Data: foundation of accelerated growth in a transformed world
In an ever more connected world, it is essential that businesses find their footing on the transformation journey. Data is the foundation of this journey, providing the key to get the vehicle to insights moving. Through the effective use of data, accelerated growth is driven, propelling us towards a transformed world.
However, according to James Hickman, Managing Director at South Africa Qlik Master Reseller (SAQMR), an EOH company, data is often as much a problem as it is a solution. "We are witnessing the evolution of data warehouses and lakes, as they transform into data swamps and graveyards. Gartner has estimated that by the end of this year, up to 90% of the data will be useless. The lakes continue to grow and become more irrelevant as they simultaneously become more complex. The focus must now become on building on data that delivers real insights, and measurable value."
At the Southern Africa Qlik Summit 2018, recently held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, various experts in the field delivered poignant presentations on how exactly this value can be created, and the journey undertaken. The summit was sponsored by B2IT, Decision Inc., Expeditus, Insight Consulting, Inteleqt, KPI Management Solutions, Modernising Management, Synergy, TRG, and Cloudera.
According to Jane Thomson, SAQMR Director, and Rob Godlonton, CEO, ICT Division EOH, the first leg of the journey entails becoming accustomed to living in a two-speed world. "Many organisations still have their legacy systems in place, as they embark on digital transformation." Godlonton confirms that both business and technology must work in that "two-speed" world, as a greater understanding of data and systems is built. "We need to understand the data and have the tools to access it, otherwise we're going nowhere," he adds.
An integral part of the journey is embracing digital transformation in the analytics economy. David Bolton, Vice-President, Industry Solutions & Business Value, Qlik, believes digital transformation holds massive opportunities for growth, greater customer satisfaction and more streamlined operations. "Data is the foundation of the new economy, analytics transform data into insights, and insights drive actions that transform business. It's that simple," confirms Bolton.
To achieve this, however, businesses must begin to focus on data literacy. "There's a big difference between knowing what to do with technology and being data literate," says Jordan Morrow, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik. Research shows data literacy skills gaps are created due to the amount of data being produced, the democratisation of data (the rise of self-service), and digital transformation. "To be data literate, a person must be able to: read the data; work with it to build business intelligence and dashboards; analyse the data beyond mere reporting to draw real insights; and argue with the data, asking questions in a constructive way," advises Morrow. As such, data literacy must be built into the organisation's data vision if it wants to succeed in an innovative and competitive world.
Transformation is a hot topic of discussion across the globe. At the Summit, Paul Winsor, Global Senior Director Industry Solutions, EMEA Region, Qlik and Niall Gallacher, Global Director Market Development, Qlik, shared some success stories from their global customers. These customers succeeded in re-imagining their processes, building customer intelligence, embracing new business opportunities, and balancing their risk and reward.
According to Winsor, Rentokil used data analytics to improve efficiencies in rat extermination. "Rentokil has been through a huge transformation. There are about 7 billion people on this planet, and keeping up with us are rats." The company wasted thousands of hours of manpower visiting containment traps on clients' premises to determine whether a rat had been caught. "Embracing technology, it now uses sensors which alert the engineer when the trap has worked." This mobile solution, with all data being held in Qlik, takes the guesswork out of their service delivery and effectively improves business processes, using data.
British Gas uses Qlik to decide when and where new meters are required. Through data analysis, the long-established company also determined how to improve customer retention and gain new business opportunities. "After analysing key data, the company began to offer free fuel (gas and electricity) on a Saturday," confirms Gallacher. This encouraged customers to sign longer-term contracts, even though there's usually much less energy used over the weekend, especially in the commercial space. "The business also established a smart home applications division; after all, it already had the field engineers to install."
Reporting back on Qonnections 2018, Adam Barrie-Smith, Cape Town Branch Manager & Expert Services Lead, SAQMR, discussed the road-map to the Qlik journey. "There are three key aspects; enterprise class technology, augmented intelligence innovation strategies, and the QlikView innovation strategy." This is driven by a multi-cloud strategy, token-based pricing moving to a professional user remix, and the advent of enterprise elasticity.
After various industry specific break-away sessions, the keynote address was delivered by Dion Chang, Trend Analyst and owner of Flux Trends. During his thought-provoking presentation, Chang confirmed: "Data is so important that it has to be translated into a visual medium. Every two days we generate the same amount of information as was created since the beginning of time to 2003. By the end of 2020, it will take five million years to watch all the videos generated." For this reason, it's essential that businesses master the art of communicating, and doing business in a hyper-visual world.