I think one of the challenges in the field of machine learning and data science analytics is that the words sound ‘sexy’, almost as if they are hype, or buzzwords,” said Sharon Langer, Director at Horsham Childcare Services.

For Langer, the bigger picture challenge is turning rich and complicated data into something that can be actionable in a business context. Thanks to the course, she feels more confident that she can bring the two sides together. Now, she has “the tool set to go out and make a difference in my company tomorrow.”

Crystal (Tsz Ying) Chui, Editor for Bloomberg Finance and Insurance was looking for a fresh understanding of data analytics, with a hands-on experience.

Because of the sheer volume of data available, “It's just getting really difficult to sort out signals from noise”. Chui has learned which questions to ask to paint a better picture with data.

She also took in knowledge from her peers. “They are experts in their fields, and to me it's a very rare opportunity, and it's very powerful to be able to pick their brains and learn from their experiences.”

Digital Strategy & Analytics is part of a series of Digital programs at IMD. It can be taken as a stand-alone program, and also complements well our Leading Digital Business TransformationDigital Execution, and Leading in the Digital Age programs, all of which lead you to the IMD Digital Excellence Diploma.