Digital transformation is changing the way organizations view their data – at least it should be. Which is why data modernization is critical to a successful transformation. Every organization collects, stores and manages data. We are seeing a shift in all industries, as smart devices and newer technologies are starting to be introduced within the enterprise. Data will not be accessed in the same ways as it would in legacy ERP systems or home-grown, custom applications. The future means thinking about new and innovative ways of collecting and managing information to make effective decisions. At its core, data modernization is the process of making progressive changes to the way an organization collects, stores and manages its data to unlock new insights that drive digital transformation initiatives. Data modernization also serves to mature these focus areas which are critical to any growing enterprise:
- Customer engagement: Exploring new ways to build strong relationships with customers
- Digitizing products and services: Launching new, enhanced products and exploring new business models
- Better informed decisions: Enhancing available information to enable timely, effective, data-driven decision making
- Operational performance: Creatively using technology to improve performance
Data transformation starts and ends with business value
To get data organized and governed in such a way that it supports the business strategy, we suggest our clients use a “think big, start small, scale fast” approach.
- Think big: What are the organization’s goals, challenges and aspirations?
- Start small: What specific, prioritized use cases should be the immediate focus to achieve those goals?
- Scale fast: Demonstrate progress and value with quick wins that create enthusiasm; grow the business and drive innovation by marketing new data, insights and capabilities for reuse.
The term “single source of truth” is often heard when talking about data modernization. This means it is imperative that everyone in the organization, across all business units, has a common understanding of their critical data elements. Innovation and transformation are all about having the right data available to make effective decisions that grow the business.
The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform
It can be difficult for organizations to determine which tools will be the right fit for their needs to deliver that all-important business value. We often hear clients say, “I don’t trust my data” or “I don’t get the data I want when I need it.” So how does an organization become more proactive about getting reliable, high-quality data to enable good decisions?
In a recent webinar, we reviewed several Microsoft solutions that we believe are the best available for companies looking to modernize their data management and governance systems, generating improved levels of trust in the organization’s data. We were joined by Cynthia Chang, Azure Data and AI Specialist Director with Microsoft. She shared that “Sixty-four percent of executives say they have less than four years to complete a digital transformation journey or they will go out of business.” She added that “we all know changes are necessary in today’s very, very competitive environment, but we also know change is hard because it affects the process, the organization, the culture and the people.” Even Microsoft is not immune to these challenges.
Cynthia described how Microsoft was able to use tools from its own Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform to solve two critical issues: one involving late payments and the other impacting critical customer service. The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform is a collection of tools that allow companies to move beyond the cost and complexity of point solutions with a unified data and artificial intelligence (AI) platform. The tools support:
- Accelerating innovation through improved productivity with automation and AI
- Establishing agility by anticipating change and empowering faster decision-making
- Achieving a “single source of truth” by building on a trusted platform
In the two case studies she discussed, Cynthia explained how Microsoft used both a Power BI dashboard and an AI-powered customer feedback tool to solve challenges that were impacting the company’s growth. The results were significant.
Other tools in the Intelligent Data Platform
During the webinar, we also demonstrated the Azure Data Ecosystem tools within the platform that we feel are particularly beneficial to Protiviti clients and offer a variety of capabilities to enrich any organization’s data. We reviewed the Azure Machine Learning Studio, Azure Synapse Link and Microsoft Purview for data protection and governance. The first two solutions are part of the Microsoft Synapse Analytics suite of solutions.
Azure Machine Learning provides rich, consolidated capabilities for model training and deployment.
Azure Synapse Link is the agile approach to successfully analyze the data and generate near real-time insights for Dataverse, Azure Cosmos Database and Azure SQL Database data. It provides access to near real-time data for quick decision-making, breaking down data silos within the organization by integrating separate data sources and simply migrating and transforming data at a near real-time cadence.
Microsoft Purview enables organizations to establish trust in their data by implementing a data map and accompanying data catalog feature to build one “single source of truth.” Its pre-built dashboards provide simple insights into the entire data environment.
Protiviti is proud to be a Microsoft Partner and a finalist for the 2022 Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year awards for Compliance and Power Automate.
Lucas Lau, Mary DeVito and Allison Perez also contributed to this post.