Why the digital transformation of your business is not working out

Why the Digital Transformation of Your Business is Not Working Out

by
Bill Wohl

Chief Communications Officer, Commvault

Commvault provides mid- and enterprise-level organisations worldwide with data protection and information management solutions. Commvault's Global Chief Communications Officer, Bill Wohl highlights when digital transformation is not possible for a business, and what the business needs to do in response.

There has never been a time when data is more strategic to businesses than in 2018. Here are three reasons why.

One, companies are looking for a strategic competitive advantage and have learned quickly that the more they understand the business, the faster and more effectively they can make strategic decisions. Data is at the centre of informed decision making. Companies that have figured this out have made data the centre of their strategy, and that is at the heart of the digital transformation story. 

The second piece of the equation is that digital threats against businesses have increased substantially. The impact of ransomware in the past year has shined a significant spotlight on the importance of data and what happens when companies are hacked. For companies, the key is securing the ability to recover from these kinds of attacks, when business data is now very much in the spotlight. 

The third component is the enormous amount of regulation that has entered the business environment. Probably the most visible example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirement on European companies and those doing business in or with Europe. If history is any indication, GDPR requirements will wind up making themselves global over time. The only way to meet the requirements in GDPR is to be a data-centric organisation.

In 2018, these trends will only continue and accelerate, and put increasing focus on data at a level that has never been seen before. 

Many organisations in APAC realize that they need to become more data-centric, but are often challenged with: "Where and how do we get started?"

At Commvault, we know this is a challenge because when we talk to customers, their data workloads increasingly sit all over the enterprise – in data centers, increasingly in the cloud, and certainly in mobile devices. This is a particular challenge in Asia, which has an extremely high mobile penetration rate, such as 147 percent in Japan and Singapore, and 115 percent in Korea. 

In fact, we recently performed a study titled “Measuring IT’s Readiness for Digital Business,” where we surveyed 1,200 IT executives and IT personnel in six global business markets.

One of the most important things we learned was that more than 60 percent of respondents – which includes CIOs and IT professionals – said they had access to less than 40 percent of their companies’ data. This was shocking, because digital transformation is not possible if you only control less than half of your company’s data.

Yet, these executives still yearned to become digital businesses with data at the center of their strategy.

So when companies ask us “where and how do we get started?”, we say it starts with building a solid foundation to manage and protect their data. What we often find with larger enterprises is that they have six to 12 data protection vendors alone. It starts with reducing the costs and inefficiencies of all of those different interfaces, management techniques, protocols, and training for employees.

Mind the gaps of the IT department!

Speaking of employees, there is a gap between the desire of the C-suite to transform to digital business models, and the readiness of IT departments to actually get that done. That is a big one – this is a conclusion that Commvault came to in our recent study on digital transformation.

What we discovered is that many IT departments currently do not have necessary data-centric skills, such as big data and data analytics. Additionally, IT departments do not have the bandwidth to spend time on data-centric initiatives because they are so focused on running the day-to-day.

So if the skillsets and time do not exist, then IT departments could be a stumbling block for C-suite executives looking to drive digital transformation. This then becomes a C-suite imperative – to get the IT department to the level that they can support a digital transformation.

Many IT professionals understand that their jobs need to change and they need to advance their skillsets, but they don’t feel that they have access to the training and time to get that done.

So a good first place for a savvy CIO to start would be to conduct a skills assessment to understand what the organisation has and where it is lacking, and make it a priority for the business to upskill.

Importantly, it is also about freeing up manhours to help his or her IT team to focus on digital strategy. So, consider using software that has automation and orchestration built-in to help automate manual processes that take up precious time – time that IT departments should be using to focus on higher level projects, as well as strategic data protection and management tasks.

FCM Travel is an example of where this approach has paid dividends.

As a corporate travel solutions provider, it has a wealth of data from its two live reservation and invoice capture systems. In India, it has consolidated and automated its data protection functions, reducing backup and restoration times by 70 percent, but also aggregating this data into a single platform.

This provides three immediate benefits. As the business is increasingly using data for customer insights, it now has a single source it can go to for driving accurate business decisions.

Second, with data protection functions automated, IT personnel are no longer spending a significant amount of hours on managing day-to-day operations, and can instead begin upskilling to learn more data-centric skills. This drives business innovation, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, expansion.

Upskilling is made far easier by the third benefit of a single platform approach – FCM Travel India’s IT personnel only need to manage and be trained for one interface when it comes to data. The learning curve is drastically flattened when they are no longer required to manually interact with multiple data silos, each with their own respective interfaces.

Together, this drives innovation for FCM Travel, and it is already able to use its understanding of its data to meet compliance regulations, and focus on the innovation and expansion of its business.

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