4 Steps to Closing the Data Gap

In a highly competitive business environment, this strategy is one of the best ways to stay in the race: Implement advanced tools and technologies in daily operations. What’s at the top of the list? No contest; it’s data management.

The deluge of data generated from multiple sources such as mobile, IoT, and social media means you must transform traditional business models to parallel this revolution in order to find new opportunities for revenue streams, customers, products, and services.


Transformational success requires:

  • A big data strategy that identifies and capitalizes on opportunities
  • Fostering a culture of data innovation and experimentation
  • Removing data access barriers and silos
  • Identifying ways to gain insight and quickly implement results
  • Understanding ways to leverage new technologies while managing the impact they have on how information is accessed and safeguarded
  • Retooling the skills of existing employees to help them transition into this new reality


One large gap that needs to be addressed is better data and analytics capabilities. These 4 steps can help you make the leap from traditional, fragmented decisions to modern, holistic, and near real-time data-based approaches:


1. Assess Current Technology Portfolio

Assuming your organization has committed to a comprehensive digital strategy, you can begin the transformation by modernizing your IT infrastructure, improving technology-driven performance, and significantly reducing costs.


Shifting your company’s technology portfolio is a lengthy process that requires:


  • Identifying the current mix of assets and the business model they serve. Then, determine which will need to be upgraded or eliminated to transform your business.
  • Making an inventory of your organization’s tangible and intangible assets. Determine how to align best of breed technologies and data analytics best practices with strategic initiatives like better agility and security as well as faster time to innovation.
  • Visualizing ways the new digital process can create value.


There is no “one right way” to accomplish a digital transformation. Organizations that consistently reassess their infrastructure can realize a wealth of benefits including improved service levels; greater flexibility and innovation; and dependable, secure infrastructure.


2. Assess Human Capital

Human capital is defined as the measure of skills, education capacity, and attributes of labor that determine productive capacity and earning potential. But how does that relate to organizations transforming their strategies in the digital transformation climate?

For some companies, it’s about disrupting recruitment, training, and on-boarding. For others, it’s redefining employer-employee relations and employee experience. However you define it, the focus should be on turning talent into a strategic business force. What are the capabilities of your current workforce and what changes, if any, must be made to achieve your digital goals?


3. Disruption or Acceptance?

Everyone must be onboard, whatever strategies are adopted. From employees to stakeholders and the C-Suite, a digital transformation affects the entire organization and needs to be supported at all levels. Will changes in the way things are done be seen as revolutionary and disruptive or will they be seen as evolutionary and embraced? The answer to this question will help shape your human capital discussions and strategy.


4. Adoption and Integration

Companies, departments, and individuals need to accept the new realities that digital transformation brings. No set of rules has been designed that guarantees success in this area, but there are proven approaches you can use.

If “evolution” is the name of the game, consider using technology like:

  • Apache Drill – an SQL query engine for Hadoop, NoSQL, and cloud storage
  • Apache Hive – makes querying large data systems in the Hadoop platform simple and easy
  • Apache Spark SQL – provides powerful integration with the rest of the Spark ecosystem


These technologies give developers access to familiar SQL-like tools that provide a common way to interact with a variety of data sources. If you’re fortunate enough to have universal acceptance, look for the best technologies to solve your particular needs and provide coaching and training for your staff.


For example, major credit card companies are using big data to detect fraudulent transactions and expand into trend analysis services. Healthcare providers are using data to develop algorithms that predict infections before physical symptoms appear. And sports giant Adidas is investing in increasingly higher levels of automation.


Whatever your requirements (regulations permitting), it’s worth considering big data technologies from cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Having all your organization’s data in one place and easily accessible is crucial to a successful digital transformation. It also brings you that much closer to closing the data gap and becoming a full-fledged digital enterprise.

Topics: Big data, Google Cloud, Azure, AWS