Can insights at the CXO’s fingertips power data-driven culture?

Businesses have the data, they have the insights— but how do they improve the execution? We could start with smartphones.
6 December 2019

Business insights at a swipe. Source: Shutterstock

It’s no secret that businesses are amassing many, many millions of gigabytes of data every day. 

That presents the opportunity to draw insights and trends, which empowers organizations with the intelligence to make informed business and market decisions at the right time— hire a new salesperson, for example, move workloads into the cloud, or invest more than $50 billion into smart mobility R&D (if you’re Hyundai). 

The ability to analyze business and market data, and execute decisions based on insights gleaned, can be a boon to competition, and that is why Chief Data Officers are becoming some of the best-renumerated leaders in business today. 

That said, drawing insights is one thing, the execution part is another— and while being a strong analyst is one thing, getting the CEO to sign-off can be a Herculean task in itself. 

Data storytelling on the go

Data ‘storytelling’ has become a fundamental tenet of a good data scientist; it’s the ability to communicate the valuable, albeit ‘dry’ numbers of data insights into meaningful information that ultimately helps to engage action. 

That’s not to say business-leaders that hold the pursestrings and executive power are not clued up on the power of data in business today— 70 percent say data-driven culture results in increased productivity, minimized risks, quicker decision making, and improved financial performance.

However, as data continues to gather, businesses will find it increasingly challenging to capitalize on insights effectively, in real-time. The working day is short and despite the abilities of the data analyst team to communicate its value, there is finite time for leaders to spend in a room with analysts looking at numbers on a big screen. 

The answer, then, lies in accessibility— It’s crucial for data to be easily accessible and explainable for stakeholders across organizations, anywhere. 

According to a study by Domo, some 98 percent of business executives believe better access to data on mobile devices can elevate the business decision-making process. 

Moreover, a study by Dimensional Research shows 96 percent of teams believe if stakeholders from all levels of organizations have better access to decision-making data, it will drive business to make decisions more effectively. In addition, about 9 out of 10 want to share documents and collaborate on mobile devices instantly. 

Amid to the tos and fros and of on-boarding new tech and practices across disparate areas of the business, two-thirds (65 percent) of leaders found it tough to react fast enough to dynamic market conditions and innovation opportunities, and open themselves up to critical risks. 

Close to half said getting all the right stakeholders to agree on the decisions that affect the business was holding things back. More than a quarter (28 percent), meanwhile, said they didn’t understand the implications of their decisions owed to a lack of visibility across the business. 

An insights app?

It’s easy to imagine that one solution, enabling for agile decision-making ‘on-the-fly’, would be a centralized, company-wide app. Managed by the analytics team, members of the company could access insights that might influence key decisions throughout their day or ongoing projects. 

Access might be permission-based; the analytics team might ‘push’ insights in real-time for the eyes of a CXO only— wherever they may be— while more junior employees could log in to access a more limited overview of key company or market insights.

Advancing this further, and we can imagine that the same app is AI and voice-enabled; on their taxi to meet with a consultant, for example, the CEO might ask for “quick rundown of quarterly forecasts”, with the app able to quickly comb through data to present clear insights back to the user. 

There are, of course, limitations to this vision. The same Domo study found that 56 percent of respondents thought some reports would not be conducive for small-screen viewing, while close to half were deterred by security risks of viewing the organization’s data— indeed, a voice assistant might not be prudent for use outside of the office.

Despite the current limitations, the possibility of an “anywhere, anytime” insights platform helping business decisions to become truly ‘data-driven’ certainly holds promise, where analysts can convey the meaning they need to, and leaders can respond on the spot, or request further information if required. 

Available to the wider team, such initiatives can promote collaboration and encourage the mobility of information, breaking down siloed data between individuals and departments, and broadening team awareness and education about the company and industry day-by-day, week-by-week. 

A recent survey by Code Computerlove revealed the average screen time for consumers in the UK is three hours and twenty-three minutes per day (that’s 50 days in a year). The time increases among young people aged 16 to 24, who spend an average of four hours a day, totaling up to 60 days in a year. 

With that in mind, it may not be long before this trend takes off as the new generation of the workforce (the Gen-Zs) will be making up 20 percent of the employee base by 2020, and their mobile habits will arrive with them. Of course, codes of conduct and rigid protocol would have to play a central role to make it viable.