Maximize business value with data-driven strategies

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3. Enabling sustainable decision-making
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are causing companies to rethink the way they do business. Whether planning decisions about construction sites, future supply chain routes or the amount of insurance to buy, almost every aspect of business operations is affected by ESG. Artificial intelligence tools, which can absorb and analyze all kinds of information, such as climate patterns, optimal delivery routes and population growth trends, help companies make better ESG decisions.

For example, many companies use data to see whether they need to build warehouses in a certain area or whether climate change will ultimately affect those operations. Others use data to reduce their ecological footprint. For example, a large detergent company wanted to reduce its emissions by reducing the size of the packaging, but at the same time increasing the detergent concentration so that consumers could wash the same number of washes. The retailer said that even with the same efficiency, a smaller size may not sell, as consumers think larger packs are a better deal. Rather than stick with the larger size, the retailer had each detergent manufacturer shrink their packaging by showing them how to keep the same number of loads in a smaller container while also becoming more sustainable. This proved the power of analysis: one company influenced the entire industry to reduce their CO2 emissions thanks to timely data-based decisions.

4. Increase Productivity
In the digital age, everything revolves around hyper-precision. By consolidating, analyzing and leveraging the right quality data at the right time to assess, forecast and prescribe decisions, companies can significantly improve productivity and the value of their resources.

For example, the global car supplier ZF wanted to compare the efficiency between its different factories. It created a digital production program, built on Azure cloud with PwC factory intelligence, to analyze performance data between each location. Using advanced analytics, visualizations and automated workflows, the company has reduced conversion costs, improved overall performance and increased workforce efficiency and effectiveness at its more than 200 plants.

5. Drive product or service innovation
When it comes to creating new products and services, data is a game changer. The more you know about a customer, the better you have an idea of ​​the kind of products they might want. However, companies need to move beyond just big data and start looking at what’s called “thick data” to effectively influence product and service usage through people-centric design.

While big data is about recording what people spent their money on, when they bought an item and how much they paid, thick data focuses on human behavior and digs deeper into people’s motivations to buy and the way they use a product. For example, a credit company typically identifies fraud by looking for unusual transaction patterns. But collecting thick data on customers affected by fraud and the behavior of fraudsters can bring a new level of sophistication. By interviewing people who have committed fraud and identifying their motivations and patterns of behavior, those insights can feed into more traditional fraud detection analytics, helping companies track when fraud may occur before it happens. This ultimately leads to better fraud solutions.

Bring data expertise and technology together
To achieve high-quality results, new solutions and a different approach to data are needed. You now need to think about what actions can inform your data.

To collaborate, PwC and Microsoft have seen firsthand how challenging it is for companies to understand what ‘data-driven’ really looks like. Many companies believe that just collecting information and going through numbers through a data visualization tool is enough. While basic analysis can help you learn about something that has already happened, this kind of information, combined with real action and results, can help you assess what might happen in the future and tell you what to do about a problem before it happens. occurs .

Learn how PwC and Microsoft are using data and the latest Azure cloud, AI and mixed reality technology to transform experiences, from the football field to your industry

This content is produced by PwC. It was not written by the editors of MIT Technology Review.