Monday, 11 January 2021 13:03

Enhancing customer experiences through better data management

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GUEST OPINION by Derek Cowan, Cohesity: It’s been on the medium and long-term strategic roadmaps for organisations of all sizes, but now digital transformation has become a must-do item.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian companies are realising that transforming their operations will be a critical part of ensuring customer needs can be met in the year ahead.

In many ways, the power of this strategic shift was already apparent well before 2020. The success of digital-native start-ups – such as Xero, Atlassian and even Carsales.com – has pointed the way forwards for slower-moving enterprise laggards considered too big to fall from grace.

But the past 12 months, where we’ve all spent less time in the office and a lot more time at home, has necessitated a full-tilt shift towards digital transformation. Organisations that might have been slower to recognise the power of digital and data mobility have had to embrace the cloud and online collaboration to keep their workers working and their customers content.

The rapid response of CIOs to the coronavirus pandemic has shown that technology can make the difference at a time of crisis. Yet business transformation is more than just a short-term tactic of buying software. If you want your business to thrive in the post-COVID age, it will need to place digital transformation at the heart of its business strategy and identify and overcome the roadblocks.

So, what data issues are holding businesses back? The answer can be tied directly to data and its availability, accessibility, and, most importantly, its security. Chiefly, the biggest roadblock is mass data fragmentation.

With mass data fragmentation, vast volumes of data are stored in a dizzying array of IT infrastructure siloes that don’t integrate and are therefore incredibly challenging and costly to manage. Instead of driving business transformation, data that’s housed in this fashion disables it.

The message to IT leaders is that they have an opportunity to shape this strategic response. Smart CIOs have proven the value of well thought-out digitalisation through 2020. Now other CIOs yet to do so must use this experience to define the rules of ongoing business transformation.

Entering a new era of business transformation

But where will you find the ideas to ignite innovation across your business? How can you validate your strategies, find the capabilities to confidently deliver value to your business and lead it into a new era of business transformation? The answer is in your data.

Australia is experiencing volatile times, be that the global pandemic, the environmental crisis, fast-changing customer demands or rapid technological advances. Just like they did in 2020, CIOs can help their C-Suite colleagues to turn this volatility into an opportunity.

The most successful organisations will take calculated, strategic risks to set them apart from the competition. To win, they will develop a data-led technology and customer-experience strategy that is built and executed on a clear understanding of the most critical trends.

Yet taking advantage of data is far from straightforward. Organisations are inundated with data from disparate sources however, while there’s no shortage of information, there’s a definite shortage of insight.

Many companies still hoard data without a set objective. Too much information remains fragmented, with data held in unconnected stove pipes. The game-changing knowledge that’s held within this data remains hidden in dark, unconnected corners of the network.

Shifting your strategy for long-term data management

Technology will be the key to helping your business unlock the value in its information. In a hybrid world of internal data centres and public clouds, you’ll need a strong data management strategy.

Your business will need an architecture and a platform that allows it to consolidate information and to run analytics that allow C-Suite executives to make strategic decisions that are insightful, informed, and intelligent.

Such smarter investment strategies matter today more than ever before. With IT spending set to contract in many areas through 2021, CIOs will need to reduce costs will also supporting growth.

While new operating models such as a shift into e-commerce and the development of new web channels, have already helped businesses boost customer experiences and generate new revenues, executives will want to know that these kinds of digital transformations are going to produce a long-term return on investment.

Now is the time to use your data to assess whether your digital transformation plans can lead to a long-term strategic advantage. By taking a more effective approach to data management, you can reinvent your data management strategy and eliminate mass data fragmentation.

Achieving this will allow an organisation to have confidence in the strategy it has in place. Data has been important in the past, and it will underpin what is achieved in the future. Get ready for the power of digital transformation.


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