Kathy Gibson is at IDC CIO Summit in Zimbali – When it comes to making a digital transformation journey, it’s useful to look at how organisations have been successful.

The intelligent enterprise that will thrive in the digital environment needs to embrace a unified data management and digital platform strategy, says Peter Blignaut, pre-sales manager: digital platform, Africa at SAP.

He cites his own example of actually only using data when it was made available once he was confident it was trustworthy and current.

Importantly, successful organisations are making this information available at all levels of the business.

As an example, he says, a retail customer has realised that there is a wealth of information already available in their organisation. They started out wanting to reduce waste, and by making information available on the shop floor they were able to tackle the problem.

The project has saved hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing waste across the board using data and a degree of machine learning.

Blignaut points to SAP’s Digital Boardroom that allows companies to present numbers from the real systems – and this has raised the trust in the numbers.

He adds that regulation is an issue that companies have to be aware of in the digital world.

“We see that whether customers are using data originating in the system or data they are bringing in, security and regulation is absolutely critical.”

Importantly, a digital strategy needs to align to real business outcomes and deliver real value, Blignaut adds. “What we are seeing that is critical in delivering the intelligent core is getting the productivity of teams up.”

As the cloud becomes pervasive, there’s a need for companies to start working differently. “Entire business models are changing,” says Brett StClair, CEO of Siatik.

“We operate currently in a world of scarcity,” he adds. “But we need to move to the world of abundance.”

Electricity is one example: currently we dig coal out of the ground and burn it – so the price goes up. But solar is abundant, so the cost keeps coming down.

“The same is true in work where companies own their technology. In the cloud, however, you fire up resources as you need them, This is the world of adundance.”

Just five years ago, companies resisted the move to cloud because of issues like security and data sovereignty, StClair says. “Today we are all going cloud. And this means we are entering the era of cloud workers, where we can capitalise on the era of abundance.”

But many of us are still offline, he adds. “In desktop computing we are still living in a world of scarcity.

“But imagine a world where you never have to upgrade, ever. Where you don’t have to worry about setting up security; where everything just happens automatically.”

The bottom line, StClair adds, is that companies are afraid to enable cloud workers – but a quarter of staff are already cloud workers.

“So why aren’t we embracing this?” asks StClair

Among the benefits are no more helpdesk, no more upgrades – even no more operating system since everything runs in the browser.

“Chrome operating system is changing the world.”