The Big Decision Behind Digital Transformation
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
In the era of big data and an increasingly competitive global economy, leading companies across nearly every industry have joined the race toward digital transformation. Overlooking the power of modern business intelligence tools, such as big data analytics and machine learning, represents more than a costly mistake for those at the helm. It spells a lack of insight into both the holistic performance of an organization and the granular details of its operations. This leads to inefficient organizational processes that quickly become a significant drain on company resources. All in all, such businesses underperform their more technologically-inclined peers. The rapid collection, analysis, and interpretation of data sets allows leading business executives to make data-driven decisions that further their competitive advantages in the market.
Several decades ago, when the field of business intelligence was in its infancy, companies relied on dozens of spreadsheets to record, analyze, and attempt to visualize their company data. Those tasked with such work, deemed “business analysts”, created reports on a recurring basis to draw insight into company performance, trends, and model future scenarios. Not only was this tedious, time-consuming, and ultimately costly, but the process represented a shift in company resources away from its core operations. With the advent of cloud computing and the evolution of business intelligence software tools, this process was quickly transformed. Fast-forward to 2020, and the market for business intelligence is projected to continue its impressive growth to reach over $22 Billion USD next year.
The current business intelligence landscape allows companies to automate the vast majority of work previously assigned to business analysts, from financial planning and analysis to visualizing operational trends and KPIs. By leveraging the cloud architecture provided by tech giants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, business leaders can maintain incredibly vast data sets without dedicated servers and on-premise storage. In addition, the aforementioned firms provide robust database and data warehousing solutions, allowing companies to aggregate, clean, and validate their data across business divisions. Furthermore, data visualization platforms are an incredibly powerful feature of the modern executive tool belt, swiftly translating this analysis into actionable insight. Microsoft’s Power BI and Salesforce’s Tableau lead the pack with enterprise solutions that allow for the elegant synthesis of business data, and tremendous customization to fit each business case. For startups, several free tools exist to provide their management with quick insights into company performance, and to predict future scenarios through machine learning, all at an affordable rate. Powered by end-to-end automation and data visualization, modern businesses are able to shift valuable resources toward core operations and furthering their competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Despite the existence of robust business intelligence tools for companies across all industries, from early-stage startup to dominant enterprise, a surprising number of firms are still relying on old-school methods, experiencing the phenomenon aptly-dubbed “death by spreadsheet.” A recent report conducted by a leading global management consulting firm concluded that only 30% of companies have undergone digital transformation. This, of course, leaves a whopping 7 out of 10 companies hesitant to make the switch to implementing digital solutions, be them cloud data management or business intelligence tools. There are many reasons for this shocking figure, but two stand out from the rest. Firstly, digital transformation can be an expensive process, especially in firms lacking the internal resources and wherewithal to do so in-house. However, the return on investment (ROI) for such projects is often many times the initial cost; this sticker shock remains a major deterrent nonetheless. Secondly, many executive teams are simply not aware of the plethora of opportunities available to them, and often live by the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mantra. Facing unprecedented global competition, such a school of thought is often misguided.
By leveraging the cutting-edge business intelligence tools now available, companies can prioritize core operations and discover data-driven insights not visible through traditional analytical methods. The end result? An executive team armed with the ability to visualize the impact of its decisions in real time, and a more efficient decision-making process that minimizes extraneous expenditures and bolsters profitability.
At The Astral Consulting Group, we approach every business case with a clean slate, and apply our unique framework to build workflows to suit each client's individual needs. Our founding partners come from engineering backgrounds, and understand the importance of reasoning from the ground up. As such, we combine this "first-principles" style of thinking with a holistic growth mindset to evaluate each case from both the top-down and bottom-up. This creates a comprehensive process unique to each solution we develop, and gives our clients insight into both the granular details of their business and supports strategic decision making to propel them forward.