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The Final Step of the Data Transformation Journey

A few weeks back, I started a conversation here on the Oracle Analytics blog around “The Data and Analytics Transformation Journey”; I laid out a five-step process that delivers a roadmap with five milestones. Regardless of your sophistication, goals, vision and expectation for change, you should expect to follow this path:   

1.      Identify high-value opportunities to exploit analytics on all types of structured, unstructured and real-time data.

2.      Establish the right strategic architecture for business and IT. Determine which capabilities are most critical and what capabilities are needed to realize them. 

3.      Prove business value through proofs of concept.  In this step, the identify and establish steps come to life. This is where the plan is enacted and proven.

4.      Scale by expanding to additional people and new use cases. Apply lessons learned from the initial journey.

5.      Transform to a data-driven culture

We’re at the final step—Transform.  And it’s a transformation that’s yours to make the most of.

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Transformation is a state of being, not a destination

By now, your business should begin to see data and analytics as a central, dominant focus, driving virtually every decision, fueling practically every interaction and engagement, and powering nearly every process. And yet this is not an undertaking with a beginning and an end.

  • In this forward-moving process—as data and analytics proliferates throughout the organization—it’s important to be conscious of the now, to keep actionable insights and outcomes in view and not rest on past successes.
  • Investments will wax and wane depending on business conditions (Did anyone see COVID coming as 2020 started?) and imperatives, but the increasingly strategic use of information—and developing it into business-critical knowledge and actionable insight—remains the central constant. The important thing is to manage data in increasingly strategic ways, turning it into information, knowledge and advantage...and action.
  • Data and analytics leaders must keep a finger on the pulse of the enterprise and adjust expectations accordingly.
  • Always encourage forward momentum. Organizations must continue to test their cultural dynamics for flexibility, but should be cautious of pushing too far, too fast—or risk dismantling hard-won gains.

It’s not always an orderly journey. So expect that.

By nature, I am a planner. When it comes to taking a vacation, I enjoy the planning as much (if not more) than the trip itself. I like to be prepared for the unanticipated, so I put in the time to do the research so that I have “alternatives” if something doesn’t go the way I expect.  

Transformation journeys are not like that. A command-and-control approach will only get you so far when you’re dealing with change, people, processes, the macro economy, etc. You need a healthy dose of sense-and-respond as you work your way through the process.  Someone recently described transformation journeys as messy—never a straight line from beginning to destination, taking two steps forward and one step back, balancing change and the impact on people and how they do their work. 

Keep in mind that transformation is yours to make.  

  • Seek out the business level benefits (first and foremost). Tying to business value is one key to success.
  • Change thinking to point to possibilities, not mechanics. 
  • Find your place on the path to data centricity- putting data and analytics at the center of your business.

Don’t wait. Start charting your journey now. Even if you just start the thought process and socialize the ideas, it’s a good time to think big and act bigger. And to learn how you can benefit from Oracle Analytics, visit Oracle.com/analytics, and follow us on Twitter @OracleAnalytics.

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