Take a look at your IT platform. What is it worth to you? How much are the servers, network switches and storage worth? How about the enterprise applications? With hardware, as soon as you take it out of the box, it is worth 30% less than you paid for it. Software essentially has zero value–whether you are using it on a license plus maintenance basis or subscribing to it on a more software as a service (SaaS) basis.
No–all that expenditure on hardware and CRM/ERP or other software is just one big black hole–unless you have used it to its maximum potential.
The secret is to use such an IT platform for a couple of main purposes:
- To create data either through logging interactions between different entities, such as users, customers and suppliers, or through automatic data creation via hardware and software creating their own log files.
- To then take actions based upon this data to create actionable information through which business decisions can be made to drive extra margin and/or extra revenues.
In fact, this has been the same through the ages–even before IT came to aid organizations, the creation, collection and manipulation of data has been the lifeblood of any enterprise. The difference is just that now a modern organization runs the risk of drowning under the sheer amount of data that it creates.
Successful organizations will be the ones who can more effectively manage the flow of information to ensure that the various entities that make up the value chains have the right data available to them, in the right place, at the right time.
The various entities must be seen as being markedly different by the organization and must also have a high degree of nuance overlaid on how they are dealt with. For example, an employee sitting at their desk is different from one sitting in a café using a public Wi-Fi access point. A contractor is different from a consultant. A supplier providing services to your organization and your competitors is different from one who supplies you on a sole supplier basis. A government body requesting data is different from a trade body asking for much the same.
Underlying all these needs are the processes used to move data around. The key to making sure that these processes are both effective (getting the right information to the right people) and efficient (getting the data there at the right time) is through using intelligent automation of data flows.
This requires a data connectivity, movement and automation engine that is as open as possible: it must be capable of not only accessing data from standard databases, but also in plugging into the business intelligence behind the data. For example, an engine that could plug into an Oracle database but actually understands the data far more through plugging in to the Peoplesoft application above it, or one that plugs into an SAP system atop a DB2 database and automates, monitors and logs the SAP processes will add far more value than one that ‘just’ moves the underlying data itself.
Add in process monitoring and granular security, and you can start to picture an IT platform that is focused on the data–not on the hardware or software. Indeed, by using the intelligence of the data movement engine, hardware can be more easily replaced, or software moved to new platforms using virtual machines (VMs) or containers without the need for manual reallocation of IP addresses, storage LUNs and so on.
The result then becomes a basis for an organization to participate in the new ‘data economy.’ Users can focus more closely on the tasks that they need to fulfil, with the understanding that the data they need will be available and the data they create will be moved to a place where it will be most useful.
With the right data engine in place, data can be handled in a manner that understands context; that is, it can prevent certain types of data from crossing over certain boundaries. The organization benefits from a greater assurance that their very lifeblood–the data that defines the business itself–is under better control and is going where it is needed in a secure and efficient manner.
This leads to better business effectiveness, and more business provides more revenues. Greater efficiencies also mean that the extra revenues come at greater margin.
This leaves just one question: why doesn’t your organization already have such a data engine in place?
One such engine can be seen in Stonebranch’s Universal Data Mover. This engine specializes in securely and effectively moving data across platforms as required. When combined with Stonebranch’s Universal Automation Center, the system is completed: automated processes are completed based on the automated aggregation and movement of the data required for an organization to make better-informed decisions.
To learn more about the Universal Data Mover and how it can help take your data supply chain to the next level, schedule a demo with Stonebranch today.