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Act on technology to achieve competitive advantage

Jack Loo | May 22, 2013
Mobile, social, virtualisation, big data and cloud are past the exploration stage for CIOs

So this isn't so much a question of designing a new enterprise architecture for analytics but rather creating a different view of enterprise architecture. What's needed is a strategy that sees data more as a supply chain than a warehouse. It's about asking what key questions need to be answered and designing for that data so that it becomes a cycle that improves the business through more insight or better operations.

Getting the governance right is also critical here. The governance of data/analytics between IT and the business is often the hardest issue to address. In fact the emergence of the Chief Data Officer role was born, in part, out of the need for some organisations to deal with data governance issues.

Data Velocity: Whilst Design for Analytics is about getting the right data, Data Velocity refers to how quickly an organisation uses the information to generate actionable insights that managers can act on quickly. Increasing expectations are a primary factor pushing businesses-all of us, actually-to ask for and act on data more quickly.

Mobility as a new channel for information has catapulted those expectations far forward as "connected everything" delivers even more data more quickly that can be analysed and acted upon. The Internet of Things will serve as an even greater catalyst for capitalising on the velocity of data.

At the same time another powerful factor pushing the need for more data more quickly is that the windows of opportunity are smaller in almost all business endeavours.

As an example, a grounded airplane costs airlines as much as US$250,000 per day; an oil rig that isn't drilling can cost US$1 million per day. The sooner an equipment malfunction or imminent shutdown can be detected, and the more detailed the data about the equipment's condition, the quicker it can be repaired and made productive again-and, if captured, the more data there will be to help predict future breakdowns and more effectively plan future maintenance regimens.

Seamless Collaboration: The rise in social networking brings new meaning into collaboration. Users' new social behaviour and growing expectation that every app will be "social" are pushing companies to create new user experiences.

However, to increase productivity, enterprises must move beyond standalone social and collaboration channels. They must begin to directly embed those channels into their core business processes. For example, adding the ability to comment, instant message, or follow a product through its activity stream within an order fulfillment application promotes a free-flowing exchange of ideas otherwise absent within a distributed supply chain.

The more people use collaboration tools, the more benefit everyone derives. However, making a tool available does not mean it will be adopted. Start with a targeted, user-centric model that supports specific work activities. Make it as enticing and easy to use as possible. Drive more job-specific usage and derive specific productivity gains within specific tasks.


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