The Digital Economy: Driven by Data

By Kriti Adlakha posted 02-28-2020 13:19


Today, the IT organization is at the center of a great data and workload shift. We are now in an era where the technologies and the processes that businesses deploy are so tightly linked to their customers and markets that the boundary between the enterprise's internal operations and the enterprise's external ecosystem  is rapidly disappearing. This shift will be transformative in every way by changing how organizations connect with customers, develop new revenue sources, and improve operational efficiency.

We are in the digital economy.

In the digital economy, data drives those organizations that are digitally transformed. Central to this is the concept of intelligent data operations — or DataOps — is a central concept of digital transformation.  With artificial intelligence, DataOps is the foundation for enterprise data management. Seamlessly connecting data consumers with data creators to rapidly find and use all the value in an organization's data is key to DataOps, which makes DataOps itself more like a methodology rather than a product or a service.  As a methodology, the effective implementation of DataOps requires both technological and cultural change. Yet the effort is worth it, as the result of DataOps is improved use of data through better data quality, shorter cycle time for data use, and superior data management.

For their part, CIOs have a monumental task – they need to transform the culture of the IT team in the next two years. This cultural transformation involves a shift away from acquiring, managing and supporting technology within corporate datacenters. Instead, CIOs must engender their IT departments to deliver a diverse and ever-evolving portfolio of cloud- and edge-based resources -- resources that underlay an organization's modern digital services, and thus will enable the organization to thrive in the digital economy.

Becoming a digital leader requires organizations to establish a multiyear, multi-horizon, and integrated process for digital innovation and transformation investment planning. Understanding the success factors for executing the digital innovation agenda are crucial and include a revamped infrastructure, new approaches to developing digital apps and services, extensive use of intelligence, a commitment to ensuring trust,  and a massive expansion of digital supply and distribution ecosystems. Throughout, there's a need to visualize and create new multi-industry solutions, so organizations must also expand their digital imaginations.

Those organizations that will emerge as leaders in the digital economy share several characteristics.  They understand the principle that data is inherently valuable and have a long-term investment strategy accordingly. They adopt a single enterprise strategy from cloud to core to edge around which the entire organization rallies around,  instead of trying to coordinate multiple distinct strategies rooted in various lines of business and functional areas. They leverage a single digital operational platform to scale innovations across the organization for DevOps, DataOps and DevSecOps. And they are resolute and committed to making the required organizational and cultural changes by embedding digital throughout the organization.

The cloud figures prominently in the digital economy. Many critical cloud-native applications and data sets will reside and be used in critical edge locations as well as colocation and cloud datacenters operated by large providers. This agile, multiple cloud-based foundation makes it practical for organizations to use their data to drive business innovation and competitive advantage. The next two years will mark a milestone as organizations shift towards a cloud-based IT operating model.

A successful shift to a digital business model requires well planned and orchestrated implementation of existing and new services. Many organizations lack the expertise and resources to execute complex applications migrations, updates and launches with the speed and consistency that are necessary for a sustainable and scalable digital services model. Automation can serve as the accelerator, and infusing AI-enhanced automation into integration and testing processes will be key to overcome implementation skill gaps and speed time to market for new products and services.

The CIO role itself must transform. In the digital economy, the Chief Information Officer must become the Chief Innovation Officer.  As such, CIOs must keep change-driven objectives in mind and focus their time, their resources, and their teams on two strategic priorities in the next several years: shifting workloads and shifting operational priorities.





For more on cloud transformation, see the IDC iView sponsored by Hitachi Vantara at





As Vice President, Datacenter & Cloud, Richard Villars is a senior member of IDC's IT Infrastructure research team, which assesses the development and adoption of solutions for datacenter transformation and exploitation of rapidly evolving technologies in the areas of Big Data and Cloud. He develops IDC's viewpoints on the evolution of converged IT infrastructure as well as the adoption of public and private cloud solutions. He advises clients on the impact of open systems, software and network efforts on organizations' infrastructure, deployment, procurement, and management practices.