Ana Pinczuk is Director of Development at Anaplanwhere she drives platform innovation and oversees Anaplan’s technology teams.
Data can help you plan and anticipate change, but decision makers need to act quickly and confidently to turn data into insights and insights into results. In fact, take it a step further: decision-makers must trust their IT systems to make recommendations and even strategic decisions for them, whether it’s automatically reallocating resources or updating forecasts in real time.
With this in mind, the next frontier for data-driven organizations is the creation of an “autonomous enterprise”: offload tasks and streamline workflows by maximizing how data is leveraged.
We’ve seen how the benefits can trickle down to all industries over the past two years. For a retailer, being able to act quickly using data has meant identifying and reacting to increases in demand for, say, sweatpants, and turning that demand into a new line of activewear for the remote work. Or, for an ambulance company, putting data to work has meant leveraging AI and machine learning to more accurately predict daily emergency calls, then using that data to create workforce plans. to ensure that the right resources are immediately available when needed.
Achieving this requires adopting solutions that can seamlessly conduct complex analyzes using large volumes of data to guide more accurate decisions.
What the autonomous vehicle can teach us about the autonomous enterprise
Making a comparison with the automotive industry, which is going through its own transformation in its transition to autonomous driving, is a good way to understand the magnitude of the advantages of autonomous functions. The transformation to enable self-driving cars is very similar to the journey many companies are beginning.
Consider: Before cars incorporated intelligence, everything was manual and analog, from the shifter to the cassette player. Only a few years ago we still had to look over our shoulder when backing up or looking for a blind spot.
In an effort to make driving safer, car manufacturers have started adding alerts to notify drivers of dangerous conditions. The introduction of reversing cameras eliminated the need to take your eyes off the road. Blind spot monitoring and lane departure warnings created a safer experience for the driver and others.
And the automotive market continues to evolve with more sophisticated automation, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which can augment or even replace driver involvement. But cars equipped with these ADAS systems require completely new infrastructure, including high-definition cameras, LIDAR, multi-core processors and artificial intelligence algorithms. These systems are all connected. They collect and process gigabytes of data per second and perform sophisticated modeling of external conditions.
Today’s SaaS solutions are analogous to this technological advancement. Sophisticated demand planning, for example, uses real-time computing capabilities, sophisticated modeling and AI to link demand forecasts to inventory, allowing retailers to adjust inventory levels in the stores according to the evolution of “road” conditions. Just as we are at the dawn of autonomous driving, we are in many ways at the dawn of autonomous enterprise.
To achieve full autonomy, whether it is a self-driving car or a software platform, several capabilities are required:
Access to data. And a lot. Data comes from many sources and from many directions. Think of a car that needs to see the road, traffic and pedestrians, while monitoring its speed, in real time.
Scale. This is made possible by the reach of your platform and its computing power. Not only do self-driving cars have to process huge volumes of data, they also require sophisticated real-time processing to navigate changing road conditions.
Speed. Your car (or your SaaS system) must have the computing power to anticipate changes and act quickly. Going back to our automotive analogy, Tesla’s chip powering its self-driving capabilities can perform 36 trillion operations per second.
Intelligence. Powerful AI algorithms can produce meaningful insights that can be used to make decisions, such as avoiding collisions or adjusting store inventory levels based on market dynamics.
An excellent user experience. A UX that offloads complexity makes it easier to use information that leads to correct results.
Be comfortable with technology in the driver’s seat
There is also an additional, very human element: trust.
As human beings, it is often difficult to let go. But we are adaptable to new types of technology that require us to cede control. Things like lane change assist and automatic brakes can give us more confidence on the road, especially in unfamiliar terrain. During my first experience in an autonomous vehicle, the car managed to avoid a pothole that I didn’t even see. It surprised me at first, then felt like magic.
The car saw something that I didn’t see. It’s a great comparison for business and the power that awaits us in an autonomous future.
Of course, there’s a reason why city streets and interstate highways aren’t yet filled with fully autonomous vehicles. Establishing trust and security in complex systems is a huge challenge, which machine learning and AI are helping to solve.
You will find your own challenges on the path to building a self-sustaining business. Having access to external data – market conditions or even the weather – is essential for making good decisions, but accessing and managing the data is not straightforward. But, in addition to working with your team to build trust and learn how to manage data, look for solutions that can help you. For example, low-code and no-code platforms (and emphasis on integrations) make it easier to access and use third-party data, in addition to reducing the burden on IT teams to make business applications useful. , which means your users can be in charge.
Over time, the path to empowerment will offload complexity to allow you to focus on what matters most, empowering your business to turn change to your advantage.
Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives. Am I eligible?