Earlier this month David Goulden wrote about pushing information technology beyond yesterday's function. One of the key points that he made was that traditional IT systems function as a system of record. Much of the record keeping in a system of record is a function of company size (how many employees worked for the company), product portfolio (how many products are being sold), and sales engagements (how many customers are involved in potential or actual sales orders). Therefore the amount of data managed in a system or record grows fairly predictably, and business intelligence algorithms explore this data with relative ease.
The article proceeds to point out that those corporations that have built a system of record are being continually and increasingly disrupted by new companies that have built a system of engagement. A system of engagement interacts with external endpoints that generate orders of magnitude more data. This type of system is characterized, for example, by the following:
- 100% reliance on cloud-ready infrastructure
- Continuous application delivery onto that infrastructure.
- Data privacy built into the solution.
- Delivery of security is evolutionary and agile.
- Data storage is scalable based on the number of external people and things
- User experience and interaction with people and things is natural and seamless
David's main point is that the successful transition between a system of record to a system of engagement is a spectrum; some companies are further down the path to a system of engagement than others. The survey conducted by Dell Technologies is summarized below.
When surveyed companies were asked to name their top priority IT investments over the next few years, the following answers surfaced:
- Converged Infrastructure
- Ultra-high performance compute
- Analytics, big data, and data processing
- Internet of Things technologies
- Next generation mobile applications
The area in which I have been most interested in the last few years has been analytics, big data, and data processing (#3 on the list above) in terms of the critical importance of understanding the value of data. In my opinion, building a successful system of engagement means that corporate data assets are actually measured, managed, and monitored as capital assets. Later this week I will be attending the Evanta Global CIO Executive Summit. During my keynote (Data's Economic Value in the Age of Digital Business) I will summarize several years worth of data value research and recommend a best-practice approach for building a system of engagement that treats data as a capital asset.
But more importantly, building an end-to-end system of engagement requires integrating technologies that address endpoint devices, data-savvy cloud infrastructures, and everything in between. I will continue to explore the importance of managing data assets in a system of engagement in future posts.
Fellow, Dell Technologies