A lack of data, or bad data, is often cited as an obstacle to launching a digital transformation. However, at Wonder Services, we see it differently. We see data issues and concerns as key drivers for a digital transformation.
A digital transformation isn’t just about automating processes and driving cost efficiencies. A key benefit of a successful digital transformation is enterprise-wide visibility and rapid access to good data. This enables smarter, faster decision-making, risk reduction, improved customer experience, increased predictability, and enhanced supplier management.
When faced with bad data or missing data, businesses may shy away from initiating any type of digital transformation. This is often due to fear of failure or lack of understanding on how best to proceed forward. However, when looked at from another perspective, data problems highlight where and how improvements are needed and become a catalyst for change. As part of our case for change and detailed planning, we review and incorporate what it will take to transform or cleanse your data so that we can conquer this hurdle together.
Let’s take a look at how data challenges can be used as an advantage when launching a digital transformation project.
Data Gaps Are Key to Aligning Change Agents
As former practitioners, we’ve been a part of many discussions that ended with some version of “we don’t know how much we are spending in that category” or “we are working on a complete list of suppliers.” Data is often hard to identify and assemble because it sits in silos across the organization. As part of the early work, procurement will need to navigate those silos to gather whatever information is available.
Gathering this information presents a great opportunity. This work can be the start of aligning agents of change to support the digital transformation. All of these parties—finance, HR, IT, operations—will begin to see gaps in their current systems and how limited of a view they actually have. This reality becomes fuel for the business case.
This process alone will begin to build relationships across the silos that can become the nucleus for a cross-functional project team. These stakeholders will have the opportunity to be part of the change instead of feeling like an afterthought in the process.
This process will also identify the interdependency of data which will help form the vision for the future state that stakeholders can rally around: a faster, smarter, integrated operating model.
Bad Data Becomes an Opportunity
Bad data can be confusing, make it difficult to quantify ROI, and is generally frustrating when trying to make decisions. However, this is precisely what drives digital transformation initiatives forward.
Data issues become flashing red lights that indicate there is indeed a need to provide better data for better decisions across departments. With access to more accurate and comprehensive data comes greater visibility into operations and performance, which helps drive more informed decision-making at all levels of the business—from executives to frontline employees.
Additionally, dissecting the root cause of the bad data can identify process issues. Unraveling these issues will often highlight a gap or a broken process that may not have been considered in the initial planning.
All of this work can become the foundation for the data strategy post-transformation. It also begins to form the baseline for KPIs as you will begin to see what data will be available in the future state.
The People Element
At Wonder Services, we put people first as we strengthen data strategies. This process of identifying gaps, digging deep into data sources, validating data, and report gathering will often highlight upskilling possibilities for your internal team.
You will discover that some people will enjoy the process and have a natural interest in the data, while others may not be strong in analytics. As there will be new role expectations post-transformation, new opportunities for training and development opportunities will also be presented. Handled properly, these can all be used as positive scenarios that will empower your team while ensuring that the organization maximizes the new data and sustains the change.
If you’re looking for ways to overcome data concerns as a starting point for your business’s digital transformation journey, we’d love to chat with you. Or, if you’ve started a process and need to rebuild momentum, we look forward to hearing more about your initiative so we can achieve success together.