What company doesn’t want to find ways to keep improving its products and services, just like global industry leaders such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Microsoft? Something these three digital pioneers have in common is that they all use data to keep developing and improving their business models. In order to support organizations as they undergo a successful digital transformation, ICT Group has developed the 4C model, which outlines the four stages of transforming your business into a data-driven organization. This blog post focuses on the first of these stages: Connect. Internet connectivity is considered as basic an amenity these days as running water and electricity. We spend virtually every waking hour using our smartphone to get work done, share experiences with one another, or compare and buy products online. You could say that most people are plugged in 24/7. The fact that we’re all connected in this way makes it easy to compare products and services at a glance. This means businesses are held to increasingly high standards, and if organizations fail to deliver the best service or quality or offer attractive pricing, consumers will be quick to switch to a competitor. Businesses use data to remain relevant and tailor their products to their customers’ requirements as needed. But whatever you’re looking to achieve, it all begins with connectivity. Data Is Everywhere – Make the Most of It Individuals and businesses need connectivity to access the constant flow of valuable data available. While a lot of consumers are already connected 24/7, many businesses have yet to catch up. For these companies, Connect is the first stage of the 4C model toward becoming a fully data-driven organization in the network economy. Businesses begin their digital transformation by improving their processes and organizing them more efficiently, which they can accomplish by unlocking relevant available data. Numerous data sources are readily accessible, including Excel spreadsheets and data stored in ERP and CRM systems. The data can easily be exported to a cloud database, where it is analyzed using a BI tool. These analyses tell you exactly, for example, how much time employees spend in transit or performing specific types of work. Connect as Many Data Sources as Possible In addition to these readily available data sources, various devices continuously generate interesting data that has the potential to make businesses run more efficiently. Vehicles, machines in production plants, heating systems, and lamps can all provide information on utilization and frequency of use, provided they have Internet connectivity. A growing number of devices and objects are now equipped with sensors and an Internet connection and are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), making it possible to monitor their performance through a central system. At the same time, machines can also access each other’s data automatically. By linking this data to databases containing historical data, the production chain can be organized even more efficiently. Sensors and Connections If devices are not yet connected to the Internet, it’s simply a matter of fitting sensors and connecting them. This process is becoming easier all the time because sensors are getting smaller and more affordable. At the same time, the options for connection are becoming increasingly accessible, while there are practicable solutions available for all types of IoT scenarios. This makes it easier for the data generated to find its way to a central database and an analysis tool. Decisions Based on Hard Data This new way of working, monitoring, and managing data does require a different mindset and modus operandi, simply because technology will come to play a more important role in supporting decision-making processes. Decisions previously made on an intuitive level may pan out rather differently if they are made based on the available data instead. This gives us greater control over the present and the future. Data is leading companies to the promised land of unlimited business opportunities, in which everything and everyone is connected. Click here for more information about digital transformation.