Turn your data into sustainable development

Published on Monday, 10 May 2021

For several years, big data has been more than just a buzzword, and now we are fully immersed in the data era. Data is everywhere, and it is growing at an astonishing pace. According to Techjury, around 90% of today’s data did not exist two years ago. And that’s not a surprise, considering that industries and people all over the planet generate data. In today’s connected world, we all are data assets.

Now, the question is to know how we can take advantage of this abundance of data to create a positive impact on society. How can companies use information in innovative ways to create unique and powerful value proposals for consumers and citizens? 

Digitalization and new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) have marked a turning point in our ability to understand and leverage data. There are no more excuses for not investing in it. To do so, here are some lessons that you can apply to your business.

Data is a means, not a purpose

Paradoxically, data shouldn’t be taken as the starting point for your strategy. Instead, your first steps should aim at reflecting on the core of your business. Where does your organization create more value than its competitors? There is always room for improvement. Analyze how your business activities cover the needs of your customers in order to detect gaps or growth opportunities. 

Once you have set your strategic objectives, you can start to dive into your data. Map the distinct sets you generate or monitor throughout your business activities: what data is used, where does it come from, how is it stocked and shared, what are its different outputs? Join the dots within your organization to design your complete information journey.

Talk to your team in order to assess the current and potential synergies between your key processes and business lines. Is your data fully exploited? Should it be further structured? How can your different data assets be interconnected to achieve your business objectives? Asking these questions should be the first step in your data investigation.

Two men fit two large pieces of a puzzle - Enel Startup

Source: Shutterstock

See beyond to scale up your impact

Keep in mind that the data era is customer-centric: its true value lies in understanding people and processes in order to cover emerging needs and improve the user experience. Hence, you should adopt an open perspective to envision emerging trends and integrate new solutions for continuous improvement. This implies that, when considering data flows, you should not only think about your own internal data governance but also about how you could increase your relevance by connecting to the greater ecosystem of which your company is a part. 

Therefore, although you should always control the integrity and safety of your data, that doesn’t mean exclusivity. Indeed, the greatest ideas come from sharing knowledge within the context of shared purposes. 

An inspiring case is the story of manufacturing company John Deere which has developed a farming platform that integrates smart machine, user and market data to help agricultural producers optimize their operation and manage risks. In the health care industry, a good example of data-driven innovative service comes in the form of Optum, which links claims related to drug usage and effectiveness to give feedback so that health care providers can improve their products and services. In both cases, data flows have enabled different agents to connect across industries to improve their mutual experiences.

Join our data revolution 

At Enel we believe that the energy sector is well positioned to use its data for good. As energy is at the center of human activity, it generates exponential amounts of information that can be used to provide solutions to the global challenges facing humanity.

There are hundreds of potential examples. Enel’s electric mobility data can help foster more efficient, more sustainable and safer mobility within cities. Our weather data can be used to enhance green energy industry. Our construction and industrial site data might lead to new smart building products. 

We believe in Open Innovability®; for us, open innovation and sustainability are key factors in driving impact and connecting the different needs of the global ecosystem. Data is essential and we want to make it valuable. If you are interested in joining forces to develop new data ideas, please reach out and keep an eye on our open initiatives, such as our recently launched data challenge, which will run until May 17.

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