Is Digital Transformation the path for your company?

Success in data analytics is about organizations exposing new and unique business opportunities as well as new and unique opportunities for growth.

data threads
Dell EMC

Is Digital Transformation the path for your company?

It hard not to look at the predictive analytics used by Uber to manage a fleet of drivers without owning one vehicle, or marvel at Netflix’s use of viewer data to power their own production house without a bit of envy. By now, most companies recognize that they have opportunities to use data and analytics to raise productivity, improve decision making, and gain competitive advantage. In a 2015 report, Bain & Company showed stark advantages gained by companies who have successfully embraced data analytics. These include outperforming their competitors, being 3x more likely to execute decisions as intended, and 5x more likely to make decisions faster, and these statistics are greater when part of an organization-wide digital transformation.

So why doesn’t every organization embrace data analytics as their holy grail….today, now? For many, Big Data is a daunting prospect. Where does the information I need come from? How do I translate massive and dynamic data sets into useful insights my company can act on? I’ve found the key to successfully leveraging big data in order to support digital transformation strategy is to start slowly and methodically. It is important to note that digital transformation is not simply to put your company on par with your competitors and deliver the same thing, but to differentiate yourself. Success here is about your company exposing new and unique business opportunities and opportunities for growth.

Gartner saw organizations facing challenges and predicted that by 2017, 60% data analytics projects will fail to move past the exploratory stage[1]. The reasons though are painfully obvious – we don’t know what we don’t know. Many companies have faced the problems of having mountains of data siloed across the organization, stuck in data warehouses or simply isolated in individual business units, and not being able to access and consolidate it. Compound the lack of access to an organization’s breadth of data with data that is incomplete, and you have a data science team that spends more time discovering, cleansing, and wrangling the data before they can begin any work on uncovering analytic insights. According to Forrester, this is between 64%-80% of their time[2]. Because of this, companies have admitted that only 25% of their unstructured data and 41% of their structured data[3] is ever used in their data analytics insights, which greatly affects the richness and reliability of insights that can be gleaned.

Another reason companies are unable to move past an exploratory stage of their analytics programs is because they often approach the problem with technology first. They build the infrastructure, create data science teams with desired skillsets, and list the data sets they’re most interested in. Now, they look for a problem in the business to solve. Companies who have been successful have done just the opposite by first looking for a handful of business outcomes they want to affect, setting their goals, defining their use cases, and building the program around those identified outcomes. By having a target to focus on, successful organizations will use technology as the path to get there.

Successful companies will also leverage technology partners in this endeavor. Unless your goal is to differentiate yourself with the technology you will build in the process, consider collaborating with an experienced partner to overcome many friction points in the data analytics lifecycle, whether it be to discover and ingest your data, cleanse it and add metadata, or to secure it end-to-end when PCI and HIPAA are considerations. Having support to manage the technology will allow your company to focus energy on using insights to create disruptive business models and become more competitive rather than on the installation and deployment of the solution.


This blog 1 of 3

Blog two, “Leveraging Data Analytics and Internet of Things in Your Digital Transformation,” can be found at: http://bit.ly/2mjyKPI

You can follow me on Twitter @williamgeller

Next Blog: Leveraging Data Analytics and Internet of Things in your Digital Transformation

Final Blog: IT as the champion of your Digital Transformation

William Geller handles Principal Product Marketing for Data Analytics at Dell EMC.

[1] Predicts 2015: Big Data Challenges Move From Technology to the Organization, Gartner, 28 November 2014

[2] Boost Your Business Insights By Converging Big Data And BI, March 25, 2015

[3] Business Technographics, Global Data and Analytics Survey, Forrester Research, 2014

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