Lindsay Lucas is Managing Director of Software Solved
It might seem counter-intuitive to focus on data integration
and data management in the middle of a global pandemic, but if your company
wants to survive and thrive, that is precisely what you should be focusing on
Over the past 3-5 years, many companies have set
out on journeys to digitally transform their business processes to leverage
modern technology trends and re-imagine the relationship between
workers, IT systems and ultimately the customer.
transformation has forced companies to change their business
models in order to adapt, it’s not necessarily the companies that are
driving this change. Instead, this change is being driven by the
Customer expectation has changed; digital transformation
has to reflect this
Inarguably, customers’ expectations, preferences, and
reasons as to how and why they choose a vendor should be at the core of
any digital transformation project. Customers are now used to an online
world where the levels of customer experience are extraordinarily high, driven
by the likes of Amazon. Customers do not differentiate between ordering online
to any other interaction they have with companies.
This, coupled with the pandemic, has meant that
sectors who were traditionally slower to embrace digital
transformation or just didn’t adapt because it wasn’t a high
priority, have had to accelerate the digitisation of their customer and
supply chain interactions and internal operations to meet the new demands
placed on them.
Whether it is a short-term fix or
long-term solution, digital transformation
initiatives have introduced a new cultural mind-set within
companies about the use of data to drive strategic and operational
The impact of the pandemic
The pandemic has meant that there has been a dramatic
shift to working online meaning that digitalisation has seen a rapid
increase at both operational and industry levels. This is unprecedented
compared to the first digital transformation initiatives where most
companies focused on specific business processes – sales, customer service,
supply chain management.
With companies shifting to remote work models and no-contact
work environments for on-site workers, leaders need to accelerate the delivery
of digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise – enabling all
workers to leverage technology to be productive without traditional
Company leaders also realise that, if they want to be
effective in leading remote organisations, they need more complete, accurate,
and real-time data from across the company to make informed business
decisions. That is where data integration and transformation comes in.
Quick-fix solutions to ensure business continuity can’t be
considered for the long-term
workforces shifted to remote working at the same time,
it wasn’t practical to take a top-down, waterfall project management
approach to digital transformation, business process re-engineering, and
enterprise data integration.
Therefore, many quickly implemented short-term, quick
fix solutions to ensure immediate business continuity, understandably
putting it ahead of looking for a longer-term strategy.
With too many moving parts to manage, there hasn’t
in some cases been the time to develop an “all-encompassing
plan” before implementing it. However, quick-fix strategies to keep
companies going will most likely only work in the short-term.
Companies need to be looking at long-term solutions now
in order to maintain business continuity in the coming months rather than
relying on the short-term solutions that they have put in place. The key to
success here is to empower individual business functions
(and employees) to make decisions to optimise their work locally-within a
global (enterprise-wide) framework and set of standards that enable
cross-functional integration and data aggregation for decision making.
integration is the key
Data integration is the key to
leading a dispersed organisation. If the data from all of the
operational systems are integrated, aggregated, summarised, and curated into a
set of informative and actionable dashboards; business leaders and
employees who use it day-to-day, are well equipped to manage
operations, even without physical face-to-face
interactions or even being in the same office.
Recent disruptions have only reinforced the prevailing notion
that data warehousing isn’t some future aspiration, it’s an urgent mandate
at the heart of the business. But a rushed migration without a clear strategy
can end up costing the business more, leaving existing legacy applications
racking up costs.
An intelligent digital transformation needs to
balance speed and value. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, each
should start with defining the value, mapping out the journey and determining
how cloud will enable the overall business strategy and ambition.