Innovation and Strategy - By Barbara Adey

I presented on automation and analytics at the National Association of Corporate Directors Tech Symposium in July.  There was a lively debate at the conference on whether “a company needs a data strategy”.  Lots of ways to interpret the phrase, and I offer the following.

Data is a valuable tool in the development of an innovation strategy that answers these questions:

  • How can we expand our markets?
  • How might our existing revenues be vulnerable to disruption?
  • How can we continue to reduce our costs?

It’s unlikely that the idea for Amazon’s Alexa came from data analytics.  The product concept was no doubt refined with the use of data analytics, but the inspiration had to have come from human imagination.   Any significant market expansion will come from creative experimentation based on a deep understanding of customer needs and of potential combinations of technologies.

Disruption is well understood by technical leaders within the company.  By technical leaders, I mean the people in engineering and product management who spend time outside the four walls of the company.  They always know about pending disruption, but their message may be muted on the way up the management chain.

Cost reduction can be driven by automation and analytics.  The key is to take a fresh approach to process design rather than simply re-instantiating the current state.   This requires a rare skill set to imagine what could be while also having a detailed understanding of current operations.

Throughout, data hygiene is required.  Cybersecurity, specifically a secure operations approach of continuous diagnostics and mitigation, is critical.   It’s important to listen and to make intelligent use of all kinds of data that are generated across the organization.  Insights come from many places, and the challenge is to move from insight to action.

Learn more about our newest Strategic Advisor, Barbara Adey

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