Archive for October 6th, 2017

  • Data analytics the cornerstone for business turnaround

    PBT Group thought leadership

    Increasingly difficult economic conditions are putting companies under pressure to find more efficient ways of streamlining operations. This has put renewed focus on the importance of data analytics as an enabler to remain competitive.

    Data has long been likened to being the ‘oil’ of the information age. With the growth of knowledge workers and the number of data sources available to decision-makers, its relevancy cannot be underestimated. In this new digital environment, it has become less a case of how to find data but instead how to manage and analyse it effectively.

    Competitive advantage

    Having the right data can assist businesses in getting through these difficult economic times and market conditions. This requires putting the correct processes in place to extract insights from the available data. In turn, this can inform everything from operational and strategic direction to sustaining business through to an economic recovery.

    While many have come to accept that data analytics provides a competitive advantage, there are still challenges to how best to integrate it with existing systems and processes. And with data continually growing inside the organisation, expectations are high that it will provide a ‘silver bullet’ to fix all business challenges.

    This sees the C-suite (especially the CIO and CFO) under the spotlight to provide this value from data analysis sooner rather than later. Of course, the reality is that integration challenges will always exist. Even when the business immerses itself in new technology, those solutions date quickly, and newer ones need to be found.

    Building a foundation

    As with any technology implementation, the success of data analysis is determined by how effective the basics are done to ensure a solid platform to build on. Bringing together data from across the organisation must be an integral step in this process to ensure silos are broken down and insights can be pulled from the likes of finance, marketing, business development, and so on.

    This also provides for an environment where data can be viewed in context. Breaking down inter-organisational data boundaries mean analysis can be done on what impact decisions (as well as external factors) can have on the entire business, not just a component of it.

    Data accessibility

    Fortunately, data has become significantly more accessible to a wider variety of employees inside the organisation. Software tools have contributed to a more user-friendly environment where different job functions can pull specific insights relevant to their requirements. This also means there is not such a reliance on data scientists as before.

    All of this contributes to an enabling environment where data analysis provides the insight necessary to improve operational efficiency, competitive solution development, and end-user differentiation. Knowing what customers are looking for, how they use the provided solutions, and what their unique requirements are, can all be fulfilled by data analytics.

    And that means the difference between a business that is struggling for survival and one that identifies opportunities for growth.

  • Hybrid cloud vital for digital transformation

    PBT Group thought leadership

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (the fusing of physical, digital, and biological) is well and truly upon us. Digital transformation has become commonplace and the likes of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Virtual Reality (VR) are part of strategy discussions. But how is this impacting on cloud approaches?

    In many ways, the cloud can be considered one of the enablers or catalysts to this digital age. Just look at the influence it has had on changing IT within organisations.

    Technology departments used to (predominantly) fulfil a support function focused on hardware and software. Thanks to virtualization, more organisations started to embrace ‘as-a-service’ solutions. This meant their in-house IT teams could integrate more fully with the rest of the business resulting in more efficient and cost-effective systems and processes.

    Hybrid before all else

    While there has been much debate on the benefits of public versus private cloud, the one that has gained the most traction has been a hybrid approach. It takes the best from both worlds and gives decision-makers the perfect platform to launch proof-of-concepts before rolling it out to the rest of the organisation.

    The hybrid cloud has also seen changes in not only how data is stored, but also how Business Intelligence (BI) tools are used to analyse data and provide decision-makers with information to make organic changes to business strategy.

    Data explosion

    Such has been the growth of data that companies have come to rely on the cloud to not only provide the required IT services, but also contribute to business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.

    With IoT seeing the exponential growth of connected devices and data channels, companies need solutions that not only manage data better, but also use that [data] for insights informing their own digital transformation objectives.

    Not just technology

    Perhaps more critically, the digital transformation journey should not just be viewed as a technology one. Despite how the cloud has made IT ‘more mainstream’, some companies still believe that digital is about the software and virtual services implemented.

    This could not be further from the truth. If digital transformation is to be effective, the company must embrace a different way of viewing technology and business. In fact, these two areas should not even be separate in the current environment.

    Data, BI, and the cloud form a symbiotic relationship in a digital business with additional overlays such as real-time analysis, data science, and decision-automation. All these elements are required to work in unison for the effective digitization of customer engagement and internal operations.

    The hybrid cloud will remain integral to the success of the digital transformation initiatives of a business. Without it providing the foundation needed for data collection and analysis, companies could risk losing their relevancy to more forward-thinking competitors.