Many organisations in Bangladesh are going through a transformation prompted by information technology. Several large organisations embarked on this transformation journey a couple of years ago, with others now catching up. The transformation involved the set-up of enterprise applications to digitise business processes and improve the visibility of business activities. These organisations have started generating a lot of data through the newly implemented IT-enabled processes. The availability of this data in digital formats has opened up new opportunities for business leaders to create business insights and to take big decisions based on them.
Business leaders in Bangladesh have been taking high-stake decisions to grow, diversify and internationalise their businesses. They can now rely on the data available in digital formats to take big decisions rather than just their experience and intuition. This does not mean that intuition and experience are to be disregarded. In fact, they remain as valuable factors today. Data can help scientifically prove or disprove these intuitions, thereby increasing confidence in the decision-making process.
Globally, three significant changes have influenced the shift from intuition-based big decisions to data-driven big decisions. The foremost among these changes is the greater use of specialised analytics tools and techniques.
The other two changes are the reliance on enhanced analysis of data and setting up of specialised teams to create insights from data analysis. Across the globe, data and analytics are making deep inroads into business, with boardroom decisions today increasingly relying on data-driven analysis. According to a worldwide survey conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit in 2014, 64 percent of the business leaders responded that they have changed the way they make big decisions. Another 25 percent of the business leaders stated that they have a plan to change their decision making process to a more data-driven process.
Leading organisations in Bangladesh have already started implementing business intelligence tools and platforms and will be using them more frequently to get information about their business performance. As they mature in their use of data to understand their performance, these organisations will feel the need to enhance data analysis further. Such enhanced data analysis will require specialised analytics tools and techniques, and data scientists who have the expertise to perform this work.
In the coming years, business leaders in Bangladesh will need to upgrade the art and science of decision making with the emergence of this new paradigm. They will require more data scientists to help them develop insights into their business. They will also need to test their business intuitions using data scientifically before taking big decisions.
One of the biggest and early benefits that businesses will derive from the use of data is the opportunity to modify their products using certain types of A/B testing. This is a testing process through which two variants of a product can be tested to find out the one best suited for the market. In the absence of enough data, such testing will be time consuming and prone to errors. However, increased availability of data, analytics tools and the application of the right techniques for analysis will result in more effective product testing.
Enhanced data analysis will require specialised analytical skills such as sophisticated mathematical modelling and statistical analysis of data through these models. A deep understanding of the business is also necessary. This will create opportunities for young professionals in Bangladesh to pursue a career in a whole new field called data science. Accordingly, large business organisations can build dedicated teams of data scientists. Relatively smaller business organisations, on the other hand, will need to rely on specialised service providers.
The volume of data available to organisations in Bangladesh is going to grow significantly in the coming years with the digitisation of their business processes. The implementation of sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) will result in more data in various formats. Additionally, a lot of unstructured data will get created through digital content and social media sites. Such ubiquity of data will create opportunities to develop breakthrough insights for the business.
Business leaders need to understand that breakthrough business insights can be developed from such a diverse set of data. However, these data may not necessarily be clean or obtained only from their internal data repositories. Business organisations will increasingly use externally sourced data, data available from public repositories, and unstructured data from social media websites.
Analysis of all the data will require sophisticated data models and advanced algorithms, and leading business organisations will need to build such assets for themselves. Such activities will also transform them to data-driven organisations.
Data-driven companies will be able to take big decisions faster than other organisations. The availability of the right set of tools, advanced techniques and rightly skilled people who can use data to create meaningful insights will drive the success of organisations in the near future.
The writer is partner at PwC. The views expressed here are personal.