All who have embraced the changes of the digital world have seen it modify the way they live and work. Nearly every type of transaction – from how and when we communicate with family and friends to how we buy food, clothes, tickets or pretty much anything – has been altered by digital technology. Today, the effort it takes to dial into a conference call, instant message your boss, accept a meeting invite, check the status of an install, or order a gift for your mother doesn’t even require you to get out of bed.
So, if we are all changing as individuals in response to rapidly advancing technology, why are so many businesses still following the same processes they followed five years ago? In an earlier CIO blog, I noted that research revealed only five percent of businesses, both in 2016 and 2018, had achieved the fully-matured digital transformation level of “digital leader.” This leaves an enormous amount of opportunity for businesses to transform and benefit from data analytics advantages such as:
- Optimized customer experience through either standardized or personalized offerings
- New business insights
- Minimized risk
- Reduced fraud
- Improved insights
- Better, faster decision making
The common denominator to tap into all these benefits is that actionable, accurate and timely information must be accessible across every part of the organization. Streaming data, machine learning and on-the-fly AI are all on their way to making this possible. Unfortunately, many businesses are still applying outdated processes, and this is holding them back from becoming digital leaders.
For example, the extract, transform, load (ETL) process has been around since the 1970s. ETL is commonly used to get data out of its location, format it and put it into a data warehouse to be analyzed. According to an IDC/InterSystems survey of 502 IT executives, two-thirds of data transferred through the ETL process was minimally five days old by the time it was analyzed. When data sets were smaller, and when weekly, monthly and quarterly reports only needed to look at what went on in the past, this processing time worked fine.
However, in a world where digital leaders need real-time data analytics, updates are measured in seconds, and five days equals 432,000 seconds. ETL has become an archaic approach replaced by solutions like CR8™ by DBS-H where, after an initial setup, there is continuous communication between relational and NoSQL databases.
Another process has to do with the number of humans and human steps it takes to complete a business initiative.
- How many levels of management approval need to be achieved?
- How is approval requested and received?
- Who processes the acquisition of necessary resources?
- Who receives and processes resources like unboxing, racking, powering-on and configuring new technology?
The IT Manager of one of my customers outlined a technology acquisition process that required 11 people, combined 37 steps and took three months to complete. In today’s world, a delay of three months to respond to a competitive threat could mean a death sentence for their business. The good news is that this, like the ETL example above, can be overcome. They are just two of the many processes organizations can and must change to speed up the time it takes to get from idea to results.
To reap the benefits of digital transformation, organizations must put new processes into place. With help from services such as Dell Technologies’ Workforce Transformation Consulting, businesses can learn to streamline and modernize their approach through use of new technology and improving the IT-savviness of their workforce. However, it’s important to note that workforce changes and restructuring are equally important and require full C-suite endorsement. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company report, senior management involvement and continuous support throughout the transformation is a key factor for success.
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