Great concepts from Jesper Schleimann, CTO
The mission-critical need for digital innovation accentuates a management headache caused by too little time and too few resources to unlock the value in your data. The long-term cure for that pain is the category of translytical platforms. Based on “first-principle thinking,” a translytical platform combines transaction and analytics in one place. The key is that one, and only one, original piece of data is needed.
By combining the words “transaction” and “analytics” to the new category of “translytical,” the consultancy Forrester has made a substantial (if not a bit cryptic) contribution to the vocabulary in the world of enterprise architecture and databases. A translytical platform is a single platform that supports transactions and analytics in real time without sacrificing transactional integrity, performance, and scale.
I believe it is also the ultimate painkiller for a string of related sore spots in established companies that struggle to find their way in the era of digital transformation. The reason for this is the first-principle thinking of drilling down to the key ingredient – the only everlasting and necessary component: data!
It’s a fact that business development is data-driven. The key for reinventing your business model or business processes is agile data access, and most companies recognise the growing need for innovation as a differentiator and as a lifebelt in stormy waters with breaking, disruptive waves. Meanwhile, many companies fight on a daily basis to keep the lights on in their current business, using 80% or more of digital competency.
The innovation challenge is acknowledged by most top management teams as a question of mindset and resources. Companies want to build new “speedboats” where innovative concepts are developed and tested, and which ultimately set the course for the big “aircraft carrier” of the day-to-day business. But if nearly all digital resources are consumed by operational IT, you see too few innovative concepts leaving the pier. This is a C-level headache in today’s businesses that a translytical platform can alleviate.
If you reduce IT environments to their very core, you end up with data. Data is everything, and the platform should be reimagined to fit this basic element – this atom – in our digital structure and make it easily available. The platform should hold one and only one version of the data component. This original piece of data should be used for every purpose you may have: operational, transactional, reporting, analytics, innovation, partnering, and more, all in real-time with no room for discussion or delay. This, in my opinion, is the very essence of the translytical platform.
Conceptually, you can overcome a lot of obstacles. There’s no distinction between data serving operational IT systems like CRM, ERP, and logistics on the one hand, and consolidation, reporting, analytics, and innovation on the other. There’s no need to build data warehouses, data marts, data islands, and data silos. The platform reduces or eliminates different data types, formats, databases, and applications with special needs. Much of the logic and functionality is one and the same, and it comes embedded on the translytical platform. This is a huge simplification for the business, and it frees resources for digital innovation.
You still need data for innovation, experiments, and development. Instead of physical “sandboxes,” you mirror the data on the platform for innovative purposes. This digital twin at the data level gives developers updated data to work with. The platform eliminates the idea of data in different versions as a thing of the past. As soon as a transaction is processed, it is ready for analysis. With the rollout of new applications on a translytical platform, they will have a “born integrated” feature, as it is developed in the same core as your running systems. This will reshape thinking and paradigms for the development cycle and relieve the pain of slowness, which is inherent in many current spaghetti-inspired IT landscapes.
The translytical platform is a powerful pill for a series of pains many organisations face. Taking it will probably be much easier with powerful allies at the C-level. And as the translytical platform will be a strong enabler for transparency, it should not be difficult to find advocates at the very top of the company. Governance, risk, compliance, and innovation are keywords in the boardroom, and the translytically inspired enterprise architect may very well be the hero by addressing these issues with a data-centric approach offered by the translytical platform.
Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 18 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.