Dr. Daniel Yar Hamidi (PhD) is an expert in corporate governance and digital transformation. His main base is the Department of Information Technology at the University of Borås, in Sweden. We caught up with him to discuss the value of analytics in organisations, and why corporate governance and innovation make good partners.
Daniel, tell us a bit about your work.
My research is about corporate governance, generally in the field of innovation. I have worked on entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises for a long time and more recently, this has moved into corporate governance, and particularly decision making for governance in organisations. Most of our students are undergraduates, but I also work on advanced courses for working professionals. Even working at the university, one of my main aims has always been to engage with working professionals and help them to take the next step. These are effectively postgraduates who are coming back to the university to upskill and sometimes reskill.
Governance is often about making sure that things are steady, but innovation has a reputation for being a bit chaotic and disruptive. How do you see the relationship between the two?
Perhaps the most important characteristic of innovation is that it’s about change. What we want with innovation is to challenge and change, and the outcome is very unclear. And as you say, governance is all about creating stability by strengthening institutions and developing grounds for consensus among stakeholders. I am interested in looking at innovation from a governance perspective, which means that I constantly try to find processes that will nurture innovation by creating the stable background to enable us to take risks. Innovation is about risk-taking, and governance is about risk management. When we bring the two together, we can talk about the kinds of risks we want to take, and those that we want to avoid.
What have you observed about the role of data and analytics in innovation, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises?
In the last few years, I have had a very concrete focus on service innovation. I think if you are going to find out about and offer any new value proposition and create new services, you really need to be data-driven. We need to have relevant data, and be able to analyse them. Most of the innovations in companies today are actually about services. All the products and technology we are using are promoting new services to be developed and offered to the marketplace. To do that, we need to be able to gather and analyse an enormous amount of data—and if we can do that, we get new opportunities to innovate new services. Data and data analytics is absolutely the centre of this process.
You talked about upskilling and reskilling. Where would you say SME managers and leaders are in their ability to understand and manage data and analytics to support better decisions?
It’s a paradox. We all use a lot of services that are based on data and analytics. However, when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises, the capability to use this kind of technology is still in its infancy. It’s very immature. Many small business leaders don’t really see the possibilities in their own business. They appreciate the value, and they understand the power it will offer them, but they have enormous difficulty in translating that to their own businesses.
What do you think is the answer to this?
We need to raise the levels of data literacy, and help them to see how they can bring together their business acumen with data and analytics. I think we have a long way to go yet. We are talking about small and medium-sized enterprises but I also work with large multinational companies, and many of them are having a similar difficulty clearing out their processes. They spend more money, and they have much more knowledge. However, they struggle to create value from data. SMEs are probably struggling more because of lack of resources, lack of knowledge and lack of partnership with other institutions, companies, and organisations. That’s where programmes like SAS’s Analytics Value Training comes in. I’d like to see more collaboration between academia and companies like SAS. We need to help companies to combine academic knowledge, business knowledge and analytics knowledge. If we can do that, it will be a great contribution to society.
Dr Daniel Yar Hamidi is a part of the ALP and AVT ecosystem expertise, read more
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