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How to use data to bolster performance and drive profitability

How organisations can unleash potential, bolster performance and drive profitability by investing in AI.

Around the globe, organisations of all kinds are fighting to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive landscape. They’re vying to drive growth, capitalise on innovation and increase profits all while operating lean.

It’s a lot for any business to juggle. But the ones that will win are those that invest in scalable, AI-powered platforms that put data at the point of decision-making, making the best use of what they already have in hand.

Data analytics; that is, the technique of analysing raw data to derive valuable insights, enables organisations everywhere to make better, faster decisions across every area of the business. This in turn drives performance, bolsters efficiencies and boosts the bottom line, allowing them to effectively compete, thrive and remain agile.

In fact, according to a recent McKinsey report, data-driven organisations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable. The proof is in the pudding – digital adoption today is key to winning tomorrow.

AI Unleashes Potential

In light of the Great Resignation, companies are laser focused on keeping their best talent onboard. While competitive compensation is one way to improve retention, there is another way, and that’s upskilling.

Technology has advanced to a point where skills-based organisations are now possible. Today, AI can infer, quantify, validate and organise skills in ways that were previously impossible.

That doesn’t mean automation is taking entire jobs from staff. Another McKinsey report found that less than five per cent of occupations are candidates for full automation. Instead, they’re simply impacting certain tasks – the mundane, repetitive ones – freeing knowledge workers to focus on more complex and creative tasks and, perhaps, even making them happier.

Data Driven Performance

According to a study by 3GEM on behalf of SnapLogic, 61 per cent of respondents said AI helped them have a more efficient and productive workday, almost half (49%) felt it improved their decision-making and accelerated time to insights, and just over half (51%) said they believe AI enables them to achieve a better work–life balance.

This data-driven culture fosters an environment of innovation and continuous performance. It unleashes the full potential of an organisation’s people.

However, it demands organisations become comfortable with speed and imperfection – waiting for a fully formed, error-free solution simply takes too long. They need to embrace AI adoption, employing an agile, iterative approach that empowers staff to quickly forge ahead with a ‘test and learn’ mentality, continuously tweaking and course-correcting until the desired result is achieved.

AI Bolsters Performance

By leveraging AI, leaders have more to rely on than gut instincts alone. They have the data, a single source of truth that makes it easier and faster to objectively analyse decisions and trajectory.

Data puts gravity behind questions like, ‘How are we performing?’ and helps to prescribe a more intelligent way forward. With the right data, leaders can be confident when making business decisions. According to a PwC survey, data-driven organisations are three times more likely to achieve major improvements in their decision-making abilities.

Decisions backed by data allow today’s organisations to take proactive steps based on what’s known – information gathered via trends and patterns – empowering them to make smart changes.

Data Driven Performance

At the same time, organisations can leverage data analytics to address their business challenges. They can use it to identify weaknesses in their processes and improve their workflows. Even more, they can harness the power of data analytics via AI-powered dashboards to streamline complex operations and boost efficiencies.

However, it’s vital that data is tied to strategy. Before gathering data, organisations need to consider their goals to streamline the data collection process and avoid wasting valuable resources.

This means collecting data from the right sources and homing in on key performance indicators that are relevant to the questions organisations are asking.

AI Drives Profitability

Just three years ago, organisations were struggling to get value from their AI investments. Today, that’s simply not the case. Many companies are spending serious money on AI and making great returns from the technology.

According to a 2022 NewVantage Partners survey, 92 per cent of large companies are achieving returns on their data and AI investments — up 48 per cent from 2017.

Unsurprisingly, ecommerce giant Amazon was an early adopter of AI. The world’s leading digital retailer, it was one of the first to use the technology to drive product recommendations, which now generates 35 per cent of its revenue.

Now Amazon’s cutting-edge approach to AI has a name – a flywheel. According to Forbes, in engineering terms, a flywheel is a deceptively simple tool designed to efficiently store rotational energy.

At Amazon, this approach keeps AI innovation humming along, encouraging energy and knowledge to span the entire company.

Even more, Amazon monetises its approach via its subsidiary Amazon Web Services, selling bespoke solutions to clients like NASA and Netflix.

Of course, being the powerhouse it is, Amazon has a leg up on most companies. However, every organisation can take notes from its success, namely breaking down silos and breaking up with bureaucracy in favour of driving innovative growth.

With AI, companies can glean a better understanding of their customers, helping sales and marketing teams adapt their strategies to better appeal to target audiences. It can also help to work out kinks in the supply chain, creating greater efficiencies.

Because AI can be leveraged to automate labour-intensive processes, it can also reduce labour costs while simultaneously improving quality. The sky truly is the limit.

AI for the Win

Data is the lifeblood of AI. The more data a company has access to, the more they can process real-time analytics, producing reliable results. Like the linchpin in agility, AI enables organisations to stay flexible and do more with less.

Accenture research shows that by 2035, AI has the potential to boost rates of profitability by an average of 38 per cent and lead to an economic boost of US$14 trillion across 16 industries and spanning 12 economies.

Companies that start preparing today can get their piece of the pie and thrive in an environment transformed by AI.

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