The evolution of data-driven business

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Modern digital business processes can bring together multiple data sources – to enable a clear real-time business overview, and drive better decision-making.

These digital processes and products are evolving in maturity, from tools that simply visualise data – to systems that analyse data and facilitate action. The three key stages of this evolution can be described as Exploratory, Explanatory and Actionable.


In this stage, systems are designed to help users discover insights. Data is somewhat organised, but charts require manual inspection to identify trends or patterns. For example, this might include a solution that visualises electricity usage over time but presents no conclusions or insights.


In this phase, systems are designed to present insight. Tailored findings and suggestions can be presented to the user. For example, an electricity usage tool might highlight times of high energy consumption and give tips to reduce this.


This is the holy grail of digital systems. In this stage, solutions are designed to interpret data (perhaps using AI) and directly facilitate actions. The solution not only gathers and presents insight, but also acts as a hub for decision-making – where actions can be taken directly. For example, an electricity usage tool might give recommendations and enable users to switch energy supply to a choice of more cost- effective tariffs. 


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