Paul Lewis

Digital Transformation:  Enabling GROWTH by Governing Data

Blog Post created by Paul Lewis Employee on Nov 16, 2016



I’m so bored. 


This is a boring topic, with virtually no “curb appeal”.  Would anyone really click on the tweeted link or read this blog?  Really?  Governing Data?  Geez.


I toyed (intentional use of the verb to which we will get to later) with a variety of other titles:


  • Digital Transformation: This blog is actually quite interesting, click here now
  • Digital Transformation: Really, it’s not about Data Governance, please don’t go away
  • Digital Transformation: There is monster at the end of this blog




I was told that we can’t trick the readers. Pfft.  Let’s get into the meat before your attention moves to YouTube videos of dogs growling at innocent plastic bags.  Hilarious (I refuse to add the link for fear of you never coming back).


Let’s try and make it exciting, fascinating and totally interesting!  <<insert uplifting tone>>


Data governance is the foundation for a number of really exciting initiatives. Did you know that data governance can help fuel data analytics and business intelligence and therefore growth and competitiveness of your business? If you think about it, it makes complete sense. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. With proper data governance you can ensure the data going in is high quality, captured and tagged appropriately and therefore easier to find and use. Data governance can also speed and improve hybrid cloud adoption. Instead of haphazardly sending silos of data to the cloud, without truly understanding the value, threat of exposure or risk of non-compliance, what if you had it characterized ahead of time, and all funneled through a single lens? Your data, in your control, governed by you.


But first, let’s quickly recap some fundamental truths about your BUSINESS to set the stage:


  1. The main executive focus is GROWTH.  It always has been, and always will be.  Growth in revenue.  Growth in profit.  Growth in market share. Growth in dividends. Growth in geography.  Any and all growth.
  2. GROWTH has become significantly more difficult with these digital disruptors nipping at your heels.  They could be internet/mobile born companies competing in the same markets, creating more “choice” in the minds of your consumers or larger more complex digital trends like robotics, natural language processing, digital payments, etc.  All that organic growth?  Disrupters will continue to eat your lunch without business change.
  3. Competing against these disrupters requires a new business strategy: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
    1. Operations and Processes:  Ground up re-evaluation of the services you deliver to DRAMATICALLY change the time to market delivery of your products (from months to hours)
    2. Customer Experience: Purposely identifying and understanding new customer behaviors and buying expectations with a consumer mind of REPLACEABLILITY
    3. New Business models:  Shift from “sell product” to “sell service” to “sell usage” to “sell outcome” to “sell network”  (note: I will dive much deeper into this concept in the next blog)
  4. For the CIO and the technology leadership, your participation in the digital transformation is a shift from “blinking lights” to business agility; from RED/GREEN/YELLOW project pipelines to risk management; and shifting the ASSET of technology from application to data.  A new data strategy for digital transformation delivers that shift, providing for capabilities such as:
    1. Data Management: Abstraction, Access and Automation
    2. Data Mobility:  Accessing data for new business purposes
    3. Data Analytics:  Deriving business insight from data and algorithms
    4. And of course Data Governance: Compliance, Protection and Security




Now let’s double-click specifically on Data Governance (you know, since you are here):


Data is the foundation of Digital Transformation. Governing data is the foundation of your data strategy.


As you shift your PRIMARY IT asset from applications to data, it must be governed the same way you would other critical assets:

  • Starting with your org chart, creating a peer to the VP of Application Development and VP of Infrastructure (maybe VP of Data) will immediately elevate the purpose and value of this “new found” asset
  • Create a data organization that encompasses all the operational capabilities of data, and the new value capabilities like Enterprise Information Management
  • Since your data is onsite, in the cloud, on the edge, and mobilized, the new data organization must have the access and authority to:
    • design and deploy granular policies to ensure legal, regulatory and contractual compliance
    • implement holistic data protection to ensure business continuity
    • and manage data encryption and access across your entire data set
  • Evolve IT from being an application provider to a data broker and strike the right balance between the level of data independence and control to meet the demands of the end-users without compromising business requirements


More granularly, data is classified as either structured or unstructured where:

  • Structured data is typically associated with critical or transactional applications that result in high rates of change and higher levels of importance to the organization
  • Unstructured data is typically – everything else.  Generally this is user-created data, machine-to-machine communications, rich media files, etc. and unlike structured data, these may be located within the datacenter or dispersed to remote locations such as remote offices, branch offices, laptops, tablets, phones, etc.


