Digital transformation is a term you hear thrown around a lot in the business tech industry. However, what many people don't realise is that this can mean wildly different things to different businesses. For companies still working with manila folders, filing cabinets, and physical paperwork the digital transformation means the big upgrade to digital documents and software management. For companies that have digital documents but only stored on local servers, the transformation is about getting to the cloud and upgrading your software to the latest online innovations. For companies that are on the cloud and using SaaS solutions, the transformation becomes about optimising your data and making the best use of all the digital resources available. Then the final stage of a business' digital transformation is the never-ending struggle to reach and maintain your position at the cutting-edge. This journey is the digital transformation spectrum and every business falls somewhere along the line.
The digital transformation spectrumThe term 'digital transformation' puts one in mind of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, but this is not entirely accurate. The transformation is not a single process that can be completed in a designated amount of time. It's not even a sequence of rituals or upgrades your business goes through that will leave it a complete digital enterprise. Instead, it is a journey that must be travelled by every business and because technology never stops advancing, the transformation is also something that never ends.
The reason we refer to it as a spectrum is because every business is somewhere along the path between paperwork and technological industry leadership. Some businesses barely use digital clocks while others were founded using phones and tablets instead of desktop computers but no matter where you are on the digital transformation spectrum, there is always room to grow. Even companies who are currently standing on the cutting-edge with AI-assisted software and a location-agnostic business plan have to continue constantly updating or risk being left behind.
Emerging on the cutting-edgeNo matter where you are starting on the spectrum, every business can theoretically reach the ultimate goal of digital transformation, the cutting-edge. The step right before the cutting-edge is having all the best software and online service solutions to suit your industry, clients, and business plans. When you reach this point, you are ready to become a technological industry leader by finding or even inventing something entirely new that further improves your productivity, product quality, or customer satisfaction.
The cutting-edge can be experimental technology, but it doesn't have to be. The true requirement of achieving the final goal of the digital transformation is to simply pull ahead of your peers. Find a technology no one else is using yet that is perfect for your industry and implement it with a little flash and flare. It's not just great for your PR, cutting-edge solutions also tend to provide opportunities and innovations that your competitors haven't even realised is possible.
The rising trend of business AIThe current leading technology at high end of the digital transformation is Artificial Intelligence designed to serve incredibly useful business purposes. While they were relatively rare as little as two years ago, it is rapidly becoming possible to find an AI capable of assisting in almost every industry and department.
The many uses of business AIThere are market targeting AIs that can turn collected customer data into personalised emails and promotions. On the sales side, there are AIs that can study buying patterns and predict future trends. AIs have been built into chatbots to provide responsive customer service through website and mobile app live chat and AIs in industry that can predict safety concerns, maintenance schedules, and suggest how to streamline performance. AIs can even be hooked into automation software to free up employee time by taking on much of the most tedious digital work.
AIs never get boredThe reason AI is so versatile and overwhelmingly useful in business is an AI's ability to turn huge mountains of data into well-structured and actionable conclusions. Using the marketing example, an AI can be fed everything from page clicks to chat transcripts to buying history to predict a customer's future buying patterns. This is a task that would take an employee weeks and a lot of tedious, difficult processing to conclude but an AI can achieve it in minutes. Even more usefully, AI can repeat the same complex process thousands to millions of times without getting bored or tired or making the kind of mistakes that happen when employees get bored or tired.
There's no wondering why AI in business is growing in both availability and popularity. Every time a development team develops a new way to make business software more effective with machine learning artificial intelligence, an entire industry benefits. However, for AIs to do their work, they actually need those mountains of data in order to learn what to do, improve their results, and predict future trends or behaviours.
Data enrichment is changing the playing fieldModern businesses collect a truly massive amount of data, one of the things that makes AIs so useful. However, where AIs process data and draw conclusions, one of the latest business tech innovations is the ability to better organise, complete, and implement your data. Even using AI, data tends to form in companies as 'silos'. This means that the data collected by one team or department is kept separate, unavailable and unrelated to other departments and teams.
The data silo problemMarketing departments, as an example, are notorious for seeking the cutting-edge of automation, predictive, and AI-assisted data management in the name of personalising and targeting their campaigns. To achieve this, marketing teams collect an incredible mass of data on customers and leads including demographic, location, personal preferences, and buying history, but this information is not made available to other departments or even the execs who might be interested. Likewise, the logistics department may keep their inventory and shipping data to themselves, sales may keep their data separate, and so on. While this is a result of the natural evolution of purpose and industry software solutions, there is a better way.
Data enrichmentData enrichment is a combination new technology and service offered by big-data companies that collect and manage complex data for literally millions of consumers and businesses. It is also, incidentally, the perfect new service to combine with your business AI software. When you hire a data enrichment service, the first thing they do is to help you collect and organise all the data your business handles, specifically the data relating to individuals and businesses. The reason the service is provided only by big-data companies is what they do with your data once it's organised.
Unify the dataOnce your data enrichment service helps you to create a unified data structure available to every department and exec, they will run the information you have against their own impressively comprehensive information on modern consumers. If you have any outdated or incorrect information like email address, street address or phone number, the data enrichment service will clear it so that you are no longer working with bad data.
Complete the dataNext is the service that goes above and beyond any business data service we have ever seen in the past. The data enrichment service will take your clean data and begin filling in the blanks where you have incomplete data. If, for example, you have a customer with a name, email address, and street address, the data enrichment process will be able to fill in their phone number, birthday, and possibly even their household situation if that is part of the data you collect on customers in order to complete your set.
Analyse the dataThe third step is to begin the optimisation process. When your data is organised, correct, and complete, it's time to start drawing useful conclusions. Many data enrichment services are able to help you at least get started translating all your business data into useful insights and actionable conclusions.
Fueling business AI by enriching your dataFor those of you as excited by data as we are, the conclusion should be delightfully clear. AIs love data. They absorb more data in a minute than a human can comfortably read in a year and effectively process it into incredibly useful results. But your business AI programs can only work with the data you have and when your data is incomplete, so too is the AI's conclusions. Data enrichment is the perfect partner for any business implementing or planning to implement an AI because it creates not just a comprehensive source of information, but a more complete information base that you may have been able to put together without the help of the big-data service.
The more data your AI is fueled with, the more accurate and effective their functions become. Whether you're using AI to target promotional emails, chat with customers, or even predict future business trends, data enrichment is the perfect way to enhance your AI's knowledge and capabilities.