Mapping Our Way Out of The Disruption Vortex

Running man made of network lines depicting fighting through web
Many of us have heard of business transformation, service-based cloud computing migration, composable infrastructures in software-defined networking environments and the moves driving the general shifts we are currently witnessing in (positive) digital disruption. In fairness, most of us will have heard of some of these, but possibly not all of them.

If you add in other industry factors such as mobile, data centres, voice recognition, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence and you bring all those into the above mix, then you probably have a neat summary of the lion’s share of the major trends impacting technology-driven business today.

A disruptive vortex

If we take all these new platforms, paradigms and principles together in one gargantuan lump of disruption, then it’s easy to see why some firms might view the whole process as a disruptive vortex, and the problem with being caught inside a vortex is the force of dynamic power you feel pressing down all around you.

Inside the disruptive vortex, it’s easy to lose focus, direction and perspective on what you have achieved to date and where you need to go next.

Because of this, we have to stand back and understand that we need a map. We require some way of measuring our position in business technology time and space at any one moment. In real terms this means we need a method of understanding, quantifying, anticipating and modelling the business landscapes of the future.

We know that board discussions centre around the use of data analytics tools as we look for a way of mapping out the future.

How to drive forward

So how do we move forward? How do we enter the vortex and what do we do with the knowledge we acquire?

With all the big data sources flowing into business right now, it’s crucial we understand how to extract the contextual meaning from every data source. Until we do so, it’s just raw data. Worse still if that data is semi-structured or even unstructured (think about random email or messaging data, voice data and much of the video data we now capture), without a means of categorising the qualitative and quantitative value of data, then it remains potentially valuable, but comparatively worthless.

Moving out of the information vortex and into the disruption mapping zone means being able to analyse data in real time at extremely high volumes. It also means being able to quickly deliver intelligent, actionable information based upon the state of that data. These are the building blocks (or in this case, the map coordinates) of the plan we are trying to lay down for ourselves.

Five pillars of data control

We can think about five pillars here in terms of how we map out data amidst a maelstrom of disruptive forces:

  • Customer Analytics
  • Operations Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Compliance Archiving

It is fundamental at this stage that we understand and realise the breadth and scope of analytics. Analytics is not ‘just’ analytics. It will logically break out into customer, operations and predictive analytics, and it is highly likely we will add to this list over time.

As we get better at analysing customers, we can align our products and services to meet their needs. Mapping out customer activity is a question of being able to examine data from user web logs (where privacy concerns allow it) as we interplay this with analytics (some of it our own, some of it third party) focused on social media and enterprise CRM.

A clearer road ahead

Once we start to pin down data analytics and embed it into our business processes at all levels, we can start to move forward with a more capable level of control over all regulatory requirements relating to the use of data. From this point, we can use data to our own advantage to detect business trends and opportunities as we also develop new revenue streams.

Fully engineered into the fabric of the business, we can start to use data to solve business issues before they even arise. This is predictive analytics at work. From here we can also control and leverage data from multiple repositories in extremely high volumes using Enterprise Content Management technologies.

The far road ahead is beset with many more disruptive data challenges and remaining compliant at the same time as making all that information discoverable is a big ask. Above all though, we can move out of the vortex and into positive digital disruption if we have a plan, process, method and map. But don’t worry, it’s a fluid map, so let’s enter the vortex with confidence.

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Author: Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance technology journalist with a specialist focus on the development and management of enterprise software applications and services. He has spent the last twenty years in a variety of technology-focused media roles and as such is fully conversant with the wider technology.