The power of data – unlocking success in digital transformation

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Written by Neil Anderson, Chief Technology Officer of Citizen & Devolved Government Services, Sopra Steria

There’s an estimated 118 zettabytes of data created, captured, copied and consumed worldwide according to Statista. The volumes of data have been increasing so fast that only 10 years ago that figure was nine zettabytes.

Data is everywhere you look, and the amount generated keeps increasing and from novel sources such as satellite and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. It’s emerged as the new currency to transform the way businesses operate. But what use is data if it’s not understood and utilised in the right ways?

Data plays a crucial role in digital transformation as it serves as the foundation for informed decision making and innovation.

The power of data

The ability to effectively leverage data has become a critical factor for success in digital transformation as it helps gain insights into customer behaviour and market trends, and it can enable data-driven decision making and alter outcomes. When maximised, you can unlock insights and use it to understand and develop business propositions for your customers.

Isolated data will only tell you so much, it needs to be used holistically to understand the wider benefits it can bring. Being able to see how different data sets interact, will help businesses in their digital transformation journeys.

The ability to understand and interpret data is crucial because it promotes transparency of what the data is and how it is used. This is critical when it comes to informed consent and using an individual’s data in an ethical way.

Leveraging the data through digital twins

Once you have your data set in an understandable format, you can start to leverage it in future planning through your business strategy.

Data plays a fundamental role in creating digital twins as virtual representations and simulations of physical objects, systems, or processes within a safe environment. Digital twins leverage data to simulate and monitor real-world events, enabling organisations to gain insights, optimise operations and make data-driven decisions.

As it’s a safe environment the collected data can help perform ‘what-if’ scenarios. By manipulating variables and parameters within the digital twin you can assess the impact of potential changes or optimisations. Then when a critical event occurs you can respond proactively and choose the most effective course of action from the data-driven insights.

Businesses with plans for ‘what-if’ scenarios can react better if they ever come to fruition.

Discovering new insights

Robust data services via the cloud are becoming more readily available and this will enable innovation. To improve decision-making and accelerate innovation we need to harness computer vision and natural language processing with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to help us understand insights from the abundance of available data.

With the data collected, computer intelligence can look at it and make conclusions and recommendations. AI and ML have the ability to deep learn, and while it can process data at a fast pace it still needs human insight to validate certain decisions.

This can be seen through Chat GPT which learns from a massive base of content from books, articles, and the internet. While it has natural language processing, allowing it to understand the nuances of language so it understands and responds like a human, the responses are not always accurate. So the data provided needs to be validated by a person.

I still see a human part in the process alongside AI. You need a human to look at what’s good and what isn’t. For example, computer intelligence can help within the medical industry to assist in detecting disease and make recommendations, but it shouldn’t replace a doctor in medical diagnosing.

AI is progressing at pace and safety remains paramount. Because of the pace and emerging power, effective controls and safeguards are required to ensure quality decisions made that are ethical and explainable, while not hindering progress towards positive outcomes. This can be hard when it comes to ML as you don’t teach it an algorithm, so you don’t always know how it comes to the decisions it makes. Establishing clear ethical guidelines are one of the first steps to take in digital ethics adoption.

Technology innovations that will impact digital transformation

It isn’t just data that is driving digital transformation. Other innovations will have a huge impact over the next few years. On Thursday 22nd June I’ll be hosting a webinar as part of Digital Leaders Week talking more about:

  • The importance of data, analytics and AI
  • Accelerating cloud native delivery with high performance DevOps teams
  • Why sustainability is so important and thinking about the impact of what we’re building
  • The role of cyber security and digital identity in digital transformation

Click here to book your place. 

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