Demystifying Big Data and digital transformation

Port of Spain, Trinidad, November 27, 2017


“In the 20th century, oil was the main driver of economies.  Today, data is one of the main drivers and is becoming a component on par with labour and capital when it comes to business decision-making.  Big data is the gap that exists between the exponential growth of data and the linear growth in our ability to analyze this.  As the data explosion continues to expand, harmonizing this big data is becoming critical to ensure we have the right data at the right time so users can benefit from accessing the data.”  said Dr. Ronald Walcott, TSTT’s Chief Executive Officer as he delivered the keynote presentation on Day 1 of the 2017 Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s (CTO) Human Resources and ICT Forum.  The annual 2-day Forum was hosted by TSTT at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre on November 14th and 15th and was attended by over 51 delegates from 18 countries around the world.

Stating that data is only useful if it is relevant and accurate, Dr. Walcott explained that the proliferation of applications and data repositories leads to inconsistency in key data and out-of-sync, incomplete and inaccurate data.  The process of data harmonization takes data from disparate sources, clears away any misleading or inaccurate items and presents a clear and complete picture for decision making.  To fully enjoy the benefits of big data, applications and their data must therefore be harmonized at a fast pace to keep up with rapid changes in business decisions and complex interactions.

Dr. Walcott clarified, “Fast flowing data is data that is transmitted on a real time basis and actively changes. The ability of your data applications and data systems to ingest this fast flowing data and provide it to consumers in a user friendly and impacting manner is critical.”  Dr. Walcott noted that there are 5 general benefits to a company from harmonized, fast flowing data: business intelligence that allows it to lower its costs; real-time KPI’s that facilitate increased agility in business operations; the ability to instantly respond to customers’ needs externally and internally; users become more self-sufficient; and improved product launches. “Good examples are Social Media feeds; number of likes to a post or re-tweets; stock prices during trading; traffic applications such as Waze or Google Maps; weather information; smart homes; smart cities; and smart cars.”

Pamela Seyler, Director of Business Development at SAP Latin America, a market leader in enterprise application software, also presented and noted that digitization is changing the world at an incredible speed and as the world continues to change, so too will business challenges and opportunities.  She challenged the attendees to redefine how executives make business decisions that impact their ability to grow and lead in the digital economy.  “This networked economy is creating new opportunities for business that touch every aspect of the value chain including customers, suppliers, employees, and resources.  However, ensuring that customers and employees have access to relevant and actionable insights is critical.  This requires businesses to remove complexity wherever possible.  Failure to do so will lead to lost sales, reduced profits, customer dissatisfaction and even talent retention challenges.”

Seyler continued, “In the next 10 years, 40% of the S&P 500 will no longer exist if they do not keep up with these technology trends.  However, early adopters are winning.   Research shows that companies who have embraced the digital world and execute on their digital strategy are seeing real shareholder and stakeholder value.”  According to a MIT/HBR Digital Change Survey: 78% of business leaders said that achieving digital transformation will become critical to their organizations within the next two years; 38% of business leaders said that digital transformation was a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda; 93% of employees feel that a CEO’s shared vision for digital transformation is the right thing for the organization; and 36% of CEOs have shared a digital transformation vision.

Referring to the global trend of digital transformation, Dr. Walcott shared that TSTT has been focused on transforming itself from a legacy traditional telecom to an agile broadband communications company.  “The way we do anything now is vastly different from 5 years ago.   We, at TSTT, saw the shift in the way data is being used and leveraged, and we had to transform ourselves to be able to facilitate all of this.”

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