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Building a competitive advantage based on data

Kamil Folkert, PhD, CTO at 3Soft S.A., talks to Computerworld about the concept of Data-Driven Business,that is building competitive advantage based on data.

What is a Data-Driven Business?

The concept of Data-Driven Business is to take a holistic approach to analyzing data in an enterprise to predict future business events. This means making decisions based on facts rather than intuition. However, it’s not about generating simple reports or analyses. Data-Driven Business offers new opportunities. By using the latest technologies to collect and process data and advanced statistical methods based on machine learning and data science, we can analyze billions of data in real time and automate many business-critical processes.

Why bring this type of approach to business?

From my perspective, advanced data analysis in business is not a futuristic curiosity reserved for technological leaders, but a necessity and a natural stage of development. Information systems used in businesses generate and collect data on virtually every area of the business – from customer details to market environment analysis. There is huge business potential in this data. Companies that don’t invest in technological solutions based on machine learning and artificial intelligence today will have to do so tomorrow to avoid going out of business.

Especially now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with a completely new market situation. The upcoming challenges generate the need for additional knowledge, as existing know-how may not be enough to find the right solutions. With help comes Data-Driven Business.

In which industries does the Data-Driven Business approach work best?

Advanced data analysis and related automation can be used to optimize a wide range of business processes, in companies across a variety of industries. At 3Soft, we mainly work for clients in the retail, banking and manufacturing industries. Our goal is to build a technological “chassis” that supports the client’s specific business processes. We evaluate completed projects through the prism of business optimization, rather than the technology provided.

In retail, our platforms analyze billions of receipt data, information on thousands of products and dozens of industry-specific factors to forecast sales and demand.

In banking, we are increasingly observing a trend related to data-driven automated decision-making. Banks are forced to compete with numerous fintechs and have long since become companies that base key business processes on data analysis. Our clients in this sector allocate increasingly larger budgets each year to projects related to risk analysis, customer scoring or optimization of marketing activities.

In the manufacturing industry, we provide solutions not only for predictive maintenance, but also in the areas of production optimization, supply chain management or logistics.

On what technological solutions does 3Soft base the implementation of a Data-Driven Business approach?

At 3Soft, we design and launch analytical platforms in accordance with the Data Lake concept. We mainly rely on Hadoop technology distributed by Cloudera, a world leader in providing modern data management solutions. 3Soft was the first company in Poland to join Cloudera’s ecosystem of partners at the Silver Status level. The partnership with Cloudera complements our experience in data management with the latest technology solutions.

We are extremely honored to have 3Soft as part of the Cloudera Partner Program – they have enjoyed great success with us in Poland, and their high level of expertise adds value to our solutions across all industries. We look forward to deepening our partnership in the coming years to jointly deliver the industry’s first enterprise-level data cloud.

Christopher Rummel, Regional VP Channel and Alliances EMEA, Cloudera 

In addition to technologies related to data management, key to the scalability and speed of implementation of Data-Driven Business is the availability of reliable and flexible storage and processing infrastructure provided by the cloud. In this area, 3Soft is a Microsoft partner. We have certified competence in Cloud Platform and Data Analysis.

Partnerships with technology companies have always been a crucial element for Microsoft in building its ecosystem. Together with our partners, we can offer our customers a full range of solutions for any industry automating and transforming processes and products. This is the real strength of the ecosystem we are building together. Bringing Data-Driven Business and Artificial Intelligence approaches to companies has great potential. I’m glad that we have 3Soft among Microsoft partners to support our customers in digital transformation.

Jarosław Sokolnicki, Head of Industry Solutions, Microsoft

How do you work with clients?

We meet with clients who, although they feel that the data collected in their companies has great business potential, are afraid of the revolution associated with the introduction of Data-Driven Business. We spend a lot of time showing clients that this approach is not a revolution, but an evolution that will quickly deliver tangible, measurable business value. That’s why we always start our cooperation with clients by holding cross-departmental workshops, during which we analyze opportunities in business terms, and think together about available data and technology solutions. This makes the process of bringing advanced data analytics to the business effective and measurable.

It is worth noting that the implementation of the Data-Driven Business concept is also cost-effective. Analyzing data does not require purchasing additional point-of-sale equipment or machinery. In the initial phases, the introduction of advanced data analysis does not involve large expenditures on technological infrastructure. With relatively low expenditures, real business benefits can be quickly achieved, which will directly affect the building of a competitive advantage.

What is your advice to clients who are thinking about implementing a data-driven business?

I strongly recommend scheduling a workshop with 3Soft experts. This will enable you to quickly identify business opportunities and plan the next steps on the way to data-driven business management.

Link (interview in Polish).

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