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Organizational intelligence: the next data revolution

(Image credit: Future)

Digital transformation, whereby businesses achieve the productivity and performance enhancements, remains an important part of many company strategies. However, process improvement on its own isn’t enough to deliver true competitive advantage – strategic advantage that is extremely difficult for competitors to replicate.

This business-level transformation is highly dependent upon Organizational Intelligence – an organization's capability to gain maximum value from the data is has access to. For business transformation, organizations must also have a plan of how they intend to transform the way in which they gather and utilize their knowledge - all of which of course can be supported by digital transformation efforts.

According to the findings of the Fujitsu Image Scanners Organizational Intelligence Research Report 2020, 35 percent of organizations do not yet even have a digital transformation plan, despite almost half (44 percent) recognizing the improvements it can bring to productivity alone. Without this first step, developing an intelligent organization will be impossible. With business transformation in mind, is clear companies are identifying digital transformation’s benefits, but are they succeeding, and if not, what are they doing wrong?

Digital transformation drivers

The research found that for more than 50 percent of organizations, the end goal of digital transformation is company growth or remaining competitive. A key driver is the recognition that improved customer experience, leading to more repeat business, new client wins and the opening up of new markets, can be better delivered by employees able to access verified data quickly. The link between empowered employee experience enabling the delivery of improved customer experiences is backed up by a study that found that organizations which score in the Top 25 percent on employee experience report nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales when compared to organizations in the bottom quarter.

Being digitally connected has never been more important, and it may sound straightforward but 86 percent of European IT and business decision-makers report that managing the amount of information in their business is a challenge. The truth is that successful digital transformation is elusive with different organizations achieving different levels of success. This is because transforming digitally needs to be both strategic and operational in its scope. While it can deliver immediate process efficiencies, simply digitalizing existing processes isn’t enough. 

The challenges

Today’s business world is complex. Organizations comprise large numbers of people interacting with customers, partners, suppliers and other diverse systems every day in order to produce key business outcomes. The whole operation generates massive amounts of data and it is the management of this that can be the biggest challenge.

A good way to approach the data challenge is to ask yourself how you view your organization? Is it as a collection of products, processes, employees, profit centers, and tasks? If the answer is yes, then you may need a shift in perspective; away from seeing these as discrete elements and towards viewing them as a single interconnected system that is focused on driving both operational and strategic change in order to develop unique competitive advantage.

When trapped in siloes, data cannot fulfil its potential, and without this step-change in mindset, organizations might begin their digital transformation journey, but their efforts to achieve business transformation will likely prove ineffective.

Barriers to success

For businesses at the start of their digital transformation journey, information management is a pivotal hurdle to overcome. Most businesses across Europe are grappling with this challenge daily but should information management be so problematic? 

Fundamentally, it’s because most digital technologies only provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy. Such is the importance of good information management, that when it is missing the negative results impact across all levels of an organization. When staff don’t have key information easily to hand and can’t share it, cross-organizational inefficiencies increase. HR departments struggle, customers receive a poor service, and errors occur. Inefficient organizations lose revenue. 

Poor processes, inefficient workflows, and information management issues are nothing new. Business leaders face these challenges every day. For too many, however, the status quo remains, and it is a major barrier to achieving successful digital, and indeed business transformation. 

Organizational intelligence now

If your organization or business is stalling on its digital transformation journey, it’s not that you are missing a particular technology that will deliver “speed” or “innovation”. What is missing most often, regardless of what stage in the transformation journey an organization is at, is something known as organizational intelligence; every step in the journey is dependent on related knowledge and processes that span many other parts of the organization for it to be of maximum value.

Organizational Intelligence is the capacity of an organization to derive maximum value from its information. It involves the ability to create flexible knowledge pathways that add value at every stage to every employee. An intelligent organization combines multiple knowledge domains to gain insights and be able to strategically adapt to its environment or marketplace.

A good place to start is to define your overarching goal and question how your organization will benefit from well-organized information. Do you have unnecessarily complex processes? How can you better engage with clients and share knowledge? Are slow decisions costing you money? 

Organizational intelligence starts with good information management

A significant finding from the Fujitsu Report was that those organizations which have not yet begun their digital transformation journey have 10 percent more records stored only on paper. Paper processes and the duplication of records across digital and paper systems compound the complexity of information flow. Too often this is holding businesses back, especially those that have yet to map out their approach to digital transformation.

The problems caused by paper processes, a lack of knowledge within organizations about where to begin, plus the ongoing challenges of information management can make the realization of digital transformation a fundamental challenge for many. But by implementing the right tailored approach to digital transformation and taking the essential first steps with a future vision in mind, Organizational Intelligence can become a reality, whereby the distinct units within an organization become part of one system, connected by flexible data flows, delivering robust insights and leading to confident, business transforming decisions. leading to confident, business transforming decisions.

Jason Rowles, Regional Sales Manager UK&I, PFU EMEA, Fujitsu