Regardless of the data types, the first step in governing data effectively is to determine its value to the business.  Typically structured data is deemed critical for the survival of the business and is protected by service level agreements to ensure the data and applications are constantly protected from data hardware or site loss. For unstructured and data on the edge, similar policies are required to manage protection, accessibility, and to determine just how mobile the data should be.  This is the crucial second step in governing data effectively – modernizing IT fosters a centralized digital data governance to ensure that policies are designed and applied for how your data is protected, retained and accessed, regardless of type, location, active or in-active.  A centralized digital data governance also benefits the business by breaking down risky data silos thereby enabling more successful efforts to discover new business opportunities.




So let’s make this real with a REAL BUSINESS EXAMPLE:


When it comes to transforming how users interact with corporate data, Spinmaster isn’t toying around. The have scrapped their legacy data architectures and replaced them with a modernized file services environment that transformed how they search, access, audit, and recover their data. For those not familiar with Spinmaster, if you have, or know anyone who has kids; you’ll be familiar with a variety of their brands:




As part of a global market projected to exceed US$135 billion by 2020 (, Spinmaster is growing not just their traditional and interactive toys, but also moving significantly into the animation and media space.  Facing fierce competition from the likes of Lego, Hasbro, Mattel and others AND more importantly the daily mindshare of children (from Toys to Netflix to YouTube to Online Game to Console); rapid collaboration and product delivery as well content control and efficient protection of their intellectual property is paramount to their success.  Business GROWTH is paramount to compete. 


Pravine Balkaran, Spinmaster’s Global Head of Technology, was able to tackle GROWTH with data governance by investing in the Hitachi Content Platform portfolio to provide Mode 2 type file services that reduced costs, improved data access and collaboration, simplified e-discovery and gave them back control over their intellectual property.


  • - Here are a few key results of Spinmaster’s data governance initiative:
    • Strategic cost avoidance on backup and e-discovery
    • Layed  the foundation for removing the current unsecure document sharing solution by using HCP Anywhere and removing shadow IT
    • Elevated retail satisfaction by reducing non-compliant deliveries, which are air freight charges associated with making potential non-compliant deliveries compliant
    • Improved time-to-market for deliveries and for innovations which increased overall organizational agility


  • - From a data perspective, the most important benefits of Spinmaster’s data governance solution was searchability, auditability, and recoverability capabilities.
    • Searchability: Spinmaster had hundreds separate email accounts to scour during a single Litigation-Hold event (legal action to protect their vast store of intellectual property). This equates to thousands of hours and several IT resources of work for every single request.  This savings does not even include the financial cost of legal expenses or the delay of a needed outcome (restraining order, damages assessment, etc.), that happens when a process can take weeks to finish.
    • Auditability:  Spinmaster can now track who viewed, modified, or changed any and all files, and track all transmissions of files within and outside the company. For a creative company that relies on privacy of intellectual property, this type of reporting is critical to their livelihood.
    • Recoverability: Since they now have a solution that is WORM compliant (all successive changes are saved as new versions and nothing is ever deleted), it allows for full recoverability. If a critical legal document was missing, the result could be damages of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Of course, choosing tools and platforms for data governance requires research and investigation from sources such as Gartner and IDC where HDS bodes well.  It is even more critical to research real life customer adoption and satisfaction with these solutions. With a positive track record in the market, tried and true expertise in data and over 1,700 customers, across every geography and a wide range of verticals and spanning all use cases from archive to cloud storage, it should come by no surprise that Hitachi Content Platform is the top choice of organizations with some of the most stringent security and compliance needs. In fact, 4 out of 5 of the largest banks in the world use HCP.


To save some research time for you, here are a few customer case studies highlighting Hitachi Content Platform as the center of their data governance strategy:



There.  That wasn’t so bad was it?  Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.