The intelligent operations advantage

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Chief Operations Officer insights from the Global C-suite Study

Is your organization drowning under a deluge of data? Or are you successfully steering your organization forward, past your competitors to gain market share? How you handle your data will affect your organization’s future, with successful organizations transforming information into intelligence and operationalizing the insights it provides.


The data deluge

The main source of this deluge of data is technology. The technological advances that we see every day are transforming the business landscape, causing data to grow exponentially.

The trend towards collaborative working is likely to accelerate, especially after our experiences with remote working during the coronavirus lockdown. This will have an impact on data as compared to working alone, being part of a network of partners is more complicated and requires sharing considerable amounts of data.

Another trend moves the emphasis from product innovation to the customer experience. This means collecting and analyzing data from every interaction with a customer to discover what the customer wants, sees, does, thinks and feels so your organization can optimize future experiences.


COO Study – Analyzing the data deluge

As part of the 4th annual Global C-Suite study from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), input from over 2,000 COOs was collected. Various statistical techniques, IBM Watson AI technologies and IBM Watson Project Debater were used to analyze the data and the insights were collated in ‘The intelligent operations advantage’ report from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) (learn more below).


Advantages of the data deluge

Is the rising tide of data an advantage or a disadvantage to your organization? According to the interviewed COOs, it is a bit of both.

Data is opening up entirely new ways of doing business, powering the development of a new operational paradigm as well as new forms of creativity. Data facilitates the automation of many decisions ranging from product recommendations for customers to routine business processes, plus it can help to automate workflows liberating the workforce to add value elsewhere in the organization.

Lastly, data supports the development of different business models. For example, platform orchestrators, organizations that operate platforms, connect suppliers directly with consumers creating a huge network effect, high returns and a flood of data.


Disadvantages of the data deluge

Unfortunately, there is also a downside to these torrents of data. When data is used for automation, it can cause new challenges or exacerbate existing risks concerning security, privacy and credibility.

Firstly, security. The increasing use of new technology results in more data of your customers, but this can make your system more vulnerable to unauthorized access. A lapse in security can have a long-lasting impact on your organization.

Secondly, customer privacy, especially as the public becomes more aware of the digital surveillance conducted by some governments and organizations and more reluctant to share their personal data. This is linked to the last concern: credibility. Customers are increasingly asking who is actually benefiting from their personal data and are worried that they are not getting a fair deal for the data they share.


Stages of data leadership

During our interviews with the COOs about how they handle the data deluge, we identified four types of organizations at different stages of their journey to data leadership.

  1. Aspirational
    At the beginning of their journey, Aspirational organizations have just started to integrate their business and data strategies.
  2. Builders
    While Builders have made some progress with the integration of their business and data strategies, they are finding it difficult to get the true value out of their data.
  3. Explorers
    Explorers have either aligned their data strategy with their business strategy, or they have managed to create considerable value from their data, but not both.
  4. Torchbearers
    Torchbearer organizations have succeeded in aligning their data strategy with their business strategy and have created considerable value from their data.

How can you become a Torchbearer COO?

Torchbearer organizations have generally a higher level of innovation, are more effective at managing change and are more likely to see outsized profits. Our analysis showed there are three core areas where Torchbearer COOs differ from other COOs.

  1. Create a culture of true data devotees
    Torchbearer COOs believe in the power of data when it comes to making decisions, and this is visible in the importance the organization places on data collection and sharing across functional boundaries.
  2. Build intelligent supply chains
    The right technology investments in intelligent automation – cloud, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile apps, robots, etc. – are essential for Torchbearer organizations to share and analyze data and access new data sources.
  3. Develop a strategy for sharing data wisely
    Having a, accurate, actionable, 360-degree view of the customer is vital for enhancing the customer experience by identifying unmet customer needs to deliver value at every customer touchpoint, turning data into revenues for Torchbearer organizations.

Discover how your organization can become a Torchbearer

Listen to the webinar ‘The intelligent Operations Advantage’ to gain insights on the COO Study.


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