Sudhish Mohan, CIO & COO TransUnion Africa
Problem is, most South African companies have yet to move forward seriously with any sort of digital transformation journey. PwC’s Strategy& Global Digital Operations Study 2018 found that only 10% of global manufacturing companies are dubbed as ‘Digital Champions’, while almost two-thirds have barely or not yet begun the digital journey – including most local companies. In fact, the report said most of the manufacturing companies surveyed in South Africa fell into the Digital Novice category (the least digitally mature companies in the report).
So, where to start on the data journey? You need to know exactly what questions you want your data to answer. This is not a fishing trip. It’s no use spending a lot of time and money on embarking on an open-ended exercise, where you collect as much data as possible and then see what turns up. Simply asking what patterns the data points show is not going to show you much of use.
You must figure out your competitive advantage using analytics, ideas and innovation on what to do with your data. That means asking the big business questions: How can you improve profits and increase revenues? The analysis should quickly uncover the areas of real opportunity in your business, whether that’s faster time to market for product development, streamlined maintenance schedules or quicker deliveries and customer service.
Don’t assume that just because you’re in the technology or data business that you have a head start. You may have dozens of people that you could classify as data scientists. But are you really using the insights you have to drive productivity and the capabilities of the company? Chances are, there’s much more you could be doing.
The important thing to realise is that digital transformation isn’t an IT project. Data analytics is a business matter. It’s a strategic driver of change and transformation across the entire organisation. It’s about putting data and analytics front and centre of the business, creating a culture around using data, and developing your people to think in a particular way.
It’s going to be uncomfortable at times. To digitally transform, your people will have to learn to adapt to the pace of change in the new digital world. They must be willing to change, unlearn their current ways of working and relearn new ways of working. This will mean driving a mindset shift within your business, changing the way you work, and evolving into a fit-for-the-future organisation.
If you haven’t started on your digital transformation yet, do it now. The future of your business depends on it.