Can you imagine a digital enterprise that functions without consideration to data? Of course not!

Can you imagine a digital enterprise that doesn’t manage its data assets strategically? I hope not!

Digital transformation has become a strategic imperative for visionary CxOs, progressive Boards and their companies because of its implications for gaining advantage against established competition. Indeed, digital transformation is an imperative in some cases for pure survival in a rapidly-changing competitive landscape that includes incumbents changing their ways of doing business as well as new entrants that are changing the rules of the game and thereby disrupting entire industries. As Lou Attanasio, Chief Revenue Officer of Informatica, pointed out at the just-concluded Informatica Sales Kickoff, Cadillac is turning the whole notion of car ownership on its head by offering a hybrid GE Aircraft Engines-Airbnb-like model – car ownership on a month-to-month basis, all-inclusive pricing, and zero long-term commitment. Subscription economy meets car ownership!

As companies embark on their digital transformation journeys, what gets missed are the foundational elements needed to enable digital transformation. The single biggest element is data and its effective management. Data is as essential as to organizations as water is to society. However, like water, data too needs to be managed strategically. To carry this analogy along, just as water is managed from source to destination through a complex engineering system for a variety of end uses, so too does data have to be managed across the enterprise to deliver the value inherent in it, which is the value of information delivered through analytics performed on that data. And just as clean water is put to uses such as cooking, drinking, creating bottled beverages, running water fountains and filling swimming pools, so too is quality data put to use for performing analytics, gaining insight, and enabling thoughtful action.

Consider how a typical organization interacts with its customers. Sales has one view of their customer, service has another view, marketing a third, finance a fourth, and so on. These views tend to be transactional in nature at worst, and provide a silo’ed view of the customer at best. What is missing to enable true digital transformation is that unified, consistent, accurate and near 360-degree picture of the customer – a customer picture that includes transactions and interactions across the myriad physical and digital touchpoints, woven to illuminate the customer’s journey and relationship with the organization.

As you begin to embark on your company’s digital transformation journey, how are you managing your critical data assets? What aspects of your data and related processes are you struggling with? Is the quality of your data hampering your efforts to corral your data for enabling insight and decision-making? Are you managing the security of your data assets as thoroughly as you do your physical assets? How will you incorporate data streams from IoT devices? What role will advanced analytics and AI play? Share your story, lessons learnt, and questions below, or email me at