Value is created through people during the reign of artificial intelligence
A lump of steel in the storage room of a factory, a breeze on the beach or an idea on paper does not bring value to a company by itself. The same can be said about data that is stored in different kinds of data storages without specific use. The lump of steel goes through a designed and automated process before it turns into an ax. However, not even the finished ax will make any money as itself; the value of the ax to the manufacturing company is in the final sales of it. In the end, the value of the ax is its help in chopping wood.
The significance and importance of data and artificial intelligence has been talked about for years and each and every even slightly bigger company tries to create value using data. However, all companies face the same challenges: the available data is scattered, or it doesn’t meet quality standards, combining different kinds of data takes a lot of work hours, the process of combining the data takes time and utilizing artificial intelligence is only on experimental level. Eventually the data is still being inserted into excel files and rounded up into power point slides. Yet platforms and tools for data management nowadays are top quality and there are many kinds of solutions available on the market for removing the problems related to data management and profitability. The amount of data or its format isn’t usually a problem either. So, what is the problem?
There are two aspects regarding profitability of data: how good is the data factory and do the end users know how to utilize the data. An ax factory is a highly automated facility with strictly designed processes. How about a data factory? Does your company manufacture custom made axes by hand, with only few employees that know the trade? How about after the end user receives their ax, will they automatically chop some wood? Or will they try to do it, only to realize that the work is too hard, and go back to ordering ready-chopped wood from the neighbor?
Data, analytics and utilizing artificial intelligence compares to any new thing in an organization. Value and profitability is created only after everyone in the organization know how to utilize the data, not only the team that works directly with it. And this, as any other new thing, requires training, repetition, encouragement, and time. Lots of value will only be created once lots of data is also utilized. Before this, value will only occur selectively. Moreover, if the data factory is working in artisan mode, value will be created slowly.
With utilizing data, as with any other new things. there is the challenge of getting over the “why should I bother” attitude. Learning new things is uncomfortable and organizations are busy. Hence, getting people to commit is essential. How do I and my company benefit from this? Why do I take more time every day to insert the data correctly, if it doesn’t help me sell more? What if you can show to the sales representative or company leader, how the data inserted turns into valuable insights that will encourage more sales and stronger partnerships?
The real value of data and artificial intelligence is created only through people. It depends on whether the people are willing to utilize the data and its results. With help of artificial intelligence, processes can be automated and optimized, but in the end, it is people that have to make the decisions and plan the big picture. Data and artificial intelligence are great helpers that can create a lot of value and competitive advantage. However, there is not such artificial intelligence that could substitute for good understanding of business and customers.
So, when dreaming about value created with data, invest in people. Make sure you have a competent data management team with clear processes, that will make the data available to everyone in the organization. And above all, make data a part of everyday life. Show with concrete examples, what can be achieved. Train the organization and set goals in a way that allows utilization of data no matter the job description.
Data is an enabler, and the more data and its possibilities are made available, the more value will be created.
Theme partner of Subcontracting Fair, Anni Rasinen, operative data lead, Fiskars