When I joined the IT industry 20 years ago, the theme ‘du jour’ was the People-Process-Technology triangle. It’s a powerful concept that enables organisations to assess and improve their operational efficiency and capability. But the triangle was a child of 90’s and at the dawn of the Information Age. Twenty years on we are in a new digital age, where existing industries are being transformed overnight through revolutionary business models, such as cloud sync and share and mobile-enabled services. To reflect this new reality, the triangle needs to be updated to a square in order to include the currency of our age: data.
Regardless of sector, data underpins the business strategy set by an organisation’s leadership team. It informs and affects day-to-day operations and enables – even demands – rapid decisions to reflect changes to external factors, be that consumer buying patterns, competitive pressure, or the legislative or regulatory environment. Data provides evidence of what is and is not going well so that management can make informed decision.
And as with any currency, data is only as good as its relative value . A large proportion of an organisation’s data isn’t valuable at all, but lots of the data an organisation holds is critical for future success. Regulated data, such as technical data defined under the terms of the U.S. export control regulations, or personally identifiable information (PII) derives its value from external parties, such as the regulator (with their ability to issue punitive fines) or by criminals (who use the information for fraud). Intellectual property (IP), such as contracts, price books, and product designs have their value determined by the business. If this data is compromised, it can cause strategic harm and potential revenue loss.
Understanding the value of your data, who owns it, where it resides and how it can be leveraged and secured will make your organisation more efficient, more agile and ultimately more successful. It’s now time for the people-process-technology triangle to square up with data. Only when all four work together can organisations respond to the challenges of this new digital age.