In Transform to Win, we explore the challenges facing modern companies, diving into their individual digital transformations and the people who drive them. Learn about the changes they’re making to not just remain competitive, but win in the future to stand the test of time.
The changing world of data
We live in a world of data. Think back to when your company first started storing data, years ago: do any of you remember those clunky tapes, floppy disks, burning CDs, and DVDs? Everything about data storage has changed since then. There’s an insane amount of data today and most of it is new — an IBM study from 2017 asserted that 90% of all data had been created in the previous two years. And you can bet the pace has accelerated since then. Companies are storing every bit of data they can get their hands on, in every possible location. Your company might still have legacy machines on-premises, while leveraging any number of cloud storage solutions in parallel.
Your business and your software have to evolve to keep up. Be honest with yourself: how is that going?
Increase revenue, differentiate your business
Digital transformation is a term that’s been thrown around since the 90s, but what does it mean? For most businesses, digital transformation means aligning all of your systems towards a new, more efficient and effective paradigm, something on which you can build the future of your business. It can take five to ten years and encompass a wide range of processes. Here we’re going to discuss three key areas that successful businesses focus on during their transformations:
1. Enabling data-driven decisions throughout the company (not just in certain departments or teams)
2. Monetizing data
3. Choosing a modern software architecture
First off, insights everywhere: we live in a data-driven world. You know your company has a lot of data, but are you using it to make smarter decisions? Analytics and business intelligence (BI) are no longer the province of a handful of specialized experts. To be sure, data analysts will always be a core part of any company’s data strategy, but frontline business users need to be empowered with tools that allow them to perform ad hoc analyses and make smarter decisions based on their unique needs, regardless of technical skill. By putting insights and actions directly into workflows and in the hands of every contributor, you can create a truly data-driven workforce.
But that’s just the beginning of how data can transform your business and help you succeed. Truly innovative companies are finding ways to embed insights into their products, increasing stickiness and user adoption and creating a new revenue stream, as well as a market differentiator. Every company is becoming a data company. If yours is too late adapting to this trend, it will not survive. As part of your digital transformation strategy, you need to find an analytics and BI partner that will empower your in-house users and builders. Think of developers, who will create customer-facing analytic apps embedded into your core product to bring in new revenue.
Lastly, let’s talk architecture. There’s only one term we need to bring up here: the cloud. All that data we talked about at the beginning of this post? It’s all going to one place today: the cloud. The rise of cloud data storage has completely changed the business world. Software is eating the world, as Marc Andreessen famously stated in his 2011 WSJ article, and the cloud is the main mechanism for that push these days.
As you digitally transform your business, it’s imperative that you implement a cloud-native architecture that interfaces seamlessly with cloud data sources and easily brings that data and the insights from it to your team and your users.
Startups being built today exist entirely on the cloud and are capable of running from anywhere and scaling to support any number of users without human interaction. Opex completely replaced Capex and moved it all to the cloud. And so, as you digitally transform your business, it’s imperative that you implement a cloud-native architecture that interfaces seamlessly with cloud data sources and easily brings that data and the insights from it to your team and your users.
Drive ROI from your data — wherever it is
You don’t just wake up one day and decide to move all your data to the cloud. Digital transformations take years to successfully execute. Undertaking a cloud migration by moving all your data from wherever it is (on-premises systems, other cloud solutions, etc.) to a single- or multi-cloud setup, is a big part of that. As huge of a task as it is, putting all your data onto the cloud is the only way for your organization to leverage the universal accessibility, speed of analysis, and ease of embedding and insight-sharing that will lay the foundation for your company’s future success.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of developing your software on cloud-native architecture. This will help you take advantage of the cloud ecosystem’s many benefits. Using a cloud-native analytics platform is a key to maximizing value from your cloud data long-term (to power your data-driven organization and analytic apps). It also provides a semantic layer for you to connect and interact with all your data, wherever it is, during your migration. This means your internal decision-makers can always get the analytics they need to make smarter decisions. Your developers can also keep working on the next generation of analytic apps to deliver insights to your customers and help you start seeing ROI sooner. The right analytics solution is the lynchpin that holds your transformation and migration together.
Choose the right cloud; choose the right analytics partner and thrive
AWS is the biggest cloud provider on Earth. They basically invented the elastic cloud storage and computing model that the entire industry has grown up around. Standards and processes pioneered by AWS are applied by every successful cloud provider.
If you’re bringing all your data to AWS anyway (the countless cloud options that you can choose from make that very likely), here are some guideposts to set you up for success in selecting the right analytics partner:
- Choose a vendor that is built to run on AWS.
- Make sure their platform runs on cloud-native architecture.
- If possible, select an AWS Competency Partner — this means you’re getting a proven team that is certified in helping customers find the best products to analyze their data (no matter how much they have).
- Be sure the company you select has a deep bench of experts and expertise operating large-scale Redshift deployments.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer up an example of an analytics partner who fits the bill beautifully.
Sisense is built to run on and with AWS. You can deploy Sisense on your machines, on ours, or entirely on AWS. Our cloud-native architecture was built to run on Amazon Linux 2 and developed working closely with AWS. On top of all that, Periscope Data (now part of Sisense), has years of experience operating a large-scale Redshift deployment: a fleet of 335 clusters combining over 2000 nodes. We also happen to be an AWS Data & Analytics Competency Partner, the highest possible recognition of our analytics technology leadership position. The Sisense team is filled with experts who can guide you through the process of gathering, storing, and governing your data.
In short, we’re the total package when it comes to AWS.
Build boldly, win the future
A digital transformation isn’t just about streamlining your business so that you can do what you were doing before, only better. It’s about imagining a bold new direction for your business and having a clear vision for what you’re building. We live in a cloud data world, so you need cloud-native architecture for your software and a powerful cloud solution to store all your data. Your analytics and BI solution pulls that all together, smooths over your migration, and is part of the foundation on which you’ll build the next stage of your business. Sisense’s cloud-native architecture, AWS integration, and analytics expertise can help you achieve all this and more. Whatever you’re building, build it boldly with Sisense.
Guy Levy-Yurista, PhD is the Chief Strategy Officer at Sisense and an executive leader and entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in Fortune 500, startup, and venture capital environments.