Transform or be disrupted

Data management and digital transformation are a significant opportunity for organisations with a view to the future. David McLeman, CEO at Ancoris, explores the opportunity

According to IDC, by now, at least 55 per cent of organisations will be digitally determined. Having decided to transform their markets before being disrupted by competitors further along their digital journey, these organisations will be imagining the future through new business models and digitally enabled products and services. A bold prediction, but whilst the aspirations are clear, in practice the level of digital maturity is highly variable across sectors and within individual organisations.

For many organisations the move to a digital future comes in two phases. Firstly gaining experience through digital business improvement: automating and transforming existing business processes with the use of digital technologies. Then focusing on real digital business innovation, creating new digitally enabled products, services and platforms to drive revenue and open new markets.

A common challenge we observe for business leaders is to separate the hype from what is achievable, so that they can deliver short-term payback and build digital confidence for future digital product offerings.

Many successful and established organisations are burdened by manual processes and poor data access. Unfortunately this tends to result in the need for a substantial, expensive and inefficient back-office admin function to consolidate and transform data from site or customer visits. This will create a poor employee and customer experience.

Successful approaches focus on data flows and deploy the latest cloud and mobile technologies to develop smart Android applications with real-time access via web-services and APIs, centrally holding secure cloud data that is tightly integrated to existing on premise systems.

Digital business optimisation optimises the field worker experience allowing more visits per day; provides real-time data from customer to field worker, to head office, improving business agility, offering better customer advocacy and higher net promoter scores. It also eliminates back office manual processes, improving data accuracy and delivering a short-term payback through head count savings.

Providing real-time access to data from the customer to head office allows the next phases of digital business innovation to commence, followed by the launch of new digital services or a repositioning of the company as a digital service provider.

Managing data using modern cloud platforms makes it possible to gather data at scale, at low cost, compared with traditional data warehousing platforms. It also offers better control on security and access and frees it from legacy silos. Organisations can analyse and use this intelligence to make faster and more accurate decisions, or offer more comprehensive data, results or insights for customers. As clients become more digitally mature we see them launch new premium digital service offerings, complementing more efficient operations with the provision of advanced data reporting services for their own customers.

Organisations currently use less than 50 per cent of their structured data and only 1 per cent of unstructured data. Right now, they are searching for ways to best leverage their data but don't have the tools required to achieve it. However, we are already seeing practical innovations using Machine Learning (ML). ML applications are becoming common in areas such as online retailing with product suggestion engines building on structured data. We are also seeing innovations in unstructured data such as video and image analysis.

Developing consolidated data platforms through digital business optimisation, and the launch of new digital services coupled with the ability to leverage machine learning in the future, will help organisations to rethink their practices and produce actionable insights. It won't be a surprise in the near future to see digitally transformed organisations generating more than 35 per cent of revenues from new digital business models with data at their core. NC