One of the more profound aspects of digital business transformation that many Digital CxOs fail to appreciate is the degree to which modern processes need to be able to process and analyze data in near real-time at the network edge.
Most existing enterprise applications are batch-oriented; as data is collected, it is sent as part of a batch to process overnight. This is the primary reason so many legacy applications are not synchronized with one another. Arguably, the best example of this is an inventory application that shows a product is available only to discover the last one available was actually sold several hours previously.
While there are many degrees of digital business transformation, most organizations are moving toward applications capable of processing and analyzing data in a way that provides a superior customer experience. Most customers don’t appreciate being informed by an application that the status of an order is one thing today only to be told something different tomorrow.
Moving beyond legacy batch-oriented applications, however, requires a lot of time, money and effort that is not likely to be accomplished overnight. The first step toward achieving that goal is the instrumentation of the point of engagement with the end customer. IT teams need to be able to deploy some mechanism for not just capturing data but also analyzing it as it streams throughout the rest of the enterprise.
In fact, organizations need to borrow a page from the approach to IT employed by Formula 1 racing teams. The typical F1 racing team collects massive amounts of data from thousands of sensors, which is analyzed before, during and after the race to drive one final ounce of additional performance. Aston Martin CIO Bill Peters notes that data is used to drive numerous things, from trackside analytics applications to digital twins that mimic a race car’s behavior as track conditions change.
The Aston Martin Cognizant racing team gets a lot of help from the IT services firm that co-owns the car. The collaboration shows how different IT teams can work together at the highest levels to leverage not just instrumentation but also data science and other forms of advanced analytics to drive a particular outcome, according to Cognizant Chief Marketing Officer Gaurav Chand.
The F1 racing team put together by Aston Martin and Cognizant has a long way to go as it races to catch up to rivals including Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari. Much like many other organizations that are competing against well-entrenched incumbents, making the right strategic IT investments is only the first step. Every organization needs to invest in IT these days just to remain competitive; otherwise, the gap that exists between them and their rivals will only widen.
That can be a bitter pill for many digital CxOs to swallow, but the alternative these days is nothing less than remaining at the back of the pack and falling behind at each turn in the road.