(Aldila Yunus and Jeremy Vale contributed to this blog post.)

It’s official: Spring has sprung. The barren trees show signs of vitality, and fresh blossoms fill the air with their entrancing aromas once more. Dynamic shifts in our environs abound. Finally, we can shake off the winter blues and welcome the optimism that comes with brighter days and warmer weather. Spring is a time of bold transitions and transformations. What better time, then, to embark on a journey toward something as beautiful and striking as any spring flower: quality data and insights practices that drive innovation.

This month’s Insights Beat uncovers new ways to accelerate digital transformation, featuring some of our latest research on data and analytics technologies and strategies.

Be The Master Of Your Own Data 

In the age of the customer, it’s not enough for companies to simply rely on the data that they collect — you need to take a proactive approach to your data sourcing strategy. In order to better leverage insights, data analytics decision makers must draw from sources beyond what their organization has and integrate them in a meaningful way. The data is out there — it’s up to firms to scour the lush external data landscape in order to remain competitive and engender differentiation in a data-saturated market.

Don’t Be Afraid To Think Big . . .

AI and machine learning (ML) aren’t new concepts — those seeds have been sown for nearly 60 years. Only in recent years, however, have they started to show promise for business leaders. Not only are companies using AI and ML in increasingly creative ways to drive customer (or fan) engagement, but these technologies also offer the potential to design the next-best experience for customers in real time. While the real business value of AI and ML can deliver, one thing is for certain: The futures of AI and ML are unstoppable forces for driving enterprise innovation.

. . . But Stay Grounded In The Fundamentals

While the siren song of technology’s potential can be tempting to ignore, it’s important to maintain the foundations of good data practices. Ensure that your organization is following a road map that will aid your digital transformation, and make sure that you use technologies that automate the end-to-end data warehouse, data mart, and business intelligence build cycles for faster insights.

As you embark down the road to improved insights this spring, you may find that the path ahead is muddied. Join us in Chicago at our Digital Transformation & Innovation 2019 Forum next week to learn best practices for elevating digital and leading innovation initiatives at your organization — and the role of data in your digital transformation.

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Note: You will need a Forrester subscription to access research featured and linked in this post.