Q&A Interview: Donna Burbank on digital transformation

Published · 3 min read

As a follow-up to our three-part data transforming business podcast series, we recently sat down with Donna Burbank to discuss digital transformation and data trends the enterprise market should prepare for over the next few years.

Donna Burbank is the Managing Director of Global Data Strategy. Global Data Strategy helps companies around the globe with their data management and data strategy. She is a 20-year industry veteran and an expert on all things data.  Over the past few decades, she’s seen the industry transform and thinks now is a great time to be involved with data strategy.

Q: What are some challenges you are noticing businesses are facing today and what can they do overcome those obstacles?

Many organizations are looking at the growth opportunity potential for their business with data, but they don’t know how to make sense of that data. To overcome challenges, it is important that companies do an audit of their existing legacy technology tools and the data on those platforms. Organizations also need to define their customer base, analyze how they interact with those customers daily, identify where data is stored and figure out how to store it. That may seem simple but it really can be complex when dealing with technology. Companies also need to consider the people and process when transforming data. Many customers are asking about data governance because they want to better understand the people and process and how to best leverage data for their business.

Q: Why do you think companies are still having these issues with digital transformation?

It is hard! Companies should make sense of how they can achieve quick wins for success.  I think a lot of the issues are around having true visibility into the data and discovering if the information is useful. Your company data may have errors, so it is important to find out if that the information you have already is valid. Success also includes a combination of both business and process change, as well as change, to it’s important to align business goals with your data strategy.

Q: Businesses are starting to plan for the next fiscal year, what should tools should they consider implementing to grow their business?

It is important that organizations navigate what they want to do. There are so many opportunities out there so ask yourself, in one year what does good look like? Be realistic when setting goals and guidelines. Is it that you want to understand your existing customer data better because your company is planning to launch a new big marketing campaign. That varies based on your industry. I would also take an inventory of your existing data, technology and people.

Q: Looking ahead to the next 12 months to a few years, what business intelligence and data trends do you foresee impacting the workplace? 

As I mentioned earlier, data is hot right now! One trend I foresee coming down the pipeline over the next few months is that the business world will become more self-service. Also, with more and more businesses wanting insights on data, this will also create opportunities for new jobs and skillsets for people. We will also see a need for integration of data and systems on the backend so that more and more people can utilize the data. Business executives will also need to collaborate with IT to better understand how to use the data and metadata for your industry.

Q: What are five things a business leader should consider before investing in business intelligence and big data?

Set business goals and assess how you can align and support those with data, audit your existing data platforms, identify your key stakeholders, scope out your competitors and set a strategic plan that includes “quick wins” for early success.

Want to hear more from Donna Burbank? Tune into our part one, part two, and part three of our podcast series where she interviews industry experts on how organizations can become data-driven.

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