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Digital business starts with data and ends with people. The recipe: combine data from the entire physical world with the information generated by every human interaction, whisk lightly, and serve. The result: delighted consumers and profitable businesses, algorithmically delivered. If only it were so simple, so delicious…The destination is desirable for some but dangerous for others. Digital transformation will create innovative opportunities for new business and the welcome reinvention of old business ways. From finance to fashion, telecommunications to transport, businesses that embrace digital will thrive. Those that ignore this major shift or fail to adapt will wither and die. Prosper or perish. AI-enabled business promises neural network nirvana, whilst threatening digital dystopia. The journey is no less scary, edged on one side with insidious threats to existing IT systems, and exposed on the other to the wide, open uplands of artificially intelligent tools and cognitively enhanced actions. Miss the opportunities of AI and plunge to the depths of data-driven despair. What are girly swots to do for business success? How are spotty IT nerds to win fair maidens? The answer, as to all such existential questions, is to learn from the failures and build on the successes of the past, aptly adapted for the present, and carefully crafted for the future.
Old masterpieces, such as BI and DW, are the foundation for a digital business but only table stakes for survival. Data lakes, predictive analytics, social media, and the Internet of Things are but stepping stones to the digital future; as they stand, they won’t guarantee a thriving transformation. We need a new IT architecture that reintegrates all decision making and action taking across all the people, processes and information of the coming digital era. An architecture that incorporates all the technological advances in databases, NoSQL stores, data integration and delivery, as well as the old challenges of operational BI, spreadsheets, metadata, virtualisation, collaboration, and more. That provides a comprehensive structure for information and process integration—with speed and consistency—across the entire enterprise. Built on modern tools and techniques, from object stores to cognitive computing, from algorithms to neuroscience, from on-premises to hybrid cloud.
Building on thirty years of data warehousing experience and expanding from his comprehensive and well-respected “Business unIntelligence”architecture to include a host of emerging topics, from smart things to neural networks, Dr. Barry Devlin charts a creative but realistic path from data warehouses and lakes, BI and analytics, to show how to design and build a digital business from the existing systems running your enterprise today. With the clear and enormous impact of digital transformation, now is the time to start building the skills, organisation and infrastructure in architecture, technology and planning to build out your BI environment with AI and other emerging techniques to create a successful digital business.
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