As data becomes the new currency, here’s how to tap into its value

data-on-screen

Companies thriving in the digital age don’t see data as mere “digital exhaust” belching out from transactional systems. Instead, they view data as a prized enterprise asset that can help them to monetize opportunities, improve productivity, engage more meaningfully with their stakeholders, and respond to threats. Data has become the new currency, but how can you best tap into its value?

Analytics is increasingly being embedded in key business activities that deal with decision making, engagement and operational excellence. To enable this, progressive enterprises are taking a fresh look at data infrastructure and the way data is sourced, stored, analyzed, and distributed within the enterprise. Whereas data was previously seen as an afterthought, it has now become a critical component of everything a company does – the fuel a company needs to run the business.

Your data supply chain is as important as your physical supply chain. To derive the most value out of data, enterprises need to take the following into consideration:

Sourcing. Since data has become so important, organizations need to get access to more and more data, and it needs to be readily available in many different formats. Because data is often modified after being captured, enterprises need to keep track of what’s being modified. The original set of immutable data needs to be retained because it often becomes the source needed to make business decisions.

Automation. With digital transformation, it’s all about automation, which is becoming a major component of overall analytics capabilities. When you digitize the enterprise, you need to be able to move from process step to process step in an automated fashion. Then, when you automate processes, they will not only be much faster, you can also do a lot more things at the same time.

Infrastructure. Enterprises need solutions that allow for data to be accessed on-demand, anywhere in the globe. Automated processes are faster and allow for more real-time decision making. More time can be spent on analyzing data than on acquiring and manipulating data to make it fit for use.  The optimal data infrastructure is inherently going to be a cloud-based hybrid solution. You need an infrastructure that can collect information from different sources, store it, and provide easy access, allowing you to analyze and distribute data throughout the enterprise.

Processing. With a hybrid cloud infrastructure in place, you need the ability to process the data in high volumes at high speed. Enterprises need a data broker capability that brokers a request to extract information from different data sources based on the request. The results are then sent to an entity that can correlate the pieces together and give the information back in a way that provides value.

Extraction. For extracting data, enterprises need to create an entity that lets you pick the best solution based on where the data source is located. Besides having the data broker capability that tells you where the data is located, enterprises need an infrastructure broker capability that tells you where the infrastructure components are located.

Metadata. To put some additional information on top of the data they have, enterprises need to create metadata that is associated with their data sources, based on anticipated business needs. Metadata comes in many different flavors but from a data perspective, there are three you need to focus on:

  • Business metadata: This is what data means to users. Frequently used data fields need user friendly tags to make them easily accessible.
  • Operational metadata: You need to quickly assess the accuracy and quality of your data for attributes such as how many records were rejected during data preparation.
  • Technical metadata: This is the form and structure of the dataset. You need to ask questions like: “What is the schema associated with this particular field?”

Streaming. The consumer goods industry is no different than any other in that speed becomes very important when reacting to customers, such as in a social media event. Enterprises need to have a stream of data and real-time analytics to be able to make decisions in real time.

Architecture. Enterprises need an architecture and design that allows you to tailor for both streaming and batch capabilities. Having a data catalog that can explore, search and discover data sets within the enterprise is also essential to know how data fields are being created, organized, and how users should use the data.

Distribution. Finally, enterprises need to have an effective way of distributing, storing, tagging, and accessing data so the business can successfully tap into its value.

See what Gartner says is needed to build your business in a digital world.

Data is becoming the central part of the decision process for the digital enterprise and every decision that is being made is supported and driven by data. The more data we can analyze in ever decreasing time frames in a way that lets us make more informed decisions, the better the decision process will be.   All in all, to become a truly data-driven digital enterprise, data is key — without it, your enterprise is doomed!


Rene-Aerdts-headshotRené Aerdts is DXC’s chief technologist for a global consumer goods corporation client, for which he leads the technology strategy and provides the technical vision to advance the objectives of the business. Integral to that process, René drives innovation and inspires selective disruption to enable the client to thrive through accelerating change in the industry.

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