We are living in an increasingly complex and competitive world. The challenges that complexity poses are daunting for most organisations, yet this complexity and continual change brings forth opportunities to be exploited. The firms who are innovative and who understand and recognise their distinctive capabilities are the firms that are most likely to win. Embracing new ways of thinking is no more path breaking; it is a simple necessity. Success is an outcome of a firm noticing its competitive advantage and relating it to the market it operates in. Competitive advantage is an outcome of the firm building on its distinctive capabilities. In the modern context of continual change and complexity, building on distinctive capabilities is a continual process. Change never sleeps. Technology is an enabler for the business; it can strengthen or even transform a firm’s capabilities, drive down costs, create operational efficiencies, help raise productivity, improve information flows. Accurate and timely information can make a critical difference to the business in its ongoing battles to build and gain competitive advantage. Therein lies the key, the validity of strategic business decisions relies on the accuracy and timely availability of information.
While information is stored and available within operational systems, these are designed to support a defined set of functions. Data is defined and stored in a way that fits the functions of the system, with semantics that are meaningful only to those familiar with the internals of the system. Data in an enterprise is fragmented, difficult to interpret correctly by a business user and its often quite challenging to establish linkages. Increased complexity. This was the reason why business intelligence and data warehouses emerged.
The gathering of all of the data never really happens as it is far too costly, is IT led rather than business led, and not agile enough to handle the sheer scale and variety of data that is needed today.