Data continuity for faster decision making and agility

Speed, time-to-market, fast response and agility are becoming increasingly important in fast changing and competitive markets. In such environment, value or benefits decrease rapidly in time. Conversely, being fast, reactive and agile enables reaping the most of the value.  Brick-and-mortar companies going click-and-mortar or the digital transformation way have to get rid of the inherited handicaps of their silos and latencies. One prerequisite to overcome these is to ensure data continuity end-to-end.

Value decay over time

As in many competitive markets customers are awaiting instant (understand very quick) response, the value of a response to a request is decreasing rapidly in time. This is because the fastest respondent with an appropriate and acceptable response is very likely to reap all the benefits and the slower competitors may simply come too late, when the deal is done and no opportunity is left.One of the Critical Success Factors is to enable the organization to react fast and get timely closer to the triggering event, in other words move up the value curve. The delay between the triggering event and the action taken is also referred to as “action distance”.

Note that top performers are more likely to get the deal but are also able to charge a premium fee when speed really matters.

Silos and latencies

The traditional workflow starting from a triggering event until the response takes effect is slowed down by the various steps’ intrinsic durations and the latencies between them. Brick-and-mortar companies, with their old inherited organisations and cultures are often handicapped in this respect. They are usually still organized in silos with information and decisions being passed between departments, with many hands offs.

Latency is the delay before something happens. When the triggering event happens, there is a first latency of noticing the event, then the latency of understanding and getting insight about the request or problem. When some analysis is required, all information may not be instantly available, adding latency before analysis.

Once the analysis is completed, a decision is to be taken and until the solution or countermeasure is approved, there is a decision latency. And once decision is taken, actions need to be carried out but may not start instantly, adding action latency. Finally, for the action “reaching its destination” or taking effect, there is a potential action-to-effect latency.

Lacking data continuity

Different departments may use different IT systems and/or have no access to data which is “owned” by neighbouring department. This adds delay to the intrinsic tasks durations and latencies. In order to reduce the ‘data latencies’ and the hand off trouble, all required relevant information have to be available by opening the isolated data silos and insuring integrated end-to-end data processing.

Data continuity is therefore crucial in order to improve agility and responsiveness. It is a prerequisite for reducing latencies but also to enable technological solutions to operate, like real-time capability or automated decision making. That’s the reason why data continuity is one of the digital transformation readiness assessment items.

About the author, Chris HOHMANN

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