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As an avid fan of the Olympic games, I was reminded by the 2016 Rio games of the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (faster, higher, stronger). Since their inception in 1896, the goal of the modern Olympics has been to provide an international forum where the world’s elite athletes could come together and compete. That is why the founder of modern Olympics Pierre de Coubertin said that “athletes need freedom of excess. That is why we gave them this motto … a motto for people who dare to try to break records.”

What does this have to do with digital transformation? There are lessons to be learned from the Olympic motto for those involved with creating and harvesting change to drive value. To be leaders and to compete at the highest level in today’s data-driven economy, organizations need to have a platform that enables top performance.

We are at the dawn of the digital economy. In response, organizations must think far beyond the four walls of the traditional enterprise. To gain a new perspective, organizations must take an “outside-in” view that encompasses their entire ecosystem including customers, partners, suppliers, regulators and the like.

What is Digital Transformation?

Central to this new perspective is the ability to generate new revenue streams from digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences. In effect, the digital economy will require organizations to shift to a digital platform-driven business model — one that enables the creation of new revenue streams while modernizing back end systems to support new go-to-market strategies. IDC refers to this shift as digital transformation — a continuous process by which organizations adapt to, or drive disruptive changes by leveraging digital competencies. The end goal of digital transformation: innovate new business models, products and services that seamlessly blend digital and physical experiences while improving operational and organizational performance.

Digital transformation requires investment in an enterprise digital platform, a cloud-first technology architecture that spans across IT, digital and business domains. The all-encompassing nature of the enterprise digital platform is imperative for delivering technology capabilities that enable the rapid creation of externally-facing digital products, services and experiences.

What is the Role of Data Management Technology in Digital Transformation?

Among the key service layers of an enterprise digital platform is the data layer — multi-tiered and multi-tenanted data discovery environment with applied intelligence to derive business value and meaning. The ability to extract the maximum value from data is critical – more than 90 percent of organizations believe that data and analytics is a competitive differentiator, yet fewer than one-quarter of top managers involved with data and analytics state that they have been able to extract greatest possible value from data.

Besides data management and processing functionality for operational and big data from internal and external sources, services in the data layer of the enterprise digital platform should also include advanced analytics, visualization, and AI/machine learning as these technologies allow data scientists to create new algorithms and models to drive the delivery of new insights into all other enterprise applications. It is with such new insights that decision makers at all levels can disrupt the status quo, ask compelling questions, and gain access to actionable information in real-time.

What Business Value Can A Modern Data Platform Drive?

As organizations move along the digital transformation journey, they will need to invest in a new data management, integration and integrity platform. This platform will enable an expanded set of technical use cases which in turn will drive exponential value from digital transformation investments. As technical competency in data management and integration evolves, organizations will be able to achieve outcomes that are truly transformative.

Among the areas where the data platform can drive transformation are:

  • Pricing and inventory. Data and analytics lead to greater sharing of relevant data with suppliers resulting in a more efficient and cost effective supply chain.
  • Better, more efficient routes result in predictive truck maintenance.
  • Electricity grid management. Real-time granular data informs power pricing to drive usage to off-peak hours.

These are examples of how the data management platform can generate business value. Getting started requires a modern data management architecture – one that allows organizations to break away from fixed business processes and to enjoy the freedom of excess to use all data, to act in the moment, to innovate without constraints — to enable digital transformation.

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