Digital Transformation: Is Your Data Management Ready?

Digital transformation has lowered barriers to entry for businesses in so many ways. Apple was able to sell digital content in a way that disrupted both online and brick-and-mortar businesses. Healthcare is about to be transformed (again) by the use of sensors to capture and analyze data to improve patient outcomes. Both the banking and insurance industries are being disrupted by digital competitors who offer all-digital services but who also use analytics to understand and serve their customers better.

The winners in this digital age are organizations that can leverage data to deliver business value the fastest. They’re looking to use data and analytics to drive business initiatives such as:

  • Increasing customer loyalty and share of wallet
  • Detecting fraudulent behavior faster
  • Meeting regulatory compliance requirements faster and better
  • Providing better patient or customer outcomes

That’s the main takeaway from a fascinating new survey by IDG research, co-funded by Informatica and Deloitte: “Big Data and Beyond: Future Proofing Data Management and Architecture.”


data management


Business leaders who truly understand digital transformation understand that new competitors not only emerge from within your industry, but, as with Apple, Google, and Esurance, jump an industry boundary to enter a new arena. And startups may debut in whole new ways. We recently profiled our customer, Tinkoff Bank, which launched a thriving, all-digital retail banking business that uses their data and analytics to deliver new products and services.

It’s all about speed

Your business needs you to process data faster than ever. But the problem is that data volumes and complexity are increasing by orders of magnitude, just at the time that the business needs them to accelerate.

The challenge is managing data across current systems, cloud systems, classic structured data and big data. Twenty-eight percent of the people surveyed by IDG say that they plan to replace their data management and architecture because it cannot handle the requirements of big data.

Cloud offers the critical ability to stand up new initiatives quickly. But that has to be done with a clear data architecture in mind. Otherwise, you’ll be creating silos of data that slow down future data delivery.

The point of this great IDG paper is that success at all these things comes down to your strength in data management and architecture.

It’s disrupt or be disrupted

What stood out for me in the IDG report was the conclusion: Digital transformation is imperative, and success requires organizations to invest in data management and architecture. That’s all the more true when you consider how inextricably data is linked with your company’s product—or may in fact be the product. After all, the company you bank with is not a “software business,” but 90 percent of your interaction with the company is through its mobile applications, email, and website.

To gain the competitive edge, organizations must become proactive about improving their data architecture and management practices, and IT will need to closely partner with the business to drive business value.

While I always advocate a steady, sustained evolution toward a well-planned vision, there’s no getting around the fact that for most businesses, the investment in data management will be significant. According to IDG, 77 percent of companies are looking to invest in a cohesive approach to data management, or replace their existing data management and architecture because it just can’t handle the scale of big data.

Cloud technology, IDG suggests, may be a good way to make this change where responding to business requirements for speed is paramount.

That doesn’t mean throwing out your on-premise solutions to go all-cloud tomorrow. IDG found that 59 percent of those surveyed planned to have a hybrid data architecture, and that makes sense. You can’t just rip out existing investments that are working. The challenge comes with integrating all of it. You’ll need a data management platform, like Informatica’s, that unifies both on-premise and cloud deployments, classic structured data and big data, so that you can run manage it all with the same tools and skills.

How to approach your data architecture evolution

In my last blog post, I wrote about a recent McKinsey study, which found that strong data management is the No. 2 factor in analytics success.

This IDG report just underscores that importance, and the need for overall digital transformation. My recommendations for pulling off this crucial but complicated transition:

  1. Have a clear future state data management architecture defined; build toward that architecture with each new project.
  2. Leverage your existing skills, tools, and processes where they are mature and effective.
  3. Strongly consider cloud data management for new data management projects, particularly where speed of deployment and business agility is critical to successful delivery of business value.

Look for a data management platform that can manage your data across this evolving world:

  1. Across on-premise and cloud
  2. Across structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data
  3. Across business and IT
  4. Across batch, real time, and streaming data delivery
  5. Across any data type, analytics technology, or application

The point of being able to act quickly on data insights is to be more adaptive, and that has to apply to your underlying approach to big data as well: Be nimble, be adaptive, but work toward a strong, cohesive vision of the future.

To learn more about how current data management and architecture strategies must be modernized, and what other organizations are doing about it, download the IDG research paper, “Big Data and Beyond: Future Proofing Data Management and Architecture,” now.