Innovating responsibly: how data-led reinvention is driving UK businesses to differentiate

We are witnessing disruption across industries and business models at a growing pace. Every record, interaction and engagement across the economy’s complex systems is generating data. New technologies are driving the reinvention of business models to best meet the needs of consumers and citizens. IBM has worked with brands across the private and public sector, such as RBS and NHS Blood and Transplant to increase the pace and agility of innovation processes.

Data is no longer a new resource. It is a fundamental decision driver and by using data, organisations now have the opportunity to uncover even greater insights at a faster pace. However as new governance such as the GDPR become reality, companies are under even more pressure to innovate responsibly and must have the confidence that they can house their data flexibly and in the most appropriate and secure environments.

Businesses are therefore now looking to the cloud as their digital and innovation strategies develop. It is important that technology providers can instill a sense of trust and expertise so that businesses can reach their full potential when competing in the digital economy. A cloud strategy must be secure to the core and designed to be data and AI ready. This has been recognised at a European level beyond the GDPR on the basis that data protection is core to developing trust. The European Commission formed the EU Cloud of Conduct to provide guarantees over and above the minimum legal requirement for the protection of data in the cloud. IBM is proud to be one of the first major cloud providers to champion this initiative.

With an exponential rise of data and a focus on working with it responsibly, data protection is rising up the agenda of brand leaders. A recent IBM survey found that 75 per cent of security breaches take days, weeks or even months to discover - a damaging length of time for a company to lose control of its data. This is especially prevalent given the approach of the GDPR deadline in May 2018. The key is to strike that crucial balance between security, data governance and innovation.

The data driving innovation has become the lifeblood of organisations today, and innovators are now able use advanced technology to transform essential experiences.

Take RBS, for example. Its ambition was to deliver a consistent, always-on support channel at a time and place to suit the customer. A chatbot known as ‘Cora’ is the augmented intelligence solution that was developed as a ‘front door’ to handle simpler interactions, reducing the load on live agents. The use of Cloud[A1]  and Cognitive technologies enabled speed and agility in prototyping and creation which meant that Assist was created and developed in just over two months.

Another crucial aspect to digital reinvention is pace, and the impact of speeding up operations and efficiency remains to be substantial. We have been working with NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT) which operates the transplant waiting list and provides the matching and allocation processes, identifying potential recipients of every donated organ. To achieve equity and maximise utility within the UK’s organ donation structure, NHSBT is optimising its organ allocation schemes to ensure they are quickly adaptable and built on an agile development platform for modifying allocation schemes. Ultimately, this maximises utilisation or organ donation in the UK and the equity of organ allocation.

Technology is driving change. Whether making processes more agile, more cost-effective or providing the platform for insight and innovation, we are now in the era of Cloud 3.0. The priority now for organisations is to ensure they have the platform and insight to do this responsibly, with a robust governance strategy in place.

Helen Kelisky is IBM VP of cloud, UK & Ireland.