Lights and Technology
24 October 2022

Noesis: companies are only data-driven when "strategy is defined based on information"

The sixth edition of the Lisbon Data & AI Forum event spoke about the importance of companies having a strategy focused on data as being fundamental for their success

Returning to a face-to-face format, Noesis' event dedicated to data and artificial intelligence revealed trends, which are the biggest challenges for organizations to have a data-driven culture.

Luís Gonçalves, Data Analytics & AI Director at Noesis, explained that "nowadays all organizations value data and no one questions its importance", but for an organization to be data-driven it is necessary that "data is already influencing the dynamics, the strategy and in all departments" of the company. He pointed out that these companies have "the ability to make better and more efficient decisions, the ability to better control the actions they take since they can measure and monitor them, but essentially the ability to react to what is not going well or to capitalize on something that is going well".

In this state of maximum maturity of a company about data, "all employees are affected in some way and use the data". The head also spoke of the importance of boards being aligned with a "data driven culture", since this "implies a transformation of mentalities" and that therefore, the board "has to perceive the value brought by data so that there is this change".

Majority is data-aware

There are three main phases in which companies can find themselves about data and Luís Gonçalves pointed out that "more than 90% of national companies have already passed the data-aware phase". At this level, data "is no longer a nice-to-have, but something that has to be present" and where "there is already at least one department that makes decisions based on data, although it is not yet general throughout the organization". The next stage is "data critical, where there are already several departments using data, this mentality is spreading throughout the company and there are already many decisions based on information". Finally, there are the "data-driven" companies, which is when the company's strategy is defined by information. According to Noesis' experience, there are "very few companies in this last state in Portugal", but Luís Gonçalves revealed to businessIT that "there are already several Portuguese organizations that are data-critical". In most cases, "large Portuguese companies" make "large investments" in this area.

The evolution of mentality "is not a technological problem", but "technological platforms are needed to create a data culture", said the director of the area of data, analytics and AI of Noesis. Moreover, it is also necessary to "continuous training, personalized days for each employee, as each person has different skills and the creation of collaborative communities to create mutual help between team members and reduce frustration" and resistance to change.

Changing mentalities

Luís Gonçalves also clarified the pillars of a data-driven culture, which "go through a change of mentalities" so that "people understand that change is in their favor and not against them" and that it has to come from the top. On the other hand, also essential is "a culture of experimentation, where there is no fear of failure; improving existing skills (knowing a bit about algorithms and how to work with information and data storytelling to demonstrate what data can do) and investing in data literacy". He said that "everyone in an organization should use data" so that those who are less technological but know the business can contribute. There is no "loss of knowledge". Other pillars are "create self-service models and automate tasks to improve access to information and solidify the datasets to ensure quality, security and that the information does not cease to have value".

About the challenges, Luís Gonçalves, highlighted "tool fatigue", that is, tool fatigue when having to work with dozens of different applications. To mitigate this situation, he said one should "reduce the number of platforms that users use and reduce the tasks as this brings productivity gains".

At the end, Luís Gonçalves made a summary of the data analytics market and what the future should be. Thus, at this moment, most companies are in a phase of "descriptive analytics in which they know what they sold, what they bought, etc., in other words, they know what happened"; there is also a large set of organisations that are in a phase of "predictive analytics, in which you can predict what is going to happen, what the client wants to buy, what he is going to sell". He clarified that "the goal should be to get to descriptive analytics", where data "shows you what you should do, that connects artificial intelligence and automation and triggers actions and gives smart insights to make businesses successful and competitive".

Published (in portuguese) in business.IT