Every new era of technology comes with its own unique challenges, but the era of digital transformation we’re now in has significantly ramped up the complexity that business leaders need to deal with. Every day, the expectations of your customers are heightened by the digital experiences they’re offered through new applications. At the same time, your competitors are circling with their own applications, products, and services designed to erode your bottom line, and contribute to their own.
Against this backdrop, digital transformation is imperative, but it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons why we undertake a digital transformation program. Ultimately, we believe that digital transformation is about putting your business in the best possible position to adapt your business models at rapid pace. It’s about innovation and agility for staying one step ahead of your customers’ expectations, and your competitors’ next offering.
Sounds great, but what does that mean in real terms? Put simply, it’s about data. Every organisation collects and stores data, but very few put data at the centre of their business to truly drive agility and improved reponsiveness. Unstructured data isn’t information. It only becomes valuable when it’s accessible and ready to be processed in the right areas of your business.
Where for art thou data?
Everyone is scrambling to make the most of cloud, mobile, big data, and even IoT, but all of these are wasted unless we can bring the data together in a meaningful way. That’s why we’re seeing companies such as Amazon using data as their competitive advantage. They don’t let a single dataset go to waste. They attempt to find out any information they can about their customers so they can create the ideal offering for each customer, at precisely the right time, in any location or channel.
Unless we can turn data into information, analysis, and actionable insights, it’s merely an asset we’re paying a premium to collect and store, without deriving any real value from. And this is the situation we see many businesses in. They’re hamstrung by their ability to get the information and insights they need to make timely decisions.
Their data is spread across multiple legacy systems and databases, and the simple act of cleaning and processing data into remotely tangible information is an arduous and time-consuming process. Not only does it soak up valuable IT resources and man-hours, but it’s also a process that many technology professionals are inexperienced to perform to adequate standards.
Time to insight is time to value
While we understand how important it is to deliver seamless digital experiences to our customers, including timely information and recommendations, we don’t attempt to offer the same streamlined experiences to our internal stakeholders. So, how can we expect decision-makers in our organisation to capitalise on opportunities in the marketplace, when they can’t access the insights they need, at precisely when they need them?
Real business agility that allows you to react to changing conditions is best achieved by consolidating your data onto an integrated platform. This allows your organisation to accelerate time to insight – which is the length of time it takes your internal stakeholders to turn unprocessed data into actionable insights.
With a unified and integrated platform that provides real-time analytics and forecasting to every business unit, your organisation will be democratising data and developing a competitive advantage through data-driven decision-making. SAP S/4HANA public cloud offers this platform, which also doubles as a foundation for leveraging the capabilities of IoT and big data. With a simplified data model, is significantly reduces the complexity in your IT environment, and dramatically reduces the costs associated with data collection and storage.
About the author:
As the Managing Partner at Discovery Consulting, my team and I provide assistance to organisations who want to discover a new competitive advantage through SAP’s industry-leading technology solutions, including S/4HANA and SuccessFactors. If you’d like to discuss how your organisation can create a new technology landscape that drives organisational growth and workforce engagement, please feel free to get in touch