Waking up the Dragon
If you read the Finnish press and blogs, you cannot miss the talk about digitalization, IoT and big data. These magic words are going to change the world and of course pretty much all industries in Finland as well. According to numerous articles, seminars and even books on the topic, Finland is in the midst of a huge transformation, everybody digitalizing their processes with the latest tools & models to utilize big data in their business decisions.
Having discussed with tens of Finnish companies in the last months, I fear that the reality hasn’t lived up to that story yet. Digitalization seems to be more like teenage sex: everybody is talking about it but very few are doing it. I have spoken with some of the companies mentioned as the leaders of digital revolution, and the action is there, but there is still a mountain of work to do.
When I asked one CDO about how they are planning to use the data they are accumulating, I got a very vague answer. This is not a rare occurrence, actually I encounter this a lot. Sometimes companies use data to dig out a root cause of a specific problem or incidence, the same way it has been done for the past 20 years. The only change in the process is that there is now more data and therefore the task can be even more burdensome than before. When I preach my clientele about the benefits they would gain by applying modern data mining tools and processes, they nod in understanding and acceptance, but frustratingly rarely is this turned into immediate action.
Companies have several reasons for not diving into digitalization head on; however, those are typically valid only in the short term. What I do know is that they don’t lack the knowledge. Every person I have met understands that there could be more creative and efficient ways to use the data they already have. They know very well that this is the way it is going to be done in the future. Yet they don’t take the needed actions but decide to stay quiet to avoid waking up the dragon in the mountain hall. The dragon is guarding gold, and it will be very angry if someone goes after the treasure.
The gold today is of course data, and the fear is very real. There are going to be revolutionary new ways of working, and there are going to be casualties in the workplaces. All the jobs will not be safe. Many people do not stand well with the changes. Some of us prefer things to stay the way they have always been. Unfortunately, the real world has not committed to such status quo but tends to evolve and change all the time. Hiding or staying quiet is not going to save us, however. If you don’t tame your dragon, someone else is going to tame theirs and gain a big advantage over you. The logical conclusion is that you should be the first to act to take the lead.
Who is going to be the champion in your company? Who lets loose the dragon and domesticates it? There is a demand for a hero who gets the gold, and the future is not going to wait for you much longer. It is time to wake up the dragon.