While innovation can be categorized in familiar terms -- such as a new product, service, or business model -- we're finding companies are applying analytics and artificial intelligence techniques to the concept of innovation. Organizations we work with are turning to tools such as machine learning to pursue a fast, effective route to innovative results as they seek to stay competitive and top-of-mind for consumers.
For our Accenture Technology Vision 2016 report, we surveyed 3,100 business and IT executives in 11 countries. We found that 70% of respondents are making significantly more investments in artificial intelligence technologies than they did in 2013, with 55% stating that they plan on using machine learning and embedded AI solutions extensively.
An analytics-driven approach to innovation involves a blend of technological experimentation and cultural collaboration -- bringing together fresh minds and analytics techniques to uncover insights and ideas which can inspire agility, industry disruption and customer loyalty.
So, where does IT fit in?
IT professionals have several options to help their companies pursue a competitive edge through analytics-driven innovation. It all starts with culture, and culture typically starts at the top.
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If your organization currently lacks an adventurous analytics culture, you may find it challenging to move the needle from where you sit in the IT department. Here, then, are five actions you could encourage your company to take to help you and the larger workforce pursue an analytics-driven approach to innovation:
In addition to an analytics culture, it's also important to leverage the technologies which best support analytics experimentation. These are three options worth exploring for every IT professional.
No matter where on the analytics adoption spectrum your company resides -- it isn't quite ready for analytics yet, it’s experimenting with analytics, or it’s a complete insight-driven enterprise -- you'll do your long-term career a favor by learning more about these tools:
While your company pursues data exploration internally, it's also important to look elsewhere to obtain fresh new ideas. By collaborating with an innovation ecosystem -- which can include start-ups, universities, and other companies -- new ideas can be uncovered to innovate and enhance operations. IT professionals would be welcome in such environments.
Universities, in particular, are rich sources of technical and scientific research that have long-term potential in business settings. In fact, our collaboration with MIT was established to conduct research and develop new business analytics solutions to help organizations make informed decisions and solve some of their most challenging problems.
In one of the research projects we worked on with MIT, a new pricing optimization analytics application was developed which helped online fashion retailer Rue La La increase its revenues by 10%. The application, which was based on machine learning techniques and a price optimization algorithm, made data-driven recommendations on prices for flash sale items, resulting in increased sales for Rue La La.
When a company builds an analytics culture and encourages its IT workforce to collaborate with business-side colleagues to explore the art of possibility through data and analytics, it will be in a much better place to fast track innovation and stand out from competitors.Sharad Sachdev is the innovation lead for Accenture Analytics. In this role, Sachdev is the global lead for Accenture's Data Science Center of Excellence, a global innovation team focused on solving immediate and complex client problems through advanced analytics and ... View Full Bio