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Companies can learn a lot from each other’s data. By sharing, exchanging, and collaborating with data, in what Capgemini calls data ecosystems, organizations would be able to generate more revenue, boost customer satisfaction, improve productivity, and reduce costs.
CapGemini‘s chief data architect, Steve Jones, and artificial intelligence and analytics group offer leader Anne-Laure Thieullent discussed the business impact of AI and data ecosystems with Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, during VentureBeat’s Transform 2021 virtual conference on Monday.
The CapGemini Research Institute released a report on analyzing companies’ grasp of data. The report focused on two factors — data behaviors and technology. Data behaviors refers to how companies use technology to make decisions and how development of data literacy skills are set up through the business to democratize the use of data, Thieullent explained. The second factor looks at the technology the companies used, or how they have progressed in using machine learning techniques on their values forecasts or analytics.
CapGemini’s researchers found that only 16% of organizations could be classified as advanced along both factors. These so-called data masters are 22% more profitable than their peers, and they generated 70% more revenue on average per employee, the report found.
Taking data and AI systems seriously
When did companies begin to take data and AI seriously? Part of the interest came about because of the hype around AI, Thieullent said.
“With the fear that jobs like legal, marketing, HR, and finance are going to be disrupted by AI and automation, business leaders have started to really get into tech and understand how they could master their own destiny,” Thieullent said.
Many businesses have also become more interconnected. For example, retailers that want to understand their customers’ buying patterns can learn a lot by looking at the data collected by their logistic partners. In the pharmaceutical industry, companies can learn from each other’s research and development efforts.
“What if you could learn from drug discovery data from many pharma companies in order to bring to market safer drugs faster?” Thieullent asked.
Recognizing the value of data ecosystems
Thieullent defined a data ecosystem as “partnerships among organizations that allow them to share data and insights to create new value.” The potential of ecosystem-based data sharing can reach more than 9% of the total annual revenue of an organization, she noted.
Companies that deeply engage in data ecosystems generate more sales from fixed assets and twice the market capitalization, Thieullent said.
The benefits also go beyond finances: CapGemini found that data ecosystems can improve customer satisfaction by 15%, increase efficiency by 14%, and reduce annual costs by 11%.
One of the reasons companies began sharing data was because they saw what AI can do with the data, CapGemini’s Jones said. For instance, forecasting the supply chain can involve data related to weather, logistics, and manufacturing. This kind of interconnectivity has pushed companies to look beyond the limitations of their businesses.
“They’re recognizing that they can actually have business decisions and make optimizations which are driven by things that aren’t under their control, that aren’t what they know,” Jones said.
Companies should start from within, and consider what success looks like for different teams and striking a balance. For the chief information officer, it’s about changing people’s mindsets to think of data as an asset and not just what system or table the data comes from, Jones said.
Jones’ advice: “Stop sweating the data technology. Stop sweating the infrastructure technologies. Industrialization, standardization, and looking at how you govern data as an asset, not table storage mechanisms.”
Thieullent urged companies to start thinking about the data they don’t have and who they can work with to get it. “Think of what you could do if you had access to the data to better know your end customer and build new products,” she said.
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