Your company’s greatest asset is its data. But to start creating true business value, you need to have the right data strategy in place, says Manfred Gramlich, strategic solutions manager at Hitachi Vantara.
You pull up to the curb at the airport and as you exit your car, your mobile immediately directs you to the right check-in desk and then on to the relevant security gate. After clearing the gate, you’re alerted to the fact that your favourite coffee from the café you frequent is ready and waiting for you.
This is digital disruption in action, no longer simply about streamlining your operations or increasing the speed at which you deliver, it’s about redefining the service you offer.
The reality is that if you want to compete in tomorrow’s business landscape, you should be looking at your organisation and asking how you can introduce new business models today.
Easier said than done you say?
Definitely — but while no-one would argue that digital transformation is easy, the good news is that you already have the major asset you need to start reimagining your business. What it all comes down to is data.
The more data you are able to collect and combine around your internal business, products and transactions, and external economics, competitors, clients and trends, the more valuable your business becomes.
Key is to have an effective data strategy which consists of four primary capabilities.
Give life to your data
We begin with data management, which is essentially data independence — it’s about abstracting the data away from the infrastructure that it sits on and the applications which create it. Ultimately you want to give that data life and security outside of the application.
This stage of your data strategy involves accessing data from a variety of different sources, and automating the functions of managing and accelerating that data with foundational infrastructure like flash.
Make sure your data remains mobile
We then move on to data governance where our goal is to ensure that data remains mobile. It’s about evaluating data as an entity and treating it like an application set. It involves looking at that data at rest, and as it transmits to your partners and clients. You’ll also want to ensure that you have compliance of that data and can protect it over time. Key is that when you create it, it must be operationally recoverable.
Using data for a ‘different’ purpose
Data mobility is then about making data available to people, places and things. In fact, you can think of it as a simple ‘from, to and for’ process.
First we want to mobilise data from the source that created it. We are connecting all of the applications that we build and separating the structured data from the unstructured data. The structured data goes into a database and the unstructured data into a data lake. We are then able to use that data for a purpose other than what it was created for. It becomes more than just a side-effect of what happens when buttons are clicked or information is saved.
The next phase is about mobilising that data to people, places and things. Multiple devices and sources should be able to access this information. Business applications should be connected together so you can connect to and transform information and unstructured data, much like you can with structured information.
Finally, your goal is to mobilise that data for new business purposes. To make sure you can use it for governance, as a source for analytics and a platform for new application development. You could use it for functions like cloud brokering — having the data lake, via policy, determine when it’s appropriate to use the cloud instead of having 400 connection points to 400 applications.
Start reaping the rewards
Through analytics you will be able to create and derive value from the data you collect. This is where you apply statistical and mathematical models, and redefine the data that you have. It’s where you mine interesting insight so you can evolve and create business decisions.
Perhaps you want to learn more about your clients and their behaviour, perhaps you want to wrap an existing service with more compelling information, whatever the area of your business in question, data analytics is your solution to driving that greater value.
Introducing a single integrated portfolio of solutions like the Hitachi Content Platform can help to simplify the process of achieving desired business and IT outcomes. By modernising the data centre, optimising applications and mobilising data, and then activating that data by stimulating new ways of automating, correlating and sharing content, it accelerates your digital transformation journey.
At the end of the day your business is already sitting on gold — don’t let it go to waste by not implementing the right mining strategy.