Are your business and data strategies driving your cloud strategy?

Digital capabilities and the availability of new data sources are impacting how businesses are designing and evolving business processes in the connected world.  Cloud is top of mind for many organizations today. Many are leveraging Cloud as the ‘easy button’ to quickly get started and to help with digital transformation and/or challenges/constraints with existing IT operations.

In a prior blog, Solving the Pain Points of Big Data Management, we discussed how one of the key elements organizations continue to struggle with is aligning business goals, data, and cloud to collectively solve these challenges.  We’ve seen some commonality of today’s ‘easy button’ of the cloud to what companies experienced in the past with spreadsheets and MS Access databases where data sprawled from application databases, data marts with data quickly moving to copies on servers, laptops, etc.  

Today’s ‘spread-marts’ can be virtually ‘anywhere’.  For example, data supporting a new customer behavior algorithm can reside on one cloud provider bringing together real-time website clickstream log files and enhancing with third-party data.  Data can now reside on your infrastructure, with a business application with a software as a service (SaaS) provider, or stored and analyzed in one or multiple cloud providers. Now the data science team might opt to leverage services from a SaaS-based tool vendor and copy a version of this data into the vendor’s cloud application.  Also, the marketing team who needs to quickly assess the performance of a new product launch might end up using a service from a different data mart provider because their visualization tool is easy to use.

As you can see, all of a sudden a company could now have copies of the same data in multiple spots outside of their direct control.  Couple that with regulatory compliance for PHI, PII, PCI, SOX, etc. it becomes increasingly important for organizations especially for CFOs, CIOs, CDAOs, CISOs to understand where their data is and if there are any potential risks and exposures.  They need to have a crisp, yet comprehensive view of what information they have on consumers, what has happened with it, where it is stored, how and when it is used or processed, and who is using it or potentially has access to it. 

But this also needs to be balanced with the need to solve business problems to compete in today’s digitally connected world with the goal of doing it better, faster and cost effectively.  So how do we tackle today’s “spread – marts”? 

Companies can achieve the alignment and balance of the business, data, and cloud strategy by looking to answer some fundamental questions around:  the why, what, who, how, when and where. For instance:  

  • Laying out the business goals and objectives, or the why.  
  • Determining what data and type of analytics are needed (reporting, discovery, predictive, prescriptive and/or preventive). 
  • How and who needs access to the data (governance)?
  • Who has access to what data and when?
  • Where can the data reside and when do we need to access it?

We plan to cover more on these on an upcoming webinar, where Tony Baer and I will share our observations, key learnings, and things you should consider and what we have seen as best practices.  We will take a look at things to consider on how to better align business strategy, data and cloud needs. Additionally, Tony will share insights from his recent research on cloud adoption trends and things to look for.  We’ll discuss key design principles a company can leverage whether you’re just getting started or already using the cloud.   We will look at examples and business use cases from multiple industries including insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and telecommunications, around organizations that have successfully embarked on their digital transformation journeys. 

To learn more, please register here for the upcoming webinar: Considerations for Devising Your Enterprise Cloud Strategy

Cindy Maike
Cindy Maike

VP Industry Solutions

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