Business leaders across the world have ambitious plans to make their organizations more intelligent. This applies to the way they service customers to the systems their employees use. It’s about transforming the culture of a business to make every process better informed.

The key to doing this is for businesses to come to grips with the huge amounts of data they produce. Through Cloud Data Management, organizations can turn previously useless packets of information into golden nuggets of insight. Gathering and acting on these insights will distinguish the intelligent businesses from the rest.

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Great expectations

The 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management report found that on average IT decision makers (ITDMs) plan to spend over $40 million on deploying technologies that will enable a more data-driven approach to decision making. In terms of the technologies they are turning to, almost three-quarters (73 percent) have either already deployed or plan to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the next 12 months. Furthermore, over three in five (62 percent) have already deployed big data and analytics, with a further quarter (26 percent) planning to do so in the next year. The uptake of technologies like AI, big data, and analytics all point towards a desire from organizations to become more intelligent and ultimately more competitive and successful. Whether that’s accelerating their capacity for processing information or improving the quality of insight they are able to gain from big data.

It is clear that organizations expect these technologies to deliver results quickly. On average, once new technologies are deployed within the business, ITDMs expect to see financial benefits within nine months and operational improvements within seven. In terms of deployment, over half (55 percent) of ITDMs are looking to deploy technologies that enable Cloud Data Management across the entire business, whereas a third (34 percent) plan to launch and scale.

The majority of businesses feel that this digital transformation should be extended across the entire business from the start. This may be because the organization is transitioning entirely to a cloud-based IT infrastructure and planning to remove data silos in one fell swoop. While this is likely to yield results faster, the strategy of running proof of concepts in a few areas of the business, and scaling it based on those learnings, may make the changes easier to manage. Particularly for businesses looking to extend digital transformation to the whole business straight away, there is one very important consideration which can be overlooked: culture.

Intelligent culture

Management guru, Peter Drucker, tells us that culture eats strategy for breakfast. In some ways the same is true when discussing the impact data can have on a business. While a successful digital transformation requires a coherent plan of action to roll out the appropriate technologies across the business, the most pertinent challenge is getting employees to adapt culturally. Establishing a data-driven culture involves adapting behaviors until looking at the data becomes second nature. Over a third (37 percent) of ITDMs believe nurturing company culture to enable adoption is one of the most important factors in becoming an intelligent business. After all, a business can have all the right infrastructure in place, but if it isn’t using the key insights emanating from big data and analytics, it can’t be described as data-driven.

Considering that ITDMs are beginning to see the impact cultural transformation can have on the way their organization uses data, the majority feel that changes are necessary if organizations are to maximize the opportunity presented by Cloud Data Management. Over two-thirds (69 percent) of ITDMs feel their company culture needs to become more open and accepting of new technology entering the workplace. There can be resistance to new platforms, systems and structures which challenge the status quo. Furthermore, given the prevalence of AI as a hot topic for conversation, employees may be wary of the impact new technologies designed to drive efficiency and productivity have on their own role. Over half (52 percent) of ITDMs believe that company culture needs to be more accepting of the fact that jobs will change as businesses become more intelligent and data-driven. Almost three-fifths (59 percent) go as far as saying that that organization’s culture should adapt to view new technologies as a co-worker.

This is a refreshing outlook on the role technology has to play in the intelligent enterprise. It’s about providing employees with the tools and information to do their jobs as effectively as possible. Whether it’s showing them more efficient ways of generating leads or providing a place to keep track of sales discussions and relevant tasks. Businesses are constantly striving to reduce costs, increase revenue, and find new ways to differentiate themselves. In an intelligent business every individual employee can adopt a similar policy of self-improvement. Almost half (47 percent) of ITDMs believe their company needs to embrace a culture of continuous learning. By viewing technology as an opportunity not a threat, employees can extend their knowledge pools and support their existing expertise with information they previously didn’t have.

The entire process of becoming a more intelligent business is about continuous learning and improvement at both an individual and organization-wide scale. Once the correct building blocks are in place and businesses are successfully using and deploying Cloud Data Management, this data-driven culture has the foundation it needs to thrive. From there, ITDMs have a role to play in ensuring that every employee is engaged with the new technologies being deployed and understand how to get the best out of them.