Don’t miss the 24-carat data revolution

As the data economy revolutionises the way businesses operate, leap frogging from CAPEX to OPEX strategies to accommodate the shift towards service-based enterprise, the question is: what do you want to be?

There will always be those who rise victorious from times of tumultuous change – the ones with an eye to the future, boldly innovating and taking the lead. Then there are those willing adopters, quick to pick up on changing trends, and the evaluators who cautiously adapt.

Trailing behind are the followers, with only tentative plans to adapt and finally the laggards with no interest. A Dell survey of 4,000 medium to large enterprises around the world last year found that 41% fell into the ‘follower’ category and 24% were identified as ‘evaluators’. Meanwhile, 19% were ‘laggards’. Effectively, over four fifths (84%) of businesses are languishing in the lower echelons of the digital revolution.

>See also: Digital transformation: an analysis of the potential and the challenges

Technological advances have pounced from the banks of the socially focused internet, over a steadily growing stream of data to the fertile grounds of the digitally enhanced enterprise with breathtaking speed.

It’s not surprising that 41% of Dell’s survey participants say they are uncomfortable with the pace of change, noting ‘significant disruption’ over the last three years. But it is equally not a time to accept bewilderment or indeed, turn your backs on digital transformation.

Back on home turf, it is comforting to know that learning and development experts AVADO found that 86% of Britain’s biggest businesses have assessed their risk of digital disruption, with the majority putting a c-suite executive in charge of driving digital change.

However, over half of learning and development professionals believe C-suite executives are only paying lip service to transformation – a notion that seems to be backed by the fact that less than three in ten (28%) surveyed invest in digital learning across the entire business.

As leaders focus on the future of the enterprise, taking note of the prolific rise of contemporary giants like Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo it is clear that in order to maintain relevance businesses must do more than develop an accompanying app, or hire a social media manager.

>See also: Digital transformation is the new kingmaker

They need to tap into the data economy in order to streamline services and cater to the ever increasing demand for personalisation. To be a leader in digital transformation, reimagine your business in a way that tips from experiences to operations.

CEO of The Home Depot, Frank Blake, did just this when he shifted from a smaller scale $300 million digital revamp, enabling customers to order from their smartphones and collect in store – to a $1.5 billion plan to create a full digital catalogue and new distribution centres.

‘Go big or go home’ is more relevant than ever before. As business models shift from CAPEX to OPEX, existing businesses will need to channel serious investment into digital transformation, as The Home Depot did, Walmart is set to spend $2 billion in order to overhaul its core capabilities and boost digital engagement.

Similarly, General Electric is spending $1 billion every year in its quest for digital dominance. At the same time, start-ups are perfectly poised to develop digitally native businesses from the get-go, consolidating their position as serious industry disrupters, thanks mainly to their agility. Thus, the digital revolution is levelling the field for smaller businesses, placing more pressure on CEOs in larger corporations to cling onto their turf.

Beneath the façade of digital disruption lays data: ubiquitous, intangible streams of 24-carat gold. As business leaders innovate and adapt to break down the silos between web, mobile and offline engagement through the omnichannel, tracking and processing customer data is essential.

>See also: Digital transformation in the public sector

Retailers and manufacturers utilise the IoT to track stock and cut down on excess, leading to greater profits. Telecommunication companies will switch to on-demand services in their droves, as customers increasingly favour pay-as-you-go options.

Meanwhile, healthcare is being revolutionised by cognitive computing, VR and 3D printing, all of which rely heavily on data and robust infrastructure.

If you want your business to be a leader or an adopter in the face of digital transformation, dynamic, scalable data management is essential. True to the forces of the digital revolution, data management isn’t about building your business a data centre, it’s about deploying the right services with the flex to source appropriate data centre locations for workloads.

In addition, business continuity is becoming more important, as more companies rely on the cloud to store and backup their data.

Utilising backup-as-a-service (Baas) is one way businesses can address the move from a CAPEX world to an OPEX world – facilitating the shift from DevOps to coding and analytics.

Just as a person wouldn’t leave their life savings in the fridge, protecting, backing-up and managing data is now a reality for any business looking to take part in the revolution – unless you’re a laggard, of course.


Sourced by Laurence James, product, alliances and solutions manager, NetApp


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...