• Melanie Foster

Does Your Data Move You Toward the Business Outcomes You Want?

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Many organisations are missing the boat when it comes to capitalising on technology. For any transformation project to be successful, it is crucial to review the planned business outcomes and, notably for digitisation, how any underpinning data will be managed.

The process of digital transformation is multi-layered. As Stephen Covey famously said, it is essential to “Begin with the End in Mind.” Adopting technology to keep up with competitors or to utilise available budget is not sufficient. Neither is trying to navigate often unstructured data, which only eats up significant resources.

While speed, productivity and efficiency are paramount for companies to survive and thrive, the best agile leaders also know that technology investment is only part of the equation. A roadmap for cloud adoption, data usage, talent enablement and ongoing governance is essential.

How any outcomes will be achieved and benefits realised is dependent on adequate due diligence, planning and risk management across the horizontal layers of the organisation.

How will you define your data-driven outcomes?

By straddling the intersection between business and technology strategy.

All transformation projects require a holistic approach from the implementation team; the technology engineers, the data transformers that are skilled in interpreting the value of data through useful insights, and their business peers. This ensures that everyone in the organisation can leverage data for multiple purposes across all lines of business and ultimately drive strategic decision making.

We noted in early June, in response to the article Shipping Industry Goes Digital in Lockdown, we noted that the maritime industry was struck by the global financial crisis at the beginning of the 20th century, resulting in high fuel costs, oversupply and stagnant demand. The response from some industry players was to continue with orders for new, more efficient ships, each one equipped with satellite broadband. Shipowners who embraced digitalisation then, were the first to stabilise their businesses and grow as the economy recovered.

The same is happening now with the push for digital transformation across many organisations and sectors.

Current examples of digital transformation in the maritime industry

Maersk and IBM have created a high-profile example of large-scale digital transformation through the innovative TradeLens project, which is aimed at changing the way the supply chain communicates when ocean carriers transport goods around the world. It has a two-fold effect: it is bringing real-time digital shipping and logistics visibility across the global supply chain, empowering multiple partners to take part in their transformation by adopting blockchain technology. As a result, there is the potential for measurable ROI for everyone involved.

Blockchain technology is fundamentally a secured, shared digital distributed ledger which allows parties to have access to real-time transactions in a single-shared view. The records do not compromise privacy or confidentiality and are immutable, which means that once a new data record has been created in the ledger, it cannot be changed without the consent of all participants in the network. Essentially, the technology provides better visibility to the supply chain around tracking goods while streamlining communications.

Another case-in-point is the Voyager software platform, which is ushering in a paperless way to manage non-containerised, voyage-related transactions. A key feature of Voyager’s platform is the automation of repetitive operational tasks/workflows while allowing all parties to have data visibility without relying on hundreds of emails or spreadsheets.

Tracking global technology adoption

As industry adopts and implements these kinds of technologies, we see an acceleration of more generalised and strategic digital transformation.

In research titled “Your Legacy or Your Legend”, Accenture surveyed over 8,300 companies and their position in the technology adoption curve. Interestingly, while early adopters made up only 10 per cent of those surveyed, their company revenue growth was far above the other groups.

Our conclusion

In simple terms, investment in technology and the gathering of data is ineffective unless it can be harnessed to provide meaningful intelligence that directly impacts the bottom line. Regardless of which route you chose to follow in the short term, it is wise to fully consider the data strategy that will make or break the success of any future investment.

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