"Permacrisis" being chosen as Collins Dictionary's word of the year is a clear indicator of the uncertainty that has been experienced around the globe - a knock-on effect owing to the pandemic and other geo-political events.
Now, with concerns of fiscal difficulties ahead, this uncertainty may continue to be felt into 2023. For organisations to weather these turbulent times and come out stronger, innovation will be more crucial than ever before.
In fact, research from InterSystems has found that almost three-quarters (74%) of business leaders in the UK and Ireland view innovation as vital to their survival, driven by the desire to remain agile and futureproof their organisation.
While ongoing challenges, such as skills gaps and labour shortages, may make many businesses feel innovation is beyond their reach, this needn't be the case. Arming themselves with accurate, real-time data can empower organisations to overcome these issues and make the data-driven decisions needed to innovate. With data often siloed and not easily accessible by all, democratising data will play a crucial role in helping organisations achieve their innovation potential.
Therefore, rather than putting the brakes on innovation initiatives, organisations must continue to forge ahead with innovation initiatives or risk falling behind the pack.
The role of data democratisation
In a large proportion of organisations, gaining access to data and insights requires input from the IT team or data scientists. Competing priorities and labour shortages, therefore, can mean those requests for insights go unanswered for some time and can lead to decisions being made on inaccurate, outdated data.
Data democratisation helps to overcome these issues by empowering all business users with access to data, enabling them to make the data-driven decisions needed to innovate and ensure the enterprise doesn't stand still. Increasingly, organisations are turning to a smart data fabric architecture to achieve this.
A next-generation data architecture, the smart data fabric, accesses and harmonises data from existing systems and silos inside and outside the organisation on demand, ensuring that the information is both current and accurate. This allows users to obtain complete, real-time end-to-end visibility of the organisation and its customers.
From here, dynamic self-service data exploration capabilities embedded within the fabric enable business users to explore the data, ask ad hoc questions, and drill down via additional queries based on initial findings. The interactive and iterative manner in which they are able to do this puts the data directly into the hands of those who need it and minimises reliance on IT.
Adding business value
With direct access to real-time data, not only are business users are able to make data-driven, 'in the moment' decisions to increase innovation, but IT teams and data scientists are also freed up. No longer tasked with spending significant amounts of time sourcing data and insights for a variety of other business units, IT teams can instead focus more on the value-adding aspects of their roles, such as continuing to further the organisation's digital transformation strategies and helping to increase innovation as a result.
Furthermore, embedded analytics capabilities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning allow enterprises to increase automation of the more mundane and time-consuming, but necessary tasks within an organisation, thereby helping to mitigate the skills gaps many are facing. With budgets likely to be tightened amid tough economic conditions, this use of technology will help resources to go further, but without increasing the strain on individuals.
Tangible innovation results
While many organisations are likely to be hesitant about what lies ahead in 2023, decelerating innovation initiatives at such a pivotal time could end up adding to their woes. Instead, by using data to understand the greatest opportunities and how to capitalise on them will be the more fruitful approach.
For instance, with a 360-degree view of customer and business data, employees can better understand the pain points their customers are having and how best to solve them, and consequently, launch additional revenue-generating services. Similarly, by harnessing data, organisations can better understand where cost and efficiency saving can be made and undertake the innovation initiatives needed to make those changes a reality.
Ultimately, empowering employees with data and automation will help organisations to undertake the innovation initiatives needed to see them through these turbulent times and obtain the tangible business benefits that will help them not just survive but thrive in today's unpredictable climate.
This post was sponsored by InterSystems