A Data Visionary enables businesses to:
- Accelerate top-line growth.
- Drive operational efficiency to the bottom line.
- Position themselves for future thriving and success.
As Vice President of Engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS) in Palo Alto, California, John Woodall is proud to describe himself a Data Visionary. In today’s data-driven world, that’s an integral role for companies who want to grow their business.
Woodall noted that today’s Data Visionaries have something in common with Michelangelo. “He saw David encased in a block of marble and knew how to get him out of it,” Woodall said.
1. Data Visionaries Define Business Challenges First
No matter the technology, every business must be financially responsible, deliver value to its shareholders (if they're public), and ultimately provide real-world solutions for their customers.
Woodwall says that’s why Data Visionaries are experts in making sure business needs and technology work together seamlessly. Not matter what the technology, businesses still have to be profitable.
"What we want to do is help customers bridge their particular gap from where they are today to a new way of doing things without breaking the things that they already have built their businesses on," John noted.
2. Data Visionaries Maximize the Benefits of Legacy Applications
Most businesses face two challenges in becoming part of the digital economy.
First, they can't afford to break the legacy applications that they've built their businesses on.
Second, they’re facing tremendous pressure to quickly pivot into new ways of monetizing and growing their business more rapidly.
To take advantage of the tools, techniques, and cloud-based architectures of the future, companies must ensure their legacy applications are compatible.
“A digital-transformation partner has the ability to help them look back at the legacy that has gotten them the success that they enjoy to date, but then pivot and help them look forward,” John said.
3. Data Visionaries Are Enablers of the Hybrid Cloud
Once a company decides on which business problem they’re trying to solve, the next step is to zero in on the best technological fit. Hybrid cloud allows a data-driven organization to retain the most control, the highest degree of agility, and the best cost control of their data.
John said companies considering a Hybrid Cloud solution should ask these three questions before doing anything else:
- How do I leverage my data?
- Do I want my data on prem ?
- Am I comfortable moving it to the cloud?
“Ultimately, I think you end up in a hybrid-cloud model,” Woodall says. “The ability to turn that particular cost control and agility know-how is essential and foundational to a hybrid model.”
John added that if you're not centralizing your strategy around open-source tools in this economy, you risk being left behind.
If your company does wind up selecting the Hybrid Cloud model, check out Open Source first. That’s because the pace and rate of innovation in the open-source community outstrips other sources of innovation most of the time.
4. Data Visionaries Know How to Use Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is probably one of the hottest areas that we see right now.
Data Visionaries have a plan to understand the operational data they’re collecting.
They also know the best ways to ask the right questions of the data.
Finally, they can advise a company on whether to hire a data scientist.
John said it all comes down to whether a company understands its data.
5. Data Visionaries Get an A in Analytics
John says analytics is the foundation to a good AI program. That’s because when you’re teaching a machine to think, you want to use very simple cases.
The relationship between data management and analytics or artificial intelligence is -- really, it's a foundation.
You have to have a consistent way to manage your data in an analytics context because you will most likely use the data or results of the same data across multiple AI or analytics platforms.
John Woodall is the Vice President of Engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS) in Palo Alto, California. He leads the engineering product strategy, portfolio, and technical direction for IAS, helping customers design new and innovative solutions for cloud and on-premises IT.
John is a rock and roll fanatic, and can often be seen banging his head with the best of them. His favorites include The Who and U2.