We now know traditional business models are relics of the past. The convergence of cloud, mobile and social technology, and associated data produced, has ushered in a new wave of digital business. Companies like Uber, AirBnB and Alibaba represent the most valuable companies in their industries without producing physical goods or services. Correspondingly, organizations are being forced to reinvent how they conduct business, both within the enterprise and externally with customers and partners.

For organizations born in the digital present, this task often boils down to adopting the latest technology. For organizations that are not native to the digital era, legacy IT infrastructure -- designed for an era of organizational silos -- is often the norm.

Yet, legacy systems are not equipped to deal with the tide of data created by new digital avenues, integrations and connected “things”. While 74 percent of today’s business executives say their company has a digital strategy, only 19 percent of executives believe their firms have the right technology to properly execute on the digital strategy, according to a recent Forrester Research report. Organizations are being forced to see that the next logical step is to start utilizing technology not just as a way to improve their own internal processes, but also as a driving force for how they grow and embrace this new era of digital business.

So where do they start? More specifically, how does IT manage the transition from traditional, siloed enterprise architecture that previously focused on protecting the four walls of the enterprise to an agile, collaborate, data-driven environment?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that such a transformation is exactly that – a transformation. It isn’t merely offering a new application or website, but rather, requires a complete shift in thinking.

While this organizational change can be daunting, what doesn’t change is the need for data governance. By beginning with a robust data governance initiative, businesses can help power the agility needed to ensure successful digital transformation. The key elements involved in such an initiative include:

  • APIs: The use of APIs is vital in the digital economy, both internally, for the consumption of cloud services, mobile and enterprise applications and externally, for the exposure of services and creation of new channels for growth.
  • Comprehensive Compliance: Securing and managing file transfers to ensure regulatory compliance and meet Service Level Agreements within and beyond the enterprise firewall is growing more difficult with varied file sources, sizes and destinations. A comprehensive managed file transfer solution works with existing IT infrastructure to provide off-the-shelf integration with common middleware platforms and security products. Additionally, organizations, despite an influx of data, still need to comply with vertical regulations such as HIPAA and FATCA. They should look to MFT solutions that provide end-to-end visibility and monitoring of file transfers.
  • Expanded Community Management: Digital business initiatives frequently require greater partner involvement and global interactions. An updated B2B infrastructure can improve efficiency and business performance with a comprehensive view into B2B processes across the lifecycle of transactions.
  • Enhanced Visibility: The prevalence of data throughout the enterprise offers an opportunity for organizations to gain real-time visibility into operations. Tracking, monitoring, measuring and analyzing that data in real time can help a business become more efficient and uncover opportunities to improve business processes.

With the ability to integrate, secure, manage and measure all data flows, organizations can drive digital business interactions both within the enterprise and also externally to an evolving ecosystem of customers and partners. Doing so can help embrace agility by moving away from old, inflexible middleware technology to more responsive architectures designed to easily connect to a variety of applications.
Additionally, it is vital that IT gains complete visibility into its data flows to ensure comprehensive governance, security and privacy. As the use of digital technologies drives a more open environment, the exposure to governance and security issues increases. By maintaining complete control over digital data, organizations can safely leverage that data in new ways, from understanding how to optimize business operations to gaining new insight into customer interactions.

The average consumer today is savvier, more informed and more demanding than ever. With modern digital avenues such as online commerce and social media applications, consumers have gained the ability to engage with businesses through a variety of ways and on their own terms. By implementing a comprehensive data governance strategy, organizations can enable digital business to meet customer expectations, behaviors and preferences, and ultimately capitalize on new opportunities for growth.

Implementing robust data governance help your organization succeed -- not just today, but in the long run. 

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