In this digitizing world, many technologies are rapidly changing the way organizations carry out their work. In this web of technologies, it is important for IT professionals to know what the most emerging trends are for the coming year, so that the right added value can be derived from this for their organization. Supply Value has been conducting the IT Trends Survey since 2019. The purpose of this research is to support Information management and technology professionals in setting key priorities and proper focus. We have arrived at the top 3! In this insight we share and consider the trend that ended in 3rd place: the Data Domain.
Trend 3 – Data Domain
This year it has once again become very clear what the value of data can be. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Dutch cabinet made decisions based on data more than ever. How many new infections are there? How many deceased are there? What are the new hospital and ICU admissions? What is the R (reproduction number)? Without these figures, our cabinet would have based its decisions on intuition and emotion, gut feeling. It is almost inconceivable that important decisions are no longer supported by data. Despite this, it still happens regularly in practice, and few organizations are really mature in the data domain.
What is the Data Domain?
Data is nothing more than data, recorded facts. There is a growing need for real-time insight into data. With the help of digitization, we see that more and more data is being stored, structured, transformed and analysed. In general, data is divided into two forms: structured and unstructured data. At this moment, approximately 20% of the data is structured (as can be seen in, for example, an Excel document or a dashboard). However, 80% of the stored data is still unstructured (think of individual images, videos and text documents) and this share is only increasing. The potential value of this is therefore all the higher.
A competitive advantage arises when organizations own something unique. This starts with insights into all aspects of the organization, including customers, employees, processes and trends. These insights are created by applying data in the right way. The IT Trends Survey has examined various data applications and examines the four most important applications in more detail. This year, the most important data applications that organizations use are; Data Science, Data Governance, Business Intelligence and Data Driven.
Data Science became in the IT Trends Survey of 2019 the number 1 IT trend. This year too, Data Science is seen as relevant and valuable. IT professionals consider this the most important development within the Data Domain. 84% of the respondents indicates that Data Science is a relevant development to get started with. The rise of Data in general offers enormous opportunities for the Data Scientist to extract valuable insights from (Big) Data. This is preceded by complex and unpredictable processes, so that an iterative method is often applied, starting with mapping the business problem. Understanding, preparing, modeling and evaluating the data is without a doubt the most time-consuming task in a Data Science project.
Data Governance essentially revolves around good handling of data by defining and applying clear processes, policy frameworks and standards regarding data. 74% of the IT professionals who consider the Data Domain important indicate that Data Governance finds a relevant development within this domain. Not only data, but also the people, procedures and technologies that form the basis of this must be attuned to each other. This also increases the transparency and traceability of the data. The current focus of IT professionals within Data Governance is now on data quality; drawing up clear definitions and limiting duplicate data. Performance and reliability of systems are also mentioned in this focus.
The term Business Intelligence is derived from the development that companies have more and more information about both their internal activities and external trends and align them in order to gain more insights. Of the IT professionals who see the Data Domain as an important trend, 74% indicates that Business Intelligence is a relevant development. Today, many organizations have a centralized data warehouse, in which all relevant data is stored centrally. This guarantees organization-wide data quality and availability, so that relevant insights can be extracted by employees in the organization. Data is thus opened up, shared and exploited to gain knowledge from historical data, often by means of dashboards. Decisions are made based on facts rather than intuition. This intelligent way of working enables organizations to realize a transformation from reactive to proactive action.
Data Driven is about deciding and steering based on the right data; data-driven improvement. 63% of the respondents who considered the Data Domain trend to be important, indicated that they see data-driven improvement as an important trend. The most famous example in recent times is the 'Corona dashboard'. The key figures (KPIs) were used to adjust the Corona measures. A dashboard visualizes the KPIs determined by an organization. This provides insight into the most important objectives of an organization. For example, the NS has KPIs for passenger satisfaction, number of daily train journeys and CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre. The biggest challenge in data-driven improvement of organizations is to include the entire organization in a culture of data-driven improvement and to ensure an unambiguous interpretation of the key figures.
Trend development in the data domain
The value of data has long been undeniable. In addition to the fact that the CIO and CTO already have a position in many organizations, many organizations have now also created the position of Chief Data Officer (CDO). It is expected that 75% of the large organizations will have a position as CDO within its organization in 2021. Over the years we have seen a steep learning curve of organizations in the field of data. What started with internally measured data was followed by Big Data. Internal data was combined with external data. This increased the volume, variety, speed and veracity of data. Later on, predictive and prescriptive analytics were also developed. We see a growth in priority that IT professionals are giving to the Data Domain, moving from an average of 3.4 in 2019 to 3.8 in 2020 (on a scale of 1 to 5). In combination with the growing heterogeneity and complexity of data, organizations will have to put the way in which they deal with it high on the strategic agenda. Appointing a CDO is a good start, but not enough.
Within the Data Domain, we also see getting the basics in order as a major development. By putting Data Governance high on the agenda, an organization prevents the risk of getting wrong insights from the data. This provides a solid foundation on which data applications should be built. Data Science is seen as the most important application in this regard and thus holds a colorful future. Because real embedding in business processes is still in its infancy in many organizations, an experimental approach is most appropriate. This is also reflected in trend 4 – Renewal of the IT Development process. The fact that data is present in the organization does not mean that the organization is data-driven. Ensuring a culture of data-driven working takes time, awareness, training and perhaps transformation.
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