How data and people can drive business growth

by | Apr 8, 2024

How data and people can drive business growth

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

How data and people can drive business growth

Petrus Keyter, Data Governance Consultant at PBT Group

The modern, data-driven organisation is continually looking to gain a competitive edge in challenging market conditions. Being able to tap into a skilled workforce that understands how best to unlock the power of data is invaluable. But if the data is of poor quality, then no amount of talent can deliver value to the business. This means that the interplay between having a good foundation built on data and a committed and skilled workforce becomes mission critical.

Data remains instrumental in driving strategic decision-making, enhancing operational efficiency, and fostering innovation. It allows business and technology leaders to gain actionable insights, understand market trends, identify how best to meet consumer expectations, and optimise business processes. As we have seen in many blogs published here before, the data-driven economy is built on the quality, relevance, timeliness, and accessibility of data. If any of these components are missing, then this will have a significant impact on the success of any data-driven initiative.

Human influence

At a time when automation, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming commonplace in organisational back-end systems, many businesses would be tempted to underplay the importance of human skills. But even with the most advanced technology available, human capital is essential to drive innovation, growth, and execution of strategy within a company.

Skilled employees bring diverse perspectives, creativity, and domain expertise essential for problem-solving, product development, and customer engagement. Their collective efforts drive organisational culture, productivity, and adaptability in an ever-evolving business landscape. So, while ML and AI are important data enablers, they should be seen as tools to enhance the human decision-making process.

Too often, these technologies are seen as the means to replace skilled employees. This would be a mistake. Instead, employees need to be trained on how best to integrate these tools into their responsibilities to become more efficient and deliver more strategic value.

A combined approach

Yes, data provides the means to make more informed decision-making. But it will always be the human touch that translates insights into something actionable. Integrating data analysis and human capital development is therefore the next building block for companies to achieve competitive differentiation.

Data provides the foundation upon which employees build solutions, innovate, and create value. For their part, people guide the collection, interpretation, and use of data. They inject the raw data with context, empathy, and creativity.

The one feeds off the other. But with this, companies must take responsibility to invest in data infrastructure while also putting in place a capable workforce. Employees need to have the skills to make sense of data. And while data specialists will play a crucial role in this regard, general business users must also become more comfortable in using technology to unlock data-driven insights.

Access to high-quality data is critical. Those companies who will succeed in this data-driven world will be the ones who understand how best to link both quality data and skilled people. These are the businesses that invest not just in acquiring data but also in nurturing talent capable of leveraging that data effectively.

Making sense of data

The synergy between data and employees is one of the critical enablers to unlock true data value and deliver business growth. Of course, companies have more flexibility when it comes to hiring and upskilling their workforce as opposed to acquiring new data. But getting data and using that data effectively is where a strategic approach is essential.

The true competitive advantage lies in effectively harnessing the potential of data through the collective intelligence, skills, and creativity of a capable workforce. Balancing investments in both realms is pivotal for sustained growth, innovation, and relevance in today’s competitive business landscape.



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