Digital Transformation is a core calling and mandate for businesses globally. And for good reasons. Businesses that do not make the transition are outperformed by competitors and they lose significant competitive advantage in rather short periods.
Digital Transformation means being Data-Driven
Moreover, digital-transformation, driven and propelled by ‘data’, characterises a significant shift for businesses. Data-driven digital transformation allows organisations to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.
Regardless of industry sector and irrespective of organisational size, the businesses outperforming competitors and leading their class are doing so leveraging data. They are dynamic and responsive. They capitalise on trends. They deliver better services at competitive pricing and are operationally effective while being financially efficient.
Why isn’t everyone making the journey?
Even though the benefits of being data-driven are now widely known and accepted, many organisations, even today, are not on the journey. Organisations that are not leveraging their data or, are not doing so in an appropriate manner, are setting themselves up for failure. They must keep up to date with the rate and pace of change. They must commence their journey of digital transformation and ensure that it is a data-driven journey.
Moving workloads to cloud infrastructure is an extremely critical part of an organisation’s journey of transformation. However, transitioning these workloads are not an easy feat. It has proven to be a challenge for many organisations.
So how can organisations avoid the pitfalls? How can they ensure the best outcomes? We suggest you start by asking some key questions of themselves before commencing the transition to the cloud.
How well do we know our data?
Data integration mistakes cause a large percentage of cloud transition mayhem. These can be traced back to a flawed understanding of what data precisely resides, in source systems, and in target systems.
To have a robust and seamless data integration play, organisations must know where their data resides. This, is of principal importance. Without it, the data integration play is bound for trouble.
Having deep knowledge of what the data is, where the data lives and where it is headed allows businesses to eliminate poor data practices. It also helps businesses focus more on their customers because they free up time by minimising back-end admin work.
A well thought out, and well-executed data management strategy also ensure seamless data migration between platforms. When the data and the context in which the data resides is well understood, data management professionals can better analyse the data in more detail. This allows the business to realise more holistic value from the data.
When the data is catalogued using its attributes, businesses users can then use the data to perform various business activities, such as data access, data exploration, data querying, analytics, governance etc. To be noted that this also sets a foundation for technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
How well you know your data, and all facets of the data, is critical to data integration, which in turn forms a strong foundation for a seamless transition to the cloud.
Are we leveraging data management solutions to manage our cloud investment?
Enterprise applications are large and complex. They often have components sitting in the cloud, that too multiple clouds, and also in on-prem data platforms. To manage this large, complex, multi-cloud and multi-platform data, a robust data management solution is needed. Data is an extremely important asset. It is mandatory that it is well managed and maintained, to realise performance, security and compliance. Businesses today are only as successful as their data allows them to be. Managing the data well and keeping it maintained is now essentially.
The data management solution must manage and maintain the business’ internal data. However, it must step above this requirement to look after third party vendors too. Easy onboarding of third-party vendors and seamless integration into the organisation’s own data investment is crucial, particularly in certain industries, such as manufacturing and retail. The more extensive and complex the supply chain, the higher the need for the seamless onboarding and integration.
This allows organisations to invite vendors seamlessly into their supply chain equation. Also allows vendors to access the necessary databases for optimal business operations.
How well governed is our data?
Post-GDPR and other such regulations sprouting up globally, data governance is amongst the most significant priorities and yet challenging hurdles that organisations face.
Consumers globally do not wish to use online services if their personal data is not guaranteed protection. Businesses must appreciate that the customer data they have is not theirs. It is merely under their charge and care. They do not own the data. They are obligated to protect the data and are requited of the law the safeguard it.
Regardless of whether the data is sitting on-prem, a private cloud, a hosted cloud or in the public cloud, it is the organisation’s responsibility to safeguard data on all platforms they leverage.
Data compliance must not be seen to be an inconvenience. It must be seen as a vehicle and a channel to business success. Robust data governance can help elevate data standards, and consequently data quality.
Are our data integration requirements prioritised?
Most, if not all business applications require access to data to perform optimally. Hence, when migrating data to the cloud, the IT and data management teams must collaborate to ensure data can be easily and securely accessed. Furthermore, cloud-based applications often use different interfaces, protocols and data formats. Businesses must ensure their data integration tool sets meet all the different requirements across their IT infrastructure.
Does our organisation have the skills to thrive in the cloud?
Data is indubitably one of the most important assets for modern day organisations. Equally important is the human asset – employees.
With the migration to the cloud and hybrid data environments, the workload and demands on IT and data management are increasing and becoming more complex.
Businesses must ensure their teams are upskilled to stay informed of the new developments in the data management space. To implement any technology successfully, businesses must be clear on how best to approach the implementation. This leads to the fastest time to value. For cloud transitions to be seamless and successful, organisations must have on board the skills needed to plan, strategise and execute. With best practices, companies stand the best chance of their investment having a transformative impact.
The Enterprise mandate to transform
Digital Transformation is now a board-level mandate; CEOs are being asked of it. It is a part of scorecards and annual appraisals, even remuneration. Transitioning to the cloud is a key component of the digital transformation journey.
If the boat of digital transformation is missed, organisations can be left behind and even perish. If successfully boarded, the journey undertaken and executed well, organisations can rapidly outperform competitors and gain a significant competitive advantage in rather short spans of time.
Are you embarking on a digital transformation journey? Are you transitioning to the cloud? Have you answered some of the key questions for your organisation’s journey?