Transformation Toolkit – Essential Data Management Kit
Transformation is one of those buzzwords of the moment usually preceded by Digital, BSS or OSS. It’s at this point that many people start to debate what it actually means. Once you are past that discussion the business must concern itself with how can we transform. To achieve a successful transformation, like any journey, before you begin you should know where you’re trying to get to. However, be mindful of timelines as these projects take so long to come to fruition that things change, technology evolve and industries move on. There have been numerous announcements over the past year or so of company winning transformation programs worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Transformation programs aren’t cheap and rarely are they simple. Mckinsey estimate that around 70% of transformation projects fail.
It’s not something you undertake lightly. It’s a bit like deciding to move house and finding an amazing house in the countryside that needs a serious amount of renovation. Do you renovate or simply knock it down and start again? Lots of pros and cons here. If we apply that to the world of enterprise then it becomes quite interesting. If you scrap everything you have no legacy systems to deal with. However, can you continue to run the business, do you have the room to build in parallel and do you need the legacy data. Whichever path you take you’ll need to retire systems and migrate data. Check the toolkit for a data migration tool. Job done. Whilst this may be possible in some cases Communication Service Providers (CSPs) can’t afford to just demolish and rebuild everything. For them a transformation program often impacts many systems but not everything needs an overhaul. The CSP transformation is more like a major renovation job for which you need the best toolkit you can find.
Transformation programs are big business and usually led by major SIs like Accenture, Deloitte, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra or major ISVs like Ericsson, Huawei and Amdocs. As the lead on the program it’s their job to make sure they deliver a successful transformation project. If you’re delivering or funding a transformation program then consider what are the ‘must haves’? Asking this at the start of the project is a quick way to see if you’re already set up for failure. The obvious one we already mentioned which is the ability to get rid of legacy systems so the toolbox must contain data migration, data archiving and application retirement tools. What else do you need to ensure success? Well transformation always brings the need to move data, connecting information. Therefore, best of breed integration tools that can perform real-time and batch ETL tasks as well as data streaming in environments both big and small. There might be a need to bring data to a central location and then redistribute to multiple environments so they’ll be times when a data integration hub makes more sense than lots of point to point integrations. As data is now fundamental to the running of almost every business on the planet a suitable data quality solution is another important tool. Connecting information often requires some kind of common link and this usually means you have to master your data. It’s likely to be connected by customer elements like name and address so master data for customer is a necessity. There’s also likely to be a need for mastering other data sets like product, supplier and reference data so better make that Master Data tool multi-domain.
In today’s world projects are made more complicated by the ever-changing environment that you are trying to deliver into. It’s like trying to score a goal when someone keeps moving the goalposts. With cloud becoming increasingly prevalent it’s beginning to feel like someone moved the goalposts and then moved the pitch too! The transformation toolkit has to be ready for anything. Just because your CRM system was on-premise when you started the transformation doesn’t mean it will still be there when you need it. The capabilities in the toolkit must be ready for on-premise systems and cloud systems and combinations in a hybrid world. Data needs to move from on-premise to other on-premise systems as well as to cloud systems and between cloud systems. Just because you move systems to the cloud doesn’t mean your data challenges go away. In fact, they become more complex because you create a hybrid environment. These are the kinds of solutions that form Informatica’s solution portfolio.
Of course you could just throw resources at it and hand code everything because we all know that we still have the same staff we had 10 years ago and they’ve documented everything so amazingly well. The fact that businesses still hand code is crazy and it’s even crazier when they have actually got fit-for-purpose solutions within the enterprise that could do the job in seconds. Using the right tool for the job is important. Hand coding is like using a screwdriver with a customized screw head and using data integration software is like having a powered screwdriver with a box of inter-changeable bits. It means you’re ready to tackle anything and that’s what you need when you’re involved in transformation programs.
No matter what the environment you can be sure that having a fully loaded transformation toolkit will set you up for success. So if you’re running a transformation program or actually funding a transformation program then be sure to ask what’s in the toolkit otherwise you’ll find your project in the failure bucket with the other 70%. Whilst these solutions are not the only things you need to be successful having best-of-breed data management solutions in your toolkit is a good start.