Galp's Chief Data Officer (CDO) is in no doubt that the future is all about obtaining value from data, but he believes that what is to come will be totally disruptive. “Just think that according to estimates there will be more than 50 billion interconnected devices in five years´ time, and that the rate of usage of smartphones and the Internet, which stands at around 40% or 50% today, will be close to 100%”, he stresses.
This means that technology and the digital economy will continue to grow exponentially, thereby creating numerous new challenges, particularly due to the fact that “a lot of this data will be in real time, which creates new demands for organisations, which will need to capture and analyse it immediately”.
Multiple types of combined data, above all on events, activities and behaviour will increasingly be sources of information by default. The correlation of this data will enable us to deduce patterns, preferences and trends and open the doors to a world of new personalised opportunities geared to the specific and immediate desires of individuals and consumers in real time, which, guarantees the CDO, "will give rise to a major shift in paradigms, both for those entrusted with defining business visions, those operating the technology and those implementing data solutions and products. In the future, the real value will not involve the collection of large amounts of specific data over time, but the collection of a wide spectrum of data generated in an hour, in a single day”.
“In the future, the real value will not involve the collection of large amounts of specific data over time, but the collection of a wide spectrum of data generated in an hour, in a single day”
The exponential growth of data is inevitable and the survival of organisations will depend on their ability to convert it into effective value. This, as far as the Jorge Afonso is concerned, “is a reality that requires a significant change, as companies today merely capture, process and analyse data, and then react, and this isn´t particularly useful. There will no longer be time for such a lengthy cycle, everything will have to be done on the spot in line with each individual´s time of response to a specific action or stimulus. This is where the big opportunities will lie. One more hour will result in the loss of multiple opportunities”, he points out.
‘DATA DRIVEN’ IS THE FIRST STEP
The amount of data available is immense and is increasing at an incredible rate. The transition in the way of organising, structuring, governing and exploiting the potential of data is challenging and long, but unavoidable for an organisation the size of Galp, which operates in a diverse series of markets and areas of business. Furthermore, “the commitment to our clients and areas such as sustainable mobility and energy efficiency, the company's main drivers of strategic innovation, makes the potential of data an essential topic for the company”, highlights Jorge Afonso.
The goal of becoming a data-driven company can be interpreted as the ability to make informed and timely decisions, be they strategic, operational or even risk-related, based on quality data that means the same for everyone. This goal depends on the organisation's preparation and ability to use data correctly, based on specific business challenges to be met.
In the future, says the CDO, “this will mean that an organisation's entire strategy will be inspired, and even led by deductions taken from data”. As such, organisations will need to operate with strategic clarity and the contribution of data in each area needs to be evident, in addition to there being a total alignment with the priorities of each business unit. The relationship between the areas of data, business and technology need to be unified and permanent, thereby ensuring that the transformation takes place in an integrated and global manner, starting with the foundations, at the level of processes and people, passing through technology and operating models, and bearing in mind, from the outset, the necessary elasticity to allow for the scale effect”, he reinforces.
“The relationship between the areas of data, business and technology need to be unified and permanent, thereby ensuring that the transformation takes place in an integrated and global manner”
Jorge Afonso believes that Galp has implemented a corporate vision with regard to data: “we know exactly where we are going and what we wish to achieve”. This vision isn´t watertight, but it has been continuously adjusted and adapted to ensure it is always in line with the organisation's strategic and business goals and that focuses not only on factors related to the ability to extract value from data (both through the use of analytical models and the monetisation thereof), but above all, he says, “on how and for what purpose we use it to ensure the impact is effective and real in the organisation's life”. To this end, he says, “we are working towards obtaining contextualised, structured data of the highest standard of quality, or in other words, governed”. He adds that “we are implementing state-of-the-art technologies specific to complex data ecosystems, new processes, methodologies and dedicated data profiles – data owners, stewards, custodians, scientists, among others – to deal with this transition, bringing innovation into the way in which we make use of our data”.
In parallel, we need to invest in improving the skills of the company's employees. “Obviously, this also implies changes in the way in which we think and act in a reality in which data is becoming democratized. This forces us to gradually adjust our entire culture, which, in our particular case, we are promoting through a comprehensive data literacy programme implemented across the entire organisation, in addition to other levers of communication, involvement and alignment of our people”, highlights Jorge Afonso.
He argues that the first step is to demystify the subject of data, to help people to understand it, to approach the issue at the right level of complexity for each position, to know how to listen in order to understand where the problems are and to invest in dealing with them pursuant to the policies defined for the purpose. “This work will only be successful if the entire organisation is involved – business, operations, technology, people and innovation – in a way of constant collaboration, under shared goals as a means of harnessing more and better opportunities with which to re-energise Galp both today and tomorrow”.