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“Over the next two years, enterprise data is projected to increase at a 42.2% annual growth rate. Only 32% of data available to enterprises is put to work. The remaining 68% goes unleveraged.”

These were critical findings in a seminal market report prepared by Seagate Technologies in 2020. Consider key global developments since the article was published. A global pandemic, prompting an acceleration in the development of technologies that change where and how people work and create value. Heightened focus on how products and services reach the market with disruptive investment in supply chains. Far more aggressive development in cyber security technologies to combat the exponentially increased threat of cyber attacks. And now, disruptive releases of world-changing artificial intelligence capabilities that are usable by everyday users. Political and sociocultural trends that have challenged basic definitions of ‘truth’, ‘facts’, and ‘evidence’ have heightened the importance of strong information governance and ‘informed decision-making’.

To a Management Consulting firm deeply embedded in a Management Consulting industry, our livelihood is at risk because so much of what we do for our clients depends on the reliable and insightful interpretation and critical thought developed from data, reading, and research.  Colleagues in our industry have staunchly defended the relevance of Management Consultants as being relatively safe and inimitable because of our ability to develop critical assessment.

But we are not so sure.

In April of this year, Noor Gillani from Science Alert, summarized the opinions of five AI experts around whether AI could ever become as intelligent as humans. The consensus across the experts was that AI will achieve human level intelligence, reaching ‘artificial general intelligence’, and that much of what we once believed machines incapable of doing has been proven to be false. There are still significant questions around the potential capacity for creativity and emotional intelligence, but this year interestingly and to illustrate the point, AI and robots have been tapped for companionship to combat loneliness and mental health issues. In other emerging articles looking at the evolving ‘intelligence’ of AI, current models could meet or exceed average human IQ, with future generations potentially reaching much higher. What does this mean? In short, it means we are open to the possibility that everything we think we know or believe about ‘what AI can or will be able to do’ may be wrong. It also means we need to move quickly to build new pathways forward.

How do we help?

Significant global investment, inquiry, and early conversation are driving new regulations across parts of the world. We have an obligation to know the arguments, understand the ethics discussion, and to become comfortable with how to manage the technology-driven transformational changes that our clients take on as part of their pursuits for growth and development.

As an advisory firm working with professional clients, we have long since understood the power and potential of data – but that data needs to be accessible, structured, managed, protected, interpreted, and developed for the company – and people yet have a significant role to play. Thriving businesses need to tap into the data they have and reimagine the data they need to accelerate the path to demonstrated wisdom. “Data is fairly worthless to most of us; it is the product of research or creation (such as writing), but it is not an adequate product for communicating. To have informational value, it must be organized, transformed, and presented in a way that gives it meaning.” (Shedroff, 1994).

Our data and business analysis work powers the strategy development work and storytelling used by our advisors to drive complex change. Blue Monarch Management continues to pivot and invest in growth and development of professionals, partnerships, and capabilities along three intelligence dimensions: Business intelligence, Business Analytics, and Market Research & Competitive Intelligence.

As one of our business analysts remarked, “BAs transform raw data into useful and actionable insights. We can transform numbers into images. But to get to there we first must work with our advisory team to understand the KPIs and metrics that will be meaningful to our clients. On that basis we extract the data and “clean” the data using such tools as PowerBi or Tableau. At all times, we recognize data’s intrinsic (face value and structured) and extrinsic (functionally useful) nature. This duality closely mirrors the business analyst’s approach to the client need vs that of the advisor – and both are required to shape a useful client deliverable.”

The introduction of the Business Analyst role was a strategic move for us that goes back to our earliest planning days. The industry of management consulting has shifted such that large companies have brought strategists in-house – something that used to be the Consultant’s bread and butter offering. The dimensions of competition on which good strategy is developed have changed as well. To boost the quality, depth, and insight of our strategic advisory work, we have had to bolster our ability to conduct research and understand analytics and data. Management Consultants tell stories and use those stories to shape the business transformation narrative. Our BA team brings to our client work real depth and quality. And while it’s still early, our BAs have begun to strengthen our work in strategy and change by introducing data modeling, advanced analytics, and data visualization to our toolbox.

Want to know more about how the power of information and automation can integrate with your organizational and leadership development? Why not contact us to start a conversation.

Tags: Artificial Intelligence , Data , Digital Transformation ,

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