Finding consistency in a disruption-filled data environment

Paul Santilli, Head of WW OEM Business Intelligence & Customer Insights at HPE, discusses the challenges posed by unstructured data, the role of open innovation within a business and the influence of analytics over organizational transformation


Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE's) Paul Santilli says that in a disruption-filled environment, the only constant is change, and that the real challenge for organizations today lies in becoming the "change-agent".

Santilli, who is Head of WW OEM Business Intelligence & Customer Insights at HPE, will be delivering a presentation entitled "Business Intelligence and the Capitalization of Data" during the Business Intelligence Innovation Summit in Chicago. Ahead of his appearance at the conference, he sat down with Innovation Enterprise to discuss his views on a range of issues affecting the way businesses and organizations analyze, share and process data.

Innovation Enterprise: How can you find or create consistency in a disruption-filled economy?

Paul Santilli: The only thing consistent in a disruption-filled environment is change. And, too many times, organizations take the position of bracing for the impact, rather than preparing for it in anticipation of the change. Or, moreover, the real challenge for organizations is to be the change-agent and work out how your organization can get in front of the disruption curve and become the disruptive element within the marketplace.

IE: You say the people who are fastest to execute their ideas are "the winners", but you have also promoted open innovation. Can we both share data and fight over it?

PS: Great question! Remember, all data that exists is open to everyone. Those that can process, extract and act upon that data will be, as you say, "the winners". However, there is a critical component that is equally important – the value and accuracy of the "right" data.

The world is filled with enormous loads of "garbage" information. There are golden nuggets of content that can be relevant and valuable to your strategy that need to be mined and appropriately executed upon to deliver. Understanding what the value "nuggets" are is one of the major challenges.

Open innovation or, more importantly, what I like to call "open intelligence", is a concept by which much of the industry data one collects is shared with partners, alliances, customers, and even in some situations, competitors. The ability to obtain multiple perspectives of industry and market directions, triggers, inflection points and corresponding catalysts will enable you to formulate a strategy in which you can drive the narrative – thus improving the validity and supporting the direction of the marketplace as a whole.

IE: With the speed at which data can change, how do you prevent data from going out of date?

PS: By definition, data goes "out of date" as soon as new data surfaces. Thus, having the shortest amount of time between data collection and determining the course of action, or what I call "Time to Insight" is critical. The challenge is knowing how to do this in an environment where the data is being generated at an unprecedented rate and volume. The legacy perspective of doing an analysis that takes three months to conclude and another six months to implement in the organization is woefully inadequate and simply non-competitive.

IE: What challenge does unstructured data pose to the BI professional and can it inhibit efficiency?

PS: Data in its many forms can be particularly challenging – one has to have the means to harvest and process all forms of data very quickly to obtain the right market information. Excluding certain sources or formats due to its "difficulty" to extract value is very risky and can have severe consequences on your organizational strategy. I stress the emphasis on tools and processes that do the "value extraction" from a wide spectrum of data types. This eliminates the need for human preference and intervention and takes the variability out of the taxonomy and analytics.

Register today to watch Paul Santilli's presentation at Innovation Enterprise's Business Intelligence Innovation Summit in Chicago on October 30–31, 2018

IE: How can one manage the influence of analytics over organizational transformation? Is it sustainable to keep your company in flux?

PS: Organizational structure is an equally important and often overlooked critical component of your strategy. Flat, nimble, responsive executive and management structures allow companies to pivot to anticipate and even generate that disruption in the market. Flexible and efficient supply chains, forward-looking product and technology roadmaps, and clear strategies add to the successful execution capabilities of companies. There is a difference between structuring your organization to be nimble and responsive versus one where it resembles "organized chaos".

IE: Are organizational systems like HPE Greenlake Hybrid Cloud a threat to employment or are human roles transitioning to have a more innovative focus?

PS: The question of "employment disruption" comes up every time there is a change in the sociological and industrial complexion of automation. We should separate these notions by saying that applying automation to complex customer challenges is a means to address these very issues I’ve been speaking about – the influx of the tremendous loads of customer, industry, machine and market data. Does that mean people will not be involved? The maturing of the modern workforce skillset since the beginning of humankind has always required a scale-up of their value contribution as technology evolved. I see this as being no different, albeit at a faster and more significant pace as what has occurred in history. And people will continue to provide valuable contributions that AI or machine learning cannot apply for the foreseeable future.

Paul Santilli will be speaking on Day One of Innovation Enterprise's Business Intelligence Innovation Summit in Chicago on October 30–31, 2018. To attend and hear more great insights from some of the biggest brands in innovation and the most exciting startups, register here.

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