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6 principles for digitalising your Core Business, and keeping it...

Jan Eivind Danielsen 
5. sep. 2017

Data-management, analytics and application development are driving competitive advantage and sustainability for an increasing amount of companies. The differentiating capacity data science and process digitalisation provides, imply a set of core principles that should shape the approach of executive management. This is not just a issue for your CIO/CDO, it is a issue for the whole management team. You can't just outsource or lisence away your core business to accelerate your digital transformation.

The following is a set of principles that will let you acquire digitalisation capabilities fast, while keeping control of your core business at the same time:

  1. Any digitalisation initiative should be business- and use-case driven, with a clear customer focus, ensuring sponsorship and value creation.
  2. Information, data and business rules should be legally yours and technically enabled to flow freely across applications and analytic tools to ensure company data ownership, flexibility and technical pragmatism.
  3. Your technical platform should be modular to support fit-for-purpose configurations ensuring no provider can monopolise; your data, your key business rules, or enforce "evil" licensing models or exclude valuable technology options.
  4. Any data & analytic service or applications developed to support your core business processes, should be owned by you and use life-cycle principles and industry best practices. This enables you to change between in-house vs hired personnel/service model over time. Use open API´s and build a library of re-usable micro services accompanied by a well managed enterprise information library.
  5. Balance the need to protect your custom applications and analytic data as trade secrets, with the fruits from sharing them with your industry to bringing down cost, risk and environmental impact.
  6. Analytic services related to your core business should only be acquired after strategic assessments, and be provided using defined input/outputs with a company owned simplified analytic engines running in parallel as reference models.

The principles are based on experience from shaping digitalisation services and strategies for a range of companies across industries. Feel free to help improve or add principles through comments or PM´s.