If a CEO told her board she doesn’t know if the company made money last quarter because it’s just too difficult to reconcile disparate currencies and bank accounts and types of payments, that CEO would be tossed overboard instantly.
As the value of data soars in today’s digital economy, that same fate will soon await CEOs who fail to create and drive a data strategy harnessing all corporate data for analytics and widespread use with AI and machine learning.
Compounding this huge data-management challenge are three primary factors:
- The rapid advance of modern cloud technology, which creates still more potential islands of data;
- The surging volumes of data being created by customers, partners, IoT and more; and
- Escalating regulatory and legal requirements governing everything from data residency to privacy policies to cybersecurity standards.
These aren’t IT issues, or something the CIO—even a great one—can fix. Rather, these are top-priority business challenges, and they’re getting more severe and more intractable with each passing day. And the only way to solve them is with a comprehensive data-management strategy that touches every facet of a company’s operations and has the full and unwavering support of the CEO and the entire C-suite.
Without such an approach—what some are calling an “enterprise data cloud”—it will be impossible for businesses to:
- Deliver the superb customer experiences the marketplace now expects and demands;
- Move at the speed of customers and prospects with the help of advanced analytics;
- See over the horizon to where the world is headed, and arrive there before competitors;
- Infuse new products and services with the full range of intelligence customers require in this digital age;
- Create the data-driven and customer-centric cultures that are essential to attract and keep world-class talent; and
- Execute all of these mission-critical functions while also ensuring the highest level of cybersecurity and compliance for this enterprise data cloud.
Data has become the lifeblood of every organization’s future and its viability. And with consumers and business customers becoming more demanding and less loyal, businesses have to be able to exploit every possible advantage out of all their data, regardless of what division created it, what type of device it resides in, what format it’s in, and how old or new it is. Companies that attempt to compete in the digital age with data that’s fragmented, siloed, disconnected, and probably far less secure than it ought to be will become irrelevant—and then they’ll disappear.
That’s precisely why the modern CEO must confront this modern challenge directly and uncompromisingly with the entire C-suite.
Look at how Salesforce co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff recently described a new attitude among leading CEOs toward sophisticated enterprise technologies that leverage data to drive game-changing performance and growth in our fast-changing world:
“I’ve been really impressed with how every CEO and many C-suites I’m talking to are actually quite obsessed with digital transformation, and I think it’s because they all see the tremendous revenue-growth opportunities from these new technologies,” Benioff said during Salesforce’s quarterly earnings call in June.
“In the past, maybe they didn’t understand precisely what blockchain is, maybe they didn’t understand AI, maybe they didn’t understand some of the subtleties of mobility and all of the opportunity—but all of that has changed in the last 18 to 24 months.
“In fact, I think the best CEOs are becoming chief information officers or chief digital officers themselves,” Benioff said.
Business leaders must become masters of their own data by figuring out how to pull it all together from the escalating and dizzying array of private clouds, multiple public clouds, hybrid clouds, aging and often inflexible on-premises systems, and an increasingly complex set of regulatory, governance, and cybersecurity issues.
In the face of that bewildering array of issues, what’s the right play for CXOs looking to create data-driven companies that out-innovate their competitors, outgrow the market, and create elegant and personal customer experiences?
To answer that question, enterprise data cloud company Cloudera recently commissioned a research study from Harvard Business Review to explore just how close businesses are to achieving that lofty goal.
From their wide-ranging interviews with 185 business executives from a range of industries, Cloudera and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services will soon be releasing their vision of how modern businesses can not only survive, but thrive in today’s data-driven digital economy.
And CEOs who want their companies to be high-growth leaders in this new data-driven world will definitely want to take a look.
This article is brought to you by Cloudera.
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