Datafication – Arriving at an industry near you!


CIO Leaders 1By Chris Cubbage
Executive Editor
Australian Security Magazine

Last month I whisked off to Sydney for the CIO Leader’s Summit and the chance to be in a room with the country’s leading CIOs, CTOs and supporting tech heads. The vibe was about industry change. Rapid change!

There is a distinct shift occurring besides the traditional referenced drivers and trends such as Cloud Computing, Mobile Smart Devices and Social Media. The shift is toward digitisation, or as Kevin Bloch, CTO for Cisco Systems preferred to call it, “Datafication”. You would have heard of “digital transformation”, with the more common terms referring to the IoT, or as the “Internet of Everything”.

At the forefront, Kevin Bloch observes, “What is actually happening is that we are merging the physical world with the analytical world. However, most people assume ‘analytical’ equals analysis by the human brain. That is true, to a degree, but now humans are completely being outplayed in almost every way by machines (computers).” And there’s much more to come with significant disruptions anticipated in at least one in three industries.

The driver of these changes is that by connecting things that ‘sense’ and can produce data, we can now do things previously not possible. Indeed, change and disruption is a constant happening within traditional markets (i.e. ‘your market’) but this digital wave of transformation is impacting in a significant way, and there are already plenty of examples. Linkedin is disrupting recruitment, iTunes has disrupted the music industry, Uber in the Taxi Industry and the list continues. It has reached as far with UK Police calling for video surveillance cameras (CCTV) to be networked in and around all homes to guard against crime. This is happening now. This is happening here. Will this happen to you?!

Some of the key challenges facing traditional markets revolve around developing new leadership; culture shifts; cyber security; personal privacy; data sovereignty; and skills development. In terms of the technology advances, we have new capabilities in virtualisation; continuing exponential price/performance improvements of Central Processing Units (CPU Moore’s Law), storage media architectures and techniques.

Brett Wilson, Head of Technology and CIO for Capgemini Australia is increasingly seeing organisations jump on board with the ‘digitisation of everything’ to utilise new digital channels in order to maintain relevance to their stakeholders and customers. “The approach however, needs to be end to end rather than simply bolting on digital services and saying “hey we are doing digital now”. The digital journey will mean something different to each organisation and or market, however the one point that is certain is that if they don’t start now, they will be left behind by competitors or ‘new lean, mean and fast entrants’.”

Digital disruption is across all markets and CIO’s need to understand what this will mean to them and create a digital strategy around these requirements for the organisation. This could include more meaningful ways to connect to customers or across the organisation by increasing the speed and access for everyone to find and interact with relevant people, information, and products/services or a complete digital transformation of how interactions are taking place and provided to clients or customers.

Tailored business dashboards provide organisations with renewed insight and intelligence, pulling data from a number of sources within the organisation and creating a new level of value using the analytics around the data that has not been available before, using traditional methods. Revolutions in data analytics will create new capability implications for marketing, sales, supply and management vectors. All professional disciplines also need to upskill to the new world such as accountants, lawyers and even doctors, dentists and vets.

In 2015, the contemporary CIO role is changing and evolving rapidly to understand what the digital evolution will mean to their organisation. To be successful, CIOs now need to be working closely with the CMO in order to align their approaches from being an operational executive to a digital champion. As this evolution matures, so too will the adjustments and adaptations occur in industry, business and government.

Case study – Capgemini Expense’s going digital

Using the customer experience as a starting point Capgemini identified a number of manual processes that were ripe for the picking to shift to digital. The example here was the expenses process which required paper based approvals and wasted a lot of time for both the employee chasing the approvals, the approver and the finance department who were inundated with paper post each day. Reviewing the duplication and effort required for this process, it was estimated that there was a significant value to the organisation simply in time saved alone by going digital with this process.

Capgemini managed to reduce the process from nine manual paper based steps to three, which included automation and workflow in the backend with feeds from several other systems, such as American Express. The digitisation of this single process has produced not only value to the organisation in terms of reducing the amount of time staff spend on expenses, it also demonstrated to the business that IT are listening and evolving with the shift away from an operational driver to business partner.

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