There is a lot written about digital transformation and what it means to organizations, but how do companies make sure that they are heading in the right direction in their journey to digital transformation?
The benefits of transforming an organization into a data-centric enterprise that relies on accurate, timely information to drive business decisions is obvious – better understanding of customers, ability to see trends more quickly and improved competitive positioning. Moving away from siloed, application-specific information to a more comprehensive platform that integrates, validates and makes data accessible to all users is the ultimate goal of any digital transformation strategy.
When beginning your digital transformation journey, be sure to keep these three tips in mind:
Start with the data
The most effective digital transformation strategy is data-centric – beginning with a look at the data that is most needed and addressing applications later.
While many people talk about the need for digital transformation is related to an increased in unstructured data that is available today, the reality is that 97 percent of the millions of transactions handled by Liaison for our clients is structured. By starting with the existing, structured data and determining how its use can be improved, the organization can build a solid foundation to expand the use of other data sources – including unstructured data.
Address data hygiene
According to a Computing report, 42 percent of people surveyed are not convinced that internal data within their company is trustworthy. The validity of data when first entered into an application is dependent on the person inputting the information. If a phone number is mistyped into one application, the same wrong number will be transferred to an application used by another department downstream. If the mistake is caught by the second person, it may be corrected in that application but the first, original application still has incorrect data that can still be transferred to other applications. Ten years ago, when you could count the number of applications used in an organization on the fingers of one or two hands, it was easier to track down the source of bad information and correct it.
Today, however, it is not unusual for an organization to have more than 50 siloed applications in use.
This points out the need to employ technology that serves as a “traffic copy” to validate data transferred from one application to another. For that reason, a digital transformation strategy must rely on an integration platform to connect applications, versus point-to-point connections between applications.
Recognize the presence of shadow IT
Employees will look for applications that make their jobs easier creating “shadow IT,” or applications that are unknown to IT departments and that operate outside the firewall.
When developing your digital transformation strategy, identify which mission-critical applications must be standardized throughout the organization.
Also, identify the situations, departments, jobs or people who will have the liberty to select applications specific to their needs. Understanding that this “shadow IT” is present allows an organization to manage the type and number of applications and control how they interact in the ecosystem.
There is no “plug and play” approach to digital transformation because each organization’s needs are unique. Keeping the above three tips in mind and working with a technology partner who understands the challenges of integrating, harmonizing and managing data to benefit an enterprise is important.
As you look at your IT infrastructure and your requirements to remain competitive in your field, remember that taking a data-centric approach positions your organization for innovation.
Want to hear more on digital transformation? Listen to the full podcast If (and When) You’re Going Digital, It’s All About the Data.
Ready to take the next step in your journey to digital transformation? Talk to a data expert today.