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Why Understanding Data is the Key to Digital Transformation?

By Mark Ablett, Senior Vice President and General Manager - Asia Pacific, Hitachi Data Systems

Why Understanding Data is the Key to Digital Transformation?

Mark Ablett, Senior Vice President and General Manager - Asia Pacific, Hitachi Data Systems

The world is more interconnected and is shifting faster than ever. Change is constant and businesses, individuals and governments must innovate to keep pace with global and local trends. Disruptions are more common, pressures are bigger and business opportunities continue to grow. Unsurprisingly, this constant change has demanded that technology keeps up – with providers offering innovation after innovation to match the evolving demands of customers and businesses.

"The only way to realize the insights promised by digital transformation is by embracing the latest in data analytics."

However, this year the focus of CIOs has moved away from the latest technological innovations to look more at the strategy under which IT is managed. According to predictions by IDC, by the end of 2017, 60% of APAC’s top 1000 companies will have Digital Transformation at the center of their strategy. By harnessing the innovations of cloud, mobility, big data, social, IoT and robotics, it will help companies transform into more agile entities, better able to adapt as needed.

At the core of this change lies a critical enabler – data. The only way to realize the benefits of digital transformation is by improving data access, integration and analysis; making it the common lens through which business and IT leaders can shape their transformation and drive desired outcomes. There are four key data areas that CIOs should focus on:

Data management – Data needs to outlive the application that created it and the systems that manage it. This can only be achieved with abstraction; making data independent of the applications and infrastructure that created it. The automation of certain processes can also enable CIOs to free up IT teams and resources for higher value work, such as ensuring 100% data availability and that critical application can accelerate to perform at even the fastest pace demanded by the business.

Data governance – Data is a critical asset and should be protected as such. CIOs need to focus on implementing policy-based data governance, integrated protection, encryption and compliance capabilities across their entire data set. This includes putting in place the backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions set up to cope with Asia Pacific’s complex and evolving data laws. Countries in the region that have personal data protection and privacy acts in place include South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. As these regulations mature, penalties will increase.

Data mobility – As outlined above, abstracting data from applications and devices is a central component of delivering Digital Transformation. This also supports CIOs to become more mobile and increase the value of their data by making it available for other business purposes like analytics or improving productivity. The secure mobilizing of data can help turn IT from a data handler into a data broker.

Data analysis – The only way to realize the insights promised by digital transformation is by embracing the latest in data analytics. IDC reports that adoption of Big Data and analytics across APEJ is accelerating, with a predicted CAGR of 32.0% through to 2018 when it expects the market to reach US$3.6 billion. CIOs need to push to ensure their systems can give a view on what has happened and why as well as what is going to happen next. These are the insights that will help businesses monetize more, innovate faster and reduce risk.

By focusing on these areas, CIOs can bring about digital transformation that delivers the promises of creating new business value, reducing reputational risk and providing economic transparency. Ultimately, enabling this transformation requires an acute focus on data, openness to new approaches and a customer-first mindset. For many CIOs, it is now a race against time, and the competition, to deliver this transformation and ensure that, no matter what the change is, IT can turn it into an opportunity.

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