We already know that software runs the world and that it’s essential to digitally transform your business if you want it to survive whatever twists and turns the future may bring. These words are easy to say, and yet difficult to do in practice. How do you help all employees, at all levels, make the changes they need to adapt?
One place to start is by increasing data literacy, both at the organizational and the individual level. That’s the only way we can begin to manage the vast amounts of data our systems are constantly generating. And it’s the only way we can begin to turn this data into insights we can use to make strategic decisions both large and small throughout our businesses.
We’re All in IT Now, So We Need to Speak Data
It’s true that today, IT touches nearly every stakeholder across a business. HR and marketing professionals, for example, now have their very own tech stack to manage that’s generating all sorts of new data. But it’s not realistic to assume you can fill your company with Ph.D.-level data scientists to make sense of it.
Regardless of each person’s roles and responsibilities, they’ll all need at least a basic level of data literacy to survive and thrive. That makes it imperative that businesses arm their individuals with the right tools so that their single-source-of-truth dashboards and digital boardrooms can drive the whole business.
SAP Reimagines the Digital Boardroom
As we welcome the rise of what analyst firm Gartner has called the “citizen data scientist,” SAP offers its SAP Digital Boardroom tool to serve as a query and analysis layer that speaks to actual data scientists and business managers alike.
In addition to internal report streams, the SAP Digital Boardroom can present strategically important external information such as stock market moves and competitor performance data. The point is to summarize and contextualize disparate sources of data so that everyone can get a quick read on the key performance indicators for the business. That’s the “single source of data truth” across the organization that businesses are striving for. All in a full-touch, interactive experience across large-screen devices for a mission control room setup.
Calling Your In-House Data Doctors
Given that anyone with the appropriate permissions will be able to view and interact with this type of information channel, we now need to empower our own “in-house data doctors” so that employees at many levels get more comfortable with learning how to analyze this information. To help with this challenge, SAP Digital has engineered its SAP Analytics Cloud platform with artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and pre-built algorithms to deliver a user experience that feels as simple as a Google search.
SAP explains that it has been on a three-year journey with its higher-level SAP Analytics Cloud product to change the game in terms of how analytics are built and used throughout an organization. The total package combines tooling for business intelligence, performance management, planning, budgeting, data science, and predictive scenario forecasting—to name just a few areas.
SAP’s Smart Assist Technologies
To broaden data literacy across the organization and encourage the use of these tools, SAP has developed new “smart assist” technologies. Users don’t have to be able to code or have sophisticated training in data science and complex analytics. Natural language queries allow them to type a description of what they’re looking for and get back results, as if working with a digital assistant. It may sound like something that should already exist, but this is a leap forward for the types of complex systems generally connecting your SAP data.
SAP has also included smart capabilities to shoulder the task of preparing data. As a user starts to bring together a data set, smart automation controls will help with structuring and provide recommendations based on the system’s built-in logic. The tool set also features an automated algorithm builder with the ability to establish a history for tracking changes over time. You can then apply what you’ve learned in your history to future models, taking full advantage of machine learning.
Data that Learns Industry Lingo
Despite the simplicity of these interactions, this is still extremely complex technology at its heart. So, SAP has provided additional business logic and semantics that allows users to understand more of the context behind the data and reports they’re seeing. This background logic stems from the domain knowledge SAP has gathered from use cases across more than 300,000 customers and 20+ lines of business.
Reading the Same Data Language
All of these emerging dashboards and tools bring us to a unique point where we can actually scale the value of analytics through an organization. SAP is helping advance this process by embracing a common set of standards for data visualizations, so there’s consistency in the way we look at analytics across businesses.
The data displays in SAP Analytics Cloud are now officially certified by the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS). This provides users with a common language for interpreting data, for true apples-to-apples comparisons.
It’s Design, Thinking
These SAP technologies all fit under the banner of SAP Leonardo’s approach to design thinking theory and practice, driving the benefits of technologies such as machine learning throughout the organization. In a world where fewer than 20 percent of organizations are getting the full advantage of analytics, as Gartner observes, that could bring a massive wave of improvements to the decision-making process. SAP plans to extend the data democratization message at SAPPHIRE NOW in June 2018. We may also see smaller mobile device capabilities soon, including offline functionality. So, stay tuned for your data to go on the road.