How to become an AI-driven digital business

How to become an AI-driven digital business
SparkOptimus Team
Written by
The SparkOptimus Blog Team
May 29, 2020

AI, machine learning, big data – is your head spinning from these topics popping up everywhere, yet you know too well you should “do something with it”? To support business leaders who want to get started with data, but struggle with the “how, what and where”, we developed a second edition of our well-received masterclass “Make Disruption Work”  – one that centers on exactly these topics.

The worldwide lockdowns due to the Corona virus have caused a huge surge in digital adoption which is believed to be permanent, thereby quickly increasing the need to accelerate AI capabilities to support those digital platforms. With a decade of experience in effectively digitizing companies, we as SparkOptimus see it as our duty to support as many businesses as we can in facing these unprecedented times. One of these supporting initiatives is hosting a condensed virtual version of our full-day AI masterclass once every two weeks, to accommodate as many of our (potential) clients as possible. In this 2.5-hour crash course, our data team discusses four key themes:


We kick-off this masterclass by explaining how the fundamental driver of disruption is always fulfillment of unmet customer needs. Over the last decade, we’ve all seen how the universal shift towards digital led to the first wave of disruption. With digital channels serving as a platform for AI services, AI technologies are now kickstarting the next wave of disruption. AI-driven digital business can therefore be seen as the next evolution of digital business. While an online fashion retailer used to be on par with an easily browsable assortment and quick home delivery, the world of AI enables – and will eventually require – AI-driven product and size recommendations, and AI-driven fulfillment and packaging. In this first chapter, we discuss how data is relevant for any business – also yours.


Next, we explain how in an AI-driven world, value moves from asset-first companies to customer-data-first companies. This is why forced Hilton to invest massively in D2C, and Netflix left Disney no option but to launch its own streaming platform. The main driver of this value shift is that data can be leveraged to optimize relevance – and thereby provide more value – to the customer. The good news is that you don’t have to be Amazon to do this! We discuss a four-step-approach to get you started.


The possibilities of data seem endless, but the fancy yet confusing terms used to describe the associated concepts can sound like black magic spells. Luckily, working with data is a lot less complex than the buzzwords might suggest. In this part of the masterclass, we demystify the terminology around AI and discuss practical business applications. The easiest way to unravel the seemingly limitless range of AI applications is by realizing that AI automates decision-making, just like IT automates manual labor. As a result, your business decisions become better, faster, and cheaper through an algorithm that is scalable, self-learning and consistent. For example, an algorithm that counts the people entering your store – in order to adhere to Corona measures – frees up human brainpower to interact with your clientele.

A traffic light at the entrance of a supermarket regulating people in the store

As the offer of off-the-shelve solutions like these continues to grow, data services are becoming a commodity, and taking steps towards becoming an AI-driven business can be reduced to strategic implementation of existing solutions.


Ultimately, all companies will need become AI-driven. In this final chapter, we look at the steps you need to take to get there and derive value from data. We discuss the biggest pitfalls and how to avoid these. For example, setting up a team of developers in a basement somewhere – as many businesses do just to “get started with AI” – is not a recipe for success. Data must leave the basement to become fully adopted in daily operations and have impact. We conclude this virtual AI masterclass by sharing important do’s and don’ts when successfully implementing data strategies, based on our work with over 100 companies.


SparkOptimus supports businesses in building this new AI-driven competitive advantage with a three-step-approach:

  • Step 1: Data maturity scan
  • Assessment of current initiatives and buy & build direction
  • Data & IT landscape and governance evaluations
  • Data-business collaboration, capabilities, and process scan
  • Step 2: Business-led data strategy
  • Business-data objectives, strategy, roadmap, and business case
  • Required data architecture and (first) tooling & systems
  • Organization blueprint including data-drive operating model and KPIs
  • Step 3: Data-drive business building
  • Business-led data pilot definition, execution and scale-up
  • Adjusted tech landscape based on pilots, priorities, and maturity
  • Per wave: capabilities built & way of working adapted

Interested in working together to become an AI-driven digital business? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

Ready to transform your organization? Discover how with our 1-week scan.