Power Your Digital Transformation With A Smart, Universal Data Platform

Kristin McMahon

If technology is the engine that drives digital transformation, data is the fuel. For forward-looking organizations it’s powering new insights, new ways of working, new products and services, and disruptive new business models. But in some industries, the gap between digital thrivers and survivors is growing as IT organizations are overwhelmed by information-related challenges. As data complexity and volumes skyrocket, business users are pressing for even greater speed and agility to meet customer demands and identify new revenue opportunities. According to an IDC survey, 91% of executives rank data and analytics as a competitive advantage or differentiator, but only 25% of organizations have managed to extract maximum value from data.

As information is at the core of the new digital ecosystem, organizations need to treat data and information the way they would treat any other asset, and invest in the right technology and skills to optimize its effectiveness and value. However, every enterprise is unique and the journey to digital transformation winds along different paths depending on the starting point. Selecting the right route requires a critical self-assessment of your enterprise’s current data and information capabilities and a vision for evolving transformation.

So, where is your organization starting from? IDC’s research identifies three categories of enterprises, depending on their current data and information capabilities.

  1. Enterprises that are seeking to transform their existing (often legacy) data management architecture and solutions. They are hampered by siloed data management technology that lacks the scalability and performance to process the volume, variety, and velocity of data created within the enterprise or by the ecosystem of external data sources.
  1. Enterprises that are looking to expand on recently deployed, next-generation data management technology, and ensure integration with internal legacy systems as they progress towards a more comprehensive transformation of their data management capabilities. These organizations have experienced project-level data management success that has led to tangible business benefits, including data monetization initiatives.
  1. Organizations that have already made a substantial investment in next-generation data-management technology. These enterprises have successfully integrated legacy and new technologies, and achieved business value in specific areas. It’s now time to expand on early successes by enabling an increasing number of internal and external stakeholders with innovation accelerators – such as artificial intelligence – that are made possible by the new data-management solution.

Whatever your digital transformation starting point, your destination needs to be what IDC calls an “enterprise digital platform:” a cloud-first technology architecture that spans IT, digital, and business domains. At its core is a data layer that provides a smart, universal digital platform that can handle data transactions, processes, and all aspects of data management from data integration, integrity, and security to analytics and application development. This platform will smooth your digital transformation as your organization moves through the three key phases of:

  • Becoming demand-oriented via the rapid, incremental addition of functionality
  • Being more data-driven by augmenting internal data with external data to enhance master data management and analytics
  • Maximizing digital execution by monetizing data internally through real-time insights, and externally via new data-driven products and services

Digital transformation offers opportunities for everyone. The initial benefits of investing in data architecture and solutions transformation will be mainly technical, but as your digital transformation journey continues, the focus will switch to improving business value. Eventually, investment in a data platform will deliver exponential business benefits.

To help you assess your organization’s current data and information capabilities and identify the opportunities and challenges posed by your particular digital transformation journey, IDC and SAP have developed three maturity models based on the categories above. To access these reports, please click here to register.


Kristin McMahon

About Kristin McMahon

Kristin McMahon is a solution marketing director for SAP Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions with expertise and focus on data services and data quality tools.