03 Dec Digital Transformation is about creating unified data
A lot of oxygen and headlines are devoted to discussing digital transformation, but amongst all of the noise, it can be easy to lose sight of what it really means. It isn’t just about freeing up office space by getting rid of the filing cabinet, and it isn’t just launching a new app or website.
Data is now the centre of the business universe, as it controls every decision while dictating who will be the market leader and who will be the follower. It’s no coincidence that the new behemoths of the corporate world are using data to eclipse the economic power of many countries. They use data to understand infinite detail about what their customers want, while uncovering the hidden secrets in every corner of their supply chain and operations.
But it isn’t just enough to have data. Every business has data but very few are using it to it’s true transformative capabilities. Because this is what digital transformation is really about. It’s about placing the collection, storage, management and dissemination of data as the number one priority in your business. You can say your number one priority is customer experience, supply chain efficiency, or production excellence, but none of these can be perfected without the effective use of good quality data.
New digital technologies such as mobile, IoT and AI are converging to create unprecedented volumes of data for you to tap into. But all of this data is useless unless you’re able to turn it into information, analysis and actionable insights. Most businesses are hamstrung to varying degrees by their marriage to legacy databases and disparate data silos. Even if they know where their data lives, converting it into a useable form is a thankless and time-consuming task.
We spend big dollars on ensuring our websites and apps are constantly updated to ensure our customers have all of the information they need to make instant decisions. So why don’t we offer the same level of service internally? Why aren’t we offering our internal stakeholders the same ease of access to trusted reliable data?
Our advice for any digital transformation project is to view it from the lens of data:
Will new technology allow us to better collect reliable data?
Can we convert the data into a useable format?
Can we link data together across multiple systems?
How will new technology allow self-service data analysis?
Will the project allow us to create a competitive advantage through data?
Ultimately, we believe that digital transformation initiatives succeed or fail based on how well they’re able to create or leverage unified data. Having a unified data platform provides your business with the timely insights you need to respond to new changes and opportunities in your environment. It also dramatically reduces the administrative burden on your IT resources in having to manually clean and disseminate data to business users.
So, before you add a new piece of technology into your IT environment, or you decide to digitise or automate a process, ask yourself whether the end result will be better or worse for the net value of your organisation’s data. Because transformation for transformation’s sake isn’t enough to create a competitive advantage in a data-driven world.
Michael Power | 3 Dec 2018