By Hillary Ashton, Chief Product Officer at Teradata, where she leads cloud innovation and new product organization. / February 16, 2021
The events of the past year have taught us that data’s ability to “show us the way forward” has become more important than ever. In translating that learning to the business world, it’s now clear that data must also become the guiding light for business — owned at the executive level and driving every decision, pivot and objective – so that the enterprise of the future is built on data.
Business leaders that recognize this and shift their mindset – from viewing data as a commodity to prioritizing it — will gain a tool to help them see around corners, remain competitive on the world stage, and even gain an advantage when market challenges hit, making agility and innovation critical.
Unlocking the potential of data as an asset
There is an abundance of data created every hour of every day; many organizations are focused on identifying, acquiring, saving and yes, using that data, but not necessarily integrating it or sharing it broadly throughout various business units. This creates silos of unconnected data that – while helpful for a single purpose – ultimately rob companies of the ability to use such data to manage the business holistically. To do that, data must be revered – treated as a business asset that is valued as highly as revenue, customer experience and profitability.
This process begins with re-envisioning ongoing data journeys happening in silos throughout the company and creating instead an effective, widespread data culture that is central to the business. Business unit leaders must connect their own data analytics ecosystems to the others that have sprung up in virtually every company function, and then the C-suite must manage it as an integrated end-to-end system of systems (so to speak).
However, it is not enough for companies to focus on only their own data. Organizations need to be able to integrate external data too – allowing companies to get both “insights” and “outsights.” Insights are achieved when companies analyze their own data; however, the drawback is that these insights fail to put an organization’s operations, situation, or future into global context. Outsights are even more valuable, given that they are derived from multiple data sources and provide richer insights. The difference between insights and outsights is like the difference between a microscope and a telescope. Microscopes are great for diagnosing, but telescopes provide the ability to anticipate and plan ahead.
When thinking about this in retail terms, for example, a detailed view of customers, suppliers, stores, products, logistics, processes, assets, and people across the entire enterprise enables companies to orchestrate the business at hyperscale and in real-time. It is the difference between being a Walmart versus a Kmart.
By taking a coordinated approach to data and analytics, people and departments will integrate and reuse — instead of duplicate or silo – data as part of a modern, powerful data analytics ecosystem, driving an exponential impact to the value of the data. At that point, every decision, every action and every initiative will drive growth, agility, innovation and competitive advantage.
Optimizing data means reworking the woodwork
This transformation also requires decision-makers to reimagine their existing architecture, beginning with the cloud. To truly realize data nirvana, companies need a modern cloud data analytics platform that can effectively execute data analytics orchestration, in a multi-cloud environment, incorporating many systems, functions, and data types. Pulling this off at a multidimensional scale, while also addressing unlimited users, data volume, query concurrency, complexity, data latency, mixed workloads and more is no small feat, but it is also required to ensure success.
This scalability delivers the advanced capabilities companies need to run millions of productionized models on trillions of interactions, throughout every second of every day – giving them insights and answers not previously possible. By moving from a siloed approach to a unified, answer-oriented model, these companies will be able to ask any question, against any data, at any time, without restrictions.
Companies can accomplish this with the Teradata Vantage cloud data analytics platform, offered on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Now available for a free 30-day trial, Teradata Vantage can transcend the entire organization at hyperscale to support larger, more complex data sets – and the corresponding business models – that help forward-looking enterprises be more competitive and find new and profitable use cases for all their data.
Allowing data to lead the way
Companies that survive — and thrive! — will be the ones that realize their data is a key asset and as a result, work to create a long-term data analytics strategy. That means placing ownership of all data initiatives at the executive level, not delegating down the chain.
The future belongs to the companies that put data at the heart of their business and let it drive every action, empowering users and accelerating decisions across the organization. They will become more agile, innovative, and disruptive. They will see their path and chart their own course; others will merely follow.