What runs the modern enterprise?
“It’s not what you know. It’s what you do with what you know.”
So says Daniel Newman in a January 2017 Forbes article. This pretty well sums up the quest for the modern enterprise to use all the data available to drive increased productivity, reduced costs, business innovation, and personalized customer experiences.
Businesses that do invest in developing big data capabilities are finally starting to see results. In fact, Randy Bean at Harvard Business Review reports that, for the first time since he began surveying Fortune 1000 companies in 2012, almost half now say their businesses are “achieving measurable results from their big data investments.” Where are they finding value in big data?
To capitalize on big data, businesses can’t take their time analyzing it; they can’t bring in consultants or experts, run reports, consolidate the data for six to nine months, and then make a business decision. The business will die. To keep the business not just alive, but growing, it’s imperative to make decisions in real time.
Doing this requires three components, or pillars: data, users, and applications.
The first of these three components is data, and this is the foundation of the other two.
Data is produced by activity. Every time an employee or a customer completes some activity, there’s the potential to collect information about that activity. If that data is collected, it can be used to mitigate risk, modify and improve business processes, respond to customers faster, or create new products and services to meet a need.
With the growing use of the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and more, the collection of data creates more data. In a recent Network World article, Ash Ashutosh expanded on this idea:
“…there is a constant iterative process of data creation, processing, analysis and sharing/selling. Data created by an IoT sensor or social media app has little value at the time of creation. The value increases exponentially when it is then used to develop applications, further analyzed for targeted outcomes, and sold to consumers or other vendors. Even the database in an Oracle Exadata appliance becomes more business critical as hundreds of developers and data scientists need to access and analyze the data.”
That brings us to the second pillar: users. When it comes to data, the most important information businesses want is customer insights. They want to know as much as they can so that they can develop targeted products, services, solutions, and experiences. It doesn’t matter whether the customer is a consumer, a business, or an internal stakeholder—that is, an employee.
Customers of every kind now expect a highly responsive experience. When they are looking for a product or service, searching for information, or completing a transaction, they expect a real-time experience. And businesses are meeting this demand by creating more responsive apps—the third key pillar for the modern enterprise.
The apps are the interface between the data and users. In the modern mobile world, businesses need to interface with customers with any device, through any type of app. These applications—like IoT sensors or mobile apps—are the conduit for gathering data and processing it to deliver what the user wants and needs.
We now have the three pillars: We have the users who are creating activity. That activity creates data. That data is then transferred by an application to systems that can process it in real time and respond to the user, again via the app. So how does a business make it all work together? It’s all about the infrastructure.
In the late 20th century, data was siloed. Finance wanted to report numbers. Manufacturing wanted to improve a process. Sales was looking for insights to drive opportunities. Marketing began to use data to measure its influence on the bottom line. But businesses can’t afford to assemble disparate systems and then take months to launch a new application or analytics service.
Businesses run on information—data—and most of it lives in databases that power business growth. But how can businesses make sure they, as well as customers, are getting the most from these insights?
Every function in the enterprise today must be able to access data, and process that data from a single platform. Systems need to converge—and that has created problems for companies. Many enterprises still have legacy or multi-vendor architectures. The typical approach to building a database infrastructure to manage data is to use the same generic servers and storage as elsewhere in the data center—but databases are not generic workloads. Generic infrastructure can create problems that delay application deployment and query response times, affecting business and revenue growth.
Oracle helps companies overcome this challenge by offering cloud-ready engineered systems which are uniquely optimized for Oracle software, enabling enterprises to streamline and modernize their infrastructure. And only Oracle provides a single architecture with three consumption models: on premises, public cloud, or public cloud behind your firewall enabling you to deliver superior results today, with cloud insurance for the future to deal with structured and unstructured data. What Oracle offers is essentially an infrastructure version of the smartphone. With your phone, you turn it on, and it works; all the apps are there. You can download what you want. You don’t have to worry about configuring anything or setting up any hardware. Everything is optimized to run on the OS, and run the apps.
The infrastructure we’re bringing is purpose-built to run the Oracle database and applications. If you’re going to run the Oracle database, take the infrastructure that’s been optimized and co-engineered with the Oracle database and applications. Software is integrated under the hardware specifically for the Oracle database and applications, and that’s what we’re bringing with the cloud-ready engineered systems that Oracle delivers. And if you want to move to the cloud, all you have to do is say, “Okay. Move my database to the cloud.”
Caixa Bank is a shining example of how business can optimize its investment in big data. As Spain’s largest domestic bank, serving 14 million customers, Caixa was looking for new models to serve a changing market, including the millennial customers who expect to conduct business digitally. Using the Oracle Big Data solution that includes Exadata, Big Data Appliance, and Exalytics, Caixa can load the data into the environment best suited for the type of data or the way it’s received, and use that data to develop applications independently, no matter where the data is located.
Responding to the demanding financial business environment, Caixa is capturing data in real time from its customers. It’s now able to take big data and apply it to every department of the bank. For example, it uses the data to provide personalized offers to individual customers, and to create predictive models that improve risk management. Watch their story here:
Cloud-ready engineered systems help bring together data, users, and apps—the three key pillars of the modern enterprise. They simplify and modernize the enterprise, unleashing the power of data to make better business decisions, deliver a better customer experience, and adapt to a fast-moving business environment. I believe we’re helping businesses become the agile organizations that will survive and win.
To learn more about how your company can flourish in the Data Capital Economy, read the MIT and Oracle collaboration on the Rise of Data Capital.