by Divina Paredes

7 steps to understanding – and explaining – the power of digital

Apr 06, 2017
Big DataCareersCloud Computing

We start with data. How do we capture the data that is out there? Mike Bullock, Fujitsu

Mike Bullock knows all too well the challenges of explaining digital transformation to the rest of the organisation.

To help achieve this, he breaks down the seven letters of the word ‘digital’ into seven concepts of how a business can progress.

Digitalisation is about taking a business problem or a challenge and using a process to secure an outcome, says Bullock, general manager of sales at Fujitsu New Zealand.

Speaking at the 2017 CIO100 forum in Auckland and Wellington, Bullock presents a one-page guide to explain what digital can do for a company.

A simple guide to explaining digital ecosystem

He aligns his breakdown of the word ‘digital’ to the case of a local utility company’s moves to improve staff safety.

“We start with DATA,” he says. “How do we capture the data that is out there? One way they did it is through Fujitsu wearables that monitor biometrics stuff and also understand the wearer’s stress levels, whether they are standing or lying down or even falling off a ladder.”

He likens the device to ”fitbits on steroids’’, as it provides information to help the organisation understand how their workers operate in the field.

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We take that data and we translate it to information…then get insights.Mike Bullock, Fujitsu

“We take that data and we translate it to INFORMATION,” he states. “Effectively, this is the Internet of Things.

“We need the data to draw the conclusion and we present it on a dashboard and use this to find the status of all the workers in the field and historic trends, so they can understand the safety and wellbeing of staff.”

The dashboard can show, for instance, whether night workers are experiencing stress at certain times of their shift.

“What is causing the stress the company wants to know? However, there are GAPS in the data.”

Bullock explains the company brings in data from other sources, including social media feeds, weather, email and calendar listings.

“We fill in the GAPS of big data. We bring in social media feeds, weather, email and calendar to understand what is happening around them too.”

They use machine learning to get correlations from these huge data sets, with the goal to get INSIGHT into why it was happening.

Now that we have got the data, we know what is happening and causing these problems, he states.

Mike Bullock of Fujitsu at the CIO100 event in Auckland (photo by Jason Creaghan)

“The company wants to improve the safety of workers and reduce harm. What is the optimal solution to this (THINK)?

The model for this company is to learn it, test it, bring it back and give recommendations.

“By doing this, we can have the digital loop that tells us what is going on in the world, what the gaps are that we don’t know, the insights we need to understand, what we should do about it and what happens as a result.”

These processes cover the ACT and LEARN part of the digital loop.

That, Bullock tells the audience, is a simple explanation for the digital ecosystem.

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Once you understand why things were done a certain way, then you can plan and innovate in a much more structured [manner] and derisk the change for the businessStuart Speers, Enterprise IT

‘It’s not about IT’

Stuart Speers, CEO and founder of Enterprise IT, highlights a fundamental requirement for organisations embarking on digitalisation.

“It’s not about IT,” says Speers, who spoke at the CIO100 event in Auckland.

The digital transformation strategy should always be led by the business, he states.

He thinks some organisations are leading their transformation from an IT perspective, with a “build it and they will come type of mentality”.

“We need the business to be on board, to understand what innovations it can provide to them, especially when looking at the heritage environment,” he states.

“I am a big believer on understanding why something is deployed the way it is and review its heritage environment.

“Once you understand why things were done a certain way, then you can plan and innovate in a much more structured [manner] and derisk the change for the business.”

He also points to the need to form an ecosystem of partners, to help an organisation in innovation and digital strategy acceleration.

“Digital transformation is a journey and its success is all about people, process and partners,” he concludes.

Enterprise IT CEO and founder Stuart Speers at the CIO100 event in Auckland

Related: Object lessons on change management and fostering innovation from the 2017 CIO100 leaders

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Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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