How Data Is Transforming Business

The amount of data that is available and accessible to organizations is exploding. How can organizations make use of this data to improve their business? We believe the world is at the dawn of a new age of data-driven decision-making. The capability to gather massive amounts of data and analyze it using tools like machine learning and AI will radically transform just about every process in an organization, from sales and customer service to product design and legal affairs.

As your organization makes its journey of digital transformation, a key element will be finding ways to use data effectively in order to boost performance, reduce costs and gain competitive advantages. Here are three examples of data-centric innovations:

1. Reinventing agreements 

One enormous opportunity that we at Docusign are pursuing is the emergence of smarter agreements, which are more like web pages than pieces of paper. When you look at ways in which data can change work and business, a great place to begin is by transforming how the world agrees.

We envision a world where contracts are natively computable, include structured data and code, and operate as a source of analytics. Making agreements inherently smarter will replace traditional paper and PDF contracts, which are static documents—once they’re signed, the only thing you can do is put them in storage.

Contracts are the core of every organization, so turning them into code will have profound implications for how we do business across every industry. Transactions will happen faster. The huge cost of managing contracts will be reduced.

2. Creating new revenue streams—and new companies

The ability to gather, analyze and derive insight from vast oceans of data is creating new ways to generate revenue and even driving a Cambrian explosion of innovative startups. In some cases companies are taking data analytics capabilities created for their core business and turning those capabilities into new spin-off companies.

McLaren Automotive, maker of Formula 1 race cars and luxury sports cars, built a new business, McLaren Applied, which applies data analytics software it developed to design faster race cars and applies that software to use cases across other industries.

McLaren Applied has used its Formula 1 telemetry to work on health monitoring systems, for example. The company also created a new scheduling system for Heathrow Airport in London.

In the startup space, countless companies are coming to market with systems that use machine learning to optimize business processes for customers. One example is Gong, which uses machine learning to parse thousands of hours of sales calls and figure out which words and approaches are most effective. Gong’s customers use those insights to train sales reps and close more deals.

3. Applying generative AI to business processes

The recent release of the ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, was a wake-up call to the world about the power of generative AI to do everything from cranking out software code to doing homework for high school students. In less than two months, ChatGPT gained 100 million users, making it the fastest growing app of all time.

The technology has huge implications for manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, material science, and pharmaceutical industries. The technology will surely revolutionize our world, which is why, over the past few years, venture capital has been pouring into this market space.

However, before getting caught up in the hype, bear in mind that generative AI is not a panacea. While ChatGPT has been wowing the world, it’s worth emphasizing that you need to ask the right questions to solve a particular problem. Knowing your problem, knowing your constraints, knowing what your desired outcome is—all those are necessary to use generative AI successfully.

To learn more about the latest innovations in using data in an organization, be sure to watch the panel discussion: The Changing Shape and Role of Data in the Organization, in which I talked with Greg Williams, Editor of Wired UK about the ways data can be used to create a better workplace environment; improve the well-being of your employees; drive efficiency; and identify areas of operational improvement and cost savings.

Peter Hunn
Peter Hunn
Senior Director, Product