I spoke with Sanjay Brahmawar, CEO of Software AG, about how connecting people, processes and technology enables a company to become a truly connected enterprise. This enables greater value from company data – and significant competitive advantage.
The following is a condensed transcript – see the podcast and video below.
What is a Truly Connected Enterprise?
If you think about most businesses today, they already have a lot of data that they have created, by virtue of having been in operations for many years. The challenge is that this data is actually in quite a disparate landscape: it’s on certain on-prem applications, it’s in private cloud, it’s in public cloud; it’s being created now on the edge.
And this is therefore the biggest challenge for companies: how do you bring this data together to give access to the business so that the business can use the data, whether it’s through the help of analytics tools or it allows certain activities in real time?
So to do all of that, you’ve got to have access to that data, you’ve got to give availability of that data to the business. And that’s why truly connected enterprise becomes really important. And the businesses that are investing in that kind of digital transformation and are really stepping up to becoming TCE’s are able to shift away from products to services.
They’re able to create a competitive differentiator, they’re able to really support their own businesses for growth.
How do companies incentivize the move toward connected culture?
First and foremost, it’s really important to create the vision: where exactly are we going? Where are we taking the company? How are we going to serve our clients better? How are we going to win more in the market?
And so it’s very important that everybody in our company buys into the why. Why are we doing this? And that’s the first step. And then of course, it’s very essential to have a feasible road map that people can see: what are the milestones? How do we achieve that?
We adopt certain technologies, we change the ways of working. We start implementing that and we win more in the market. So it’s about creating that path to getting there, and then being consistent about the execution on that path.
If you think about our own journey in Software AG, we have shifted a company that’s a 50-year-old company to a sustainable, profitable company. But getting there was all about planting the flag and then defining a roadmap with clear milestones to get there.
What about the idea of the digital backbone? How does that support a TCE?
If you think about organizations, everybody talks about becoming a software company. Why do they say that they need to become a software company?
Well, it’s because you need to have a certain level of digital infrastructure, upon which you can build your value-added services, upon which you can build your applications, upon which you can deliver more services to your clients.
So if you don’t have that digital infrastructure, then you are struggling to deliver these capabilities or have that differentiation in the market. And this is what we mean by digital backbone, we mean those infrastructure capabilities that are essential to be able to allow you to build upon.
And in our case, we are supporting our clients with hybrid integration and API management, which is the ability to connect applications, cloud-to-cloud, allow the business access through API’s, data integration, smart data pipes, moving data between different locations into places like Snowflake, Databricks, etcetera.
There’s business transformation, which is really addressing the point I’ve said, how do you change your processes? How do you do process mining and assess the data in your process to optimize it? And finally IoT, which is basically connecting remote assets or mobile assets and collecting the data. So this way of managing data from your apps, from your devices and from your processes, that’s what we call a digital backbone.
Also see: Best Data Analytics Tools
So let’s look to the future. One of the problems with data is that some companies want to distribute it widely, yet they also maintain silos for the sake of compliance. How will this issue shift in the future?
Data privacy and how we handle data, whether that’s data of companies or of individual consumers, that’s a very important aspect of how we deliver and how we support our clients. Here in Europe, we have GDPR, so we’ve learned a lot through GDPR in terms of how to really deliver services while respecting the data integrity and the data privacy requirements.
I think this will continue to evolve, it’s a space where we will have more and more understanding. We will also know where sharing of data actually drives true benefits and true value, and where in some cases, sharing of data is something individuals or organizations don’t want to do because they don’t believe that there is enough value created.
So I think this balance between where sharing data is really beneficial versus where it doesn’t really help, that’s something we’re learning over a period of time. I do believe that the more data we can share, the more joined-up services can be delivered.
I think edge will become more and more important, so I think intelligence on the edge and the ability for decisions to be made on the edge is going to become more prevalent. So with 5G and IoT, the combination really allows us to do more.
Also see: Real Time Data Management Trends
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