It's about asking the questions that need to be answered first and then designing applications for the "right" data. Companies that recognise this and make data a strategic asset that drives business outcomes will have an edge over those that view data merely as an output.
Data "Velocity": The report advises companies to take advantage of data 'velocity'. Why? Because mobility and consumerisation of IT are driving expectations for faster access to data and more insights from that data. As data becomes more widely used and companies see increasing competitive advantage from faster "data to insight," the data and analytical skills in an organisation also become more critical to converting insights to action before opportunities are lost.
Seamless collaboration: The Accenture report advises the CXOs to make work and processes more social because of the Web-based social technologies like Facebook and Twitter and video tools like Skype and Google+ Hangouts. By embedding similar collaborative tools into their business processes, enterprises can take advantage of employees' growing comfort with social networks to gain a new level of productivity. Employees don't necessarily need to become more social for collaboration to work; rather, it's the work and processes that need to be more social.
Software-Defined Networking: While the virtualisation of servers, storage and other parts of IT infrastructure has resulted in unprecedented levels of flexibility, the network has been largely untouched by virtualisation until now. Software-defined networking (SDN), where the network is managed through software instead of through hardware, provides a giant leap forward in enterprise flexibility, the Accenture report points out.
"With SDN, organisations can reconfigure the connectivity of systems without changing the physical characteristics - making it easier for businesses to manage change, integrate cloud services and get more return from their network investments," explained Mayberry.
Active Defence: The report recognises that despite recent advances in security technology, safeguarding the digital business remains a challenge as the entry points for an attack are constantly expanding. "Recognising that attackers will get through, enterprises must stay one step ahead of them," said Mayberry. "IT's core challenge is to not only stay current with the latest in security, but to get smarter about understanding and engaging the enemy and be able to adapt the enterprise's defenses to match the threat."
Go beyond the cloud: The report says that the question for enterprises isn't "why should we use cloud?" - but rather, "how should we use cloud?" Many organisations are already embedding cloud with their legacy systems and traditional software to create "hybrid" environments. This requires a clear understanding of, and approach to, the skills, architecture, governance and security required, whether it's the applications, platforms or IT infrastructure that's in the cloud.
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