You’ve gone through digital transformation – now what? IT and business leaders are learning quickly that digital transformation is only one of many steps on the journey towards operational optimization. Once you have your people and processes in order, it’s time to shift focus towards your data. Digital transformation brings with it a whole host of new IT systems that produce data about your processes that can be a powerful tool in operational optimization – but first, you need to figure out how to manage the data and harvest the insights it contains. That’s where your data warehouse and some well-designed real-time dashboards come in. They can help show you where the trouble spots and improvement opportunities are in your operations.
Start with the Decisions That you Want to Make
Most IT professionals start with the technology and data because that’s what they are most comfortable with. Operational optimization isn’t a technical problem, though it is a business challenge. As such, the most significant successes come from starting with the decisions you want to make and then figuring out how to build the puzzle from there. Operational optimization is all about process performance, quality, cost, continuity, and agility to respond to changes. These are the things that leaders and decision-makers will be wanting to optimize. They want to understand what the trouble spots are in their operations, where inefficiencies lie, where risks and issues exist that need attention and what factors are constraining performance. Once they decide and initiate some sort of action, they need to see how those actions impact operational performance.
What Data do you Need to Create Actionable Insights?
The key to effective decision making is harvesting actionable insights from operational data. Many IT systems support your digitally transformed business processes, each capturing and/or creating data about the pieces of your process that the system supports. Deriving actionable insights requires assembling these puzzle pieces, identifying what is important and actionable, and then presenting those insights in a way your staff and leaders can understand. Operational dashboards that model out a digital representation of your business processes, supported by data from all of the enabling systems, are a powerful tool to drive informed decisions.
The Role of Your Data Warehouse
A big challenge for organizations that have gone through digital transformation is too much data. Technology plays an integral role in your operational processes, and it seems that every app, device, system, service, and interface is churning out data. The problem is that most of this data is fragmented (representing only a small slice of your process), and much of the data (while accurate and informative) isn’t very useful for decision making. Before you can harvest insights, you first need to bring the different pieces of your data puzzle back together, constructing a digital representation of your operational processes and filtering out raw data that isn’t needed for analysis. Your data warehouse provides a platform for doing this. Modern data warehouse solutions like Actian Avalanche are designed with the speed and scalability features needed to manage streaming data from operational systems and the tools to feed your dashboards with the data your decision-makers need.
Managing Data from Source Systems
Before you can analyze data in your data warehouse, you first need to get it there. Along with an increase in the number of source systems, digital transformation has led to increased diversity in the types of technology components on which your business processes depend. Mobile apps, embedded sensors, IoT devices, and cloud services are just a few examples of the distributed end-points generating data bout your processes. In addition to a modern data warehouse, you are likely to need a modern set of data integration capabilities to help you manage the flow of data from your source systems. Actian DataConnect is an easy-to-use Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) offering that makes it easy to connect anything, anytime, anywhere so you can focus on the data and the decisions, not managing connections.
Speeding it up Into Real-Time
Pulling the big picture together, you have a bunch of technology source systems supporting your digitally transformed business processes. You have an integration platform pulling the data into a modern data warehouse where you can model out a digital representation of your business process. You have built operational dashboards that present actionable insights to business leaders who can make informed decisions. You’ve built a data management capability that works, but how long does this process take?
If something happens within your operations or a trouble spot develops, will you know about it in minutes, hours, days? Let’s hope not – digitally transformed business processes require real-time insights and decision making. If you want to optimize your operations, you need to see problems quickly, make decisions, initiate action, and see immediate results. That is why you need a set of data management capabilities like those from Actian that are designed to leverage modern technology and deliver real-time business performance.
Visit www.actian.com/data-platform to learn more.