PEOPLE | Oct 5, 2017

One year with Ingenium

How has the perception of data culture changed over one year?

Exactly one year ago a specialist magazine was created as a place to deal with the theme of digital transformation, starting with the culture of data –  says Paolo Pandozy, CEO of Engineering. A new challenge that speaks of people, society, technology and the market, through the story of who brings about change every day and the vision of who generates transformation with their own work. Ingenium wants to be an ally for innovators, providing hints, ideas, interpretive tools and gateways, but also a place for exchange and comparison of crucial issues for the growth of companies and, with them, of society and the country.

Ingenium like ingenuity. Because it is ingenuity that governs innovation.

This was how Concetta Lattanzio, Director of Communication at Engineering and Editorial Manager of the magazine, presented the return of Ingenium a year ago, after its transformation from the paper monograph of 30 years earlier to an online magazine. “This a journey that began long ago – said Concetta Lattanzio – given that Ingenium has been a reference point for information and culture on the most innovative technology themes for many years. I worked on the previous magazine and I am convinced that a company like Engineering, which today contributes to building the future, can and should be a forum for meeting and discussing issues of digital innovation and transformation.

One year on, we asked who contributed to the magazine’s growth how and if the perception of the centrality of the culture of data has changed. Issues of digital innovation and transformation.

In the last year – says the head of the Central Directorate for INAIL Digital Organization Stefano Tomasini – “I have witnessed a change in the culture of data. Businesses and operators are no longer content with classic reports and are beginning to ask questions such as: is the datum easy to interpret? Does it have quality? From where is it extrapolated? Which elaborative processes has it undergone? What trend have we recorded? What will be the trend in the future? Can I increase the speed with which I provide information to institutions and operators following their requests? Can I have automatic indications on correlations between data in order to evoke phenomena useful for improving the processes and services of organizations?

These aspects are particularly felt in the digital transformation process for best designing new organizational flows and identifying areas of efficiency in services oriented towards internal and external users. Having a detailed picture of reality, a forecast of the future, and a speed of response for data analysis allows you to better orient digital transformation towards goals provided by business structures. In order to stimulate this increase of awareness, it is simply necessary to ‘ride the wave’, responding specifically to these needs, in order to trigger a virtuous mechanism geared towards optimizing processes. In practice: the datum as the fuel of the digitization process.

The world – declares one of Ingenium’s visionaries Gabriele Ruffatti will be progressively dominated by algorithms that ‘reason’ on data because this brings value to organizations, business, and individual and social life. This phenomenon is so obvious that it needs no explanation. But the effects of digital transformation must be governed in an ethical and transparent way. We will be facing crucial choices. Being unable to obtain the security and privacy you want, what will be the level of trust considered acceptable? When algorithms make decisions about human life, what will be the acceptable compromise? Companies must increase their awareness of the centrality of humans, investing more and more in people. We are taking the first steps into territory that increasingly requires technical ingenuity to be balanced by a creative and empathetic vision of the world. This ability essentially derives from the study and continuous nourishment of humanistic culture, which must grow in tandem with technological culture.

Awareness about the centrality of the datum – says Catalina Curcenau, lead researcher at the Frascati National Laboratories of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and member of the Foundational Question Institute (FQXi) – has increased in many companies (not all), but there is a lack of tools and, often, concrete actions to protect and make the most of such data. Shared policies are also needed at European level to help businesses and people deal with the dangers of a new threat – such as computer terrorism – and make the most of available data. Training is required. Because data represent the gold of the 21st century.

Unfortunately today – says Dario Buttitta, director of the Public Administration and Healthcare division in Engineering – the approach taken by public administrations to managing digital transformation still hides a strong lack of awareness of the potential that data express. This is due to the way in which technology is dropped into ‘business’ contexts: software is often bought but no work is done on the evolution of processes and organizational models. On the contrary, it is worthwhile understanding the value of processes and the need to rethink them in the transition to digital: it is not enough to digitize a datum that was previously reproduced on paper; it is necessary to evolve operating modes, exploiting the data obtained to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services rendered to citizens.

My feeling, working with the SMEs of Italy’s north-east – says another visionist Giovanni Longo is that there is still a widespread lack of basic culture on the opportunity (not to say necessity) of transforming the mass of business data into information. Often the most basic rudiments of document management related to their ISO 9000 quality certification are also disregarded. SMEs must exit as soon as possible from the loop of living hand to mouth with troublesome dynamics even from a trivially analog point of view, and begin to develop medium and long-term strategies starting from enhancement of the company’s knowledge base, after which they can reasonably think about 4.0 data management.

So many things have changed in one year, – concludes Stefano Epifani, President of the Digital Transformation Institute and director of Ingenium. One year in our sector is equivalent to one thousand. Yet one thing has not changed: there is a need to work in companies to create a true culture of data, because if it is true that with data you grow, it is also true that you can die from data (or lack of data, or their bad use). And today it’s vital to assert in organizations – in every organization – how important it is to understand the role of information and how to use it. It’s time for investments, it’s time to believe it. It’s time to understand that the fact that data are the new oil is not just an expression but a sine qua non for competitiveness. Beyond the storytelling.

In this first year of Ingenium we have asked, heard and reported quite a few words. Words which, in the same way as data, are not meant to remain closed in a magazine, but must help people, businesses and PAs to face up to digital transformation by choosing the datum as an ally.