Unlocking the true value of your organisation's information
By Kim Andersen, Account CTO at T-Systems South Africa
Data volumes are growing exponentially. But as increasing amounts of information about customers, markets, and products/services engulf organisations, we need to look at data in a new way.
To achieve true digital transformation, the organisation needs to stop viewing information storage as an ever-expanding cost that needs to be contained, and realise its worth as a strategic asset that can be effectively leveraged for competitive advantage.
Historically, certain information would be stored in a specific warehouse, to be used for a specific purpose. For example, a bank would store a customer’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) documents for the express purpose of ensuring compliance fulfilment, and making sure the documents are available to the regulator upon request.
When stored and used in this silo-based approach, the data sets have no opportunity to enrich each other, to help the organisation better understand the customer, or to ultimately contribute towards providing customers with a better experience.
Organisations should start by distinguishing the data that is key to their business, from the supporting data. Often, this first step is to consolidate data sets relating to customers, to achieve the so-called ‘single view of the customer’. From there, other data repositories and sources on the periphery of the organisation can be correlated to that core data, increasing its usefulness.
A great example of this approach to information assets is found in New York City, where the police force merges data from thousands of surveillance cameras, with information from radioactive sensors, 911 calls, license plate readers, and a number of public safety databases.
At the heart sits a set of transactional data, the historical crime records of the city, which acts as the digital reference point. The data from all the other sources is then correlated to, or fed into, this framework. This enables proactive policing, where police officers and police vehicles are dynamically allocated to different locations at certain times.
In the corporate environment, a cohesive approach to Big Data also enables what we refer to as ‘extensible collaboration’, where information is more easily shared with external parties, within and across value chains.
By connecting to each other via APIs and other forms of integration, companies as disparate as aircraft manufacturers, weather broadcasters, and household insurers can engage in new, “virtual” value chains.
With a modern approach to data management, organisations can benefit from the future of machine-generated data, where sensors from all kinds of industrial household items can transmit data back to central points.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.