July 2018 Edition
Many corporations are concerned with the “buzzword” of becoming a digital enterprise so that they can “get to the cloud.” Data Dynamics CEO Piyush Mehta, the “Dean of Data,” addressed the specifics of how a company can become a digital enterprise in his recent Mehta-Data© podcast. There seems to be a lot of corporate chatter among C-Suite executives and IT professionals at all levels on how does their company become a digital enterprise. First off, what really is a digital enterprise?
“This is an entity that is technology driven across all processes– both internal and external processes– that drive efficiencies and takes things that may have been done with labor-intensive means toward an automated, systematic process. Externally, this relates to how to increase their competitive advantage by accelerating their go to market, by being more poignant in how and who they address within their audience, and by delivering things to their audience.
“All of this centers around being able to leverage different data points that these entities are collecting, and converting them into information that is actionable and valuable to drive that differentiation.”
How do you manage data differently in a digital enterprise versus conventional means?
“First and foremost, to become a digital enterprise you are collecting data across so many facets. Whether they be internal processes related to HR, marketing, or internal accounting, or whether they be external to collecting data on consumers, and how you know their buying patterns.
“For example, where they travel, what are they like to eat, what type of restaurant or the type of cuisine do they prefer. Managing that sheer amount of data becomes a big challenge in a digital versus a conventional means.
“The second part is leveraging that data into information. So how do I take applications that may be utilizing data, giving those applications access to the right data at the right time to be able to make the value out of it, and be able to deploy that into something that will derive ROI and capital back externally.”
What’s the largest challenge a company faces in trying to become a digital enterprise? Driving the adoption of taking data and being able to manage it.
“The first is to examine the main legacy management mindset and management process of the enterprise and convert that into a digital world. There are years, if not decades, of processes and structures that are there in place. Converting them into a digital process flow and determining process automation is extremely difficult.
“The underlying challenge of making data into an asset rather than a cost is being able to get access to that data, to the applications, and when they are needed, on demand and to derive value out of it. One way is creating the applications and automation that will drive and lead to digitalization within an environment and being able to access the data that is behind it in order to convert it into information.
“That cannot be done across a single silo or a single application, but to be shared across applications and across users, and to derive the utmost value from those data points. This can then lead to business value and outcomes that derive better ROI, and derive a quick and different outcome compared to your competitors.
“Many companies probably know the data is important to them from a competitive perspective. But probably fewer have any specific strategies on what to really do with the data, and how to make it work for them.”
Without using any proprietary information or names, what are some ways that you have seen a digital enterprise really gain some actionable insights on their data?
“Discovering information on people and entities is a journey to digitalization through a transformation that’s taking place, some maybe evolving far faster than others. Companies that I have seen successfully do this have the ability to do a couple of different things.
“One is on the consumer front. They have a far better understanding of their customers, their purchasing patterns, and their spending habits. For example, a traveler agency can discover what type of activities they like, what are the type of destinations they like to go to, and make suggestions or provide guidance proactively based on this data. Determining what is their typical spending in a particular year, and then catering services to that and being able to offer them special deals, etc., specifically to address that.
“The same is true for a financial services company, where they are able to tell what applications are leveraging what data, and being able to give those applications more data points to leverage. That will then allow them to offer better products, whether they be specific to consumers from a lending perspective, whether they be a wealth management perspective, or whether they be a traditional banking perspective.
“In most cases, the challenge to be faced is taking data and making it actionable, where it can derive value and become information that can drive value. You must make sure that your data on the back-end is laid out, from an infrastructure standpoint, to allow the flexibility to generate the desired business outcome.”
Many organizations have a wish list of information they would like to have about their data. But how often do you really see any new or unexpected data, insights, or purposes.
“Once people do learn what they have access to, what is occurring in today’s digital transformation is that data comes in many forms, and data brings a variety of different value. Before an application could be tied to specific data, you could only extract the value related to that application. What you find in today’s world is those data points could have a myriad of value.
“The consumer example that I mentioned before, in terms of spending patterns, could have value for those online travel portals to provide specific destination value. But it could also have value for the card processor on the spending patterns of their customers, and that brings about a completely different value chain from the same data point.
“Identifying somebody willing to spend $1,000 on a credit card versus $100, and when they are spending it, and then being able to customize financial solutions to those scenarios is a classic example. Taking that same example and running it through its lifecycle, where you have different use cases which may initially not be thought about, can then be extrapolated.”
“A clothing retailer may get involved in a beach-based destination. Can I sell them or can I offer them swimwear or things related to beach activity, something that earlier may not be a data point that they would even be able to think about or capture, much less derive informational value out of what would allow them a competitive advantage?”
What are three ideas are tips or keys on how to become a digital enterprise?
“I believe the transformation is something that is a journey, so an enterprise needs to make sure they have identified outcomes or results that are expected along with the milestones in that journey. That’s number one. Because if you have milestones, what ends up happening is you’re able to determine success criteria and keep moving forward.
“Second, to enable and empower digitalization requires the sharing of information across a far broader spectrum than in the past. Making sure that you have the right security controls around data that allow people to access that data as needed, but only to those that should have access. And the ability to move that data around so that applications can access it when they need it, where they need it, is an important component of that.
“Finally (third), I’d say infrastructure that manages the data or the underlying brick and mortar asset. All of this is necessary because facilitating data access also ties back into where the infrastructure resides, especially as digital enterprises look at a hybrid-cloud model.
“Being able to understand that, and making sure that it is structured in a manner that gives flexibility to the application in order to access data, as and when needed, becomes the final tie into this. Strategically, ensuring that you define operational parameters that are measurable, tactically ensuring that you know you have empowerment and enablement of accessing data, and finally the ability from a technology standpoint to have an underlying infrastructure that can tie this and enable this.
“These are all three key components to help digitalization take place quicker faster in your transformation, and to be successful and responsive at any level of the data chain in the Corporation.”
How can someone really find out what it’s going to take for their operation to become data enterprise?
“One quick and easy way is to go to our website at www.datdyn.com, where we have created a survey based on customer responses. What we found is a lot of customers are asking us typical questions that allow and help them to understand where and how they can get to digitalization.
“We created the survey right on the top of the website. Take a look, and it can help guide you on the journey, and to how best to digitalize based on the survey responses, and where you’re at in the journey.”
If you are interested in moving to the cloud for storage savings and better business analytics, you can get a cost of ownership (TCO) comparison and a list of recommendations by completing a short survey on the Data Dynamics website, https://www.datadynamicsinc.com for a free assessment.
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