Ballance CIO, David Scullin, and NOW founder, Michael Whitehead, teamed up to give a talk on digital strategy and data in the new world. David talked through what Ballance have been doing and outlined their digital strategy including how Ballance are embracing data to offer more to their customers and shareholders (Ballance being a cooperative, they are one and the same).
What was really impressive about what Ballance are doing is how well aligned their digital strategy is to their business goals. This is the key to any successful digital strategy but it is surprising how often this is forgotten. David has already implemented several important changes to Ballance's BI program including data quality standards (gold, silver and bronze) and BI champions to increase the understanding and use of their BI capabilities but the interesting part is not what they've done but what they're planning. Whilst the company is now using data to look back and learn from the past, it's plan for the next 18 months is very much about looking forward, using predictive analytics, automation and other technologies in a way that will not only inform decision making but affect the way they do business with their customers. Using BI not just as a decision making tool but as a way of doing business with your customers is a nirvana that is more often found in hyped up vendor keynote presentations than in real world strategies.
So Michael had a tough act to follow and less than ten minutes to do it. I'll give you the opportunity to be the judge on how he did. You can watch the 7 minute long video of Michael's presentation below.
For me, the most interesting part of Michael's presentation was the idea that the data teams customer, the business, is changing. The millennial generation expects to have data available to aid decision making, it's what they've grown up with. Data teams and going to be asked to deliver a lot more, faster. This has always been a challenge and the technology boom we are currently undergoing will make it possible, but data teams are going to have to dramatically increase the speed at which they provide data and analytics. The good news is, as you can see from what David is doing at Ballance, it is possible. It requires the same things good BI has always required; having clear business benefit, engaged business owners and being data driven.