interview


Content is still King but data rules the cloud – Oracle

Oracle Neil Sholay

Back in 1996 Bill Gates coined the phrase ‘Content is King’ as a means to monetize the internet, a phrase which has been echoed by various marketers and SEO experts ever since. This remains true today, and has inspired some of the world’s most recognizable brands.

But why stop at content? Content may be the means to monetize the internet, but unless there is relevant information behind to provide context, success will be limited according to Oracle’s Neil Sholay.

“Content will still be king, but now we have the means to do so much more,” said Sholay. “When we talk about Corpus we mean the information you put into the technology. If you have a piece of content, through the effective use of data analytics we can put the information in-front of the right people and at the right time. This is where content wins.”

User ExperienceDo you have the distribution channels to ensure you can reach your customer? Are you giving the content to the customer in the right context? Is your customer is an emotional state to receive the content positively? When all three areas can be ticked off this is where content wins. According to Sholay, this can be loosely defined as ‘user experience’, but how many people are taking this approach?

“I couldn’t give any numbers specifically, but it is pretty low,” said Sholay. “For the most part, decision makers are too concerned with the technology and not the information which you are feeding it. Any tool is only as good as the information which you are feeding it.

“A lot of people are creating great apps and building these great customer journeys, but can they be much better when you feed the right information. Not many customers are asking the question about where the data is coming from and what the information is – they could be missing a major trick on how to create value.”

For this to be a reality, digital transformation is paramount. For Sholay, there are three elements to the transformation journey which every business will have to undertake. Firstly, you have the platforms and ecosystems which are now dictated by the customer itself. In another life, vendors could build a platform and tell the customer they had to operate in this world, but now with the variety of platforms available, the key is adapting to the customers preferences. The customer is defining the new battle ground for the vendors.

Secondly, digital transformation is defined by the means a company interacts with the customer. Nike is a good example of a company who are particularly effective at this however the majority of companies are still finding their feet and learning lessons.

Finally, data is the remaining pillar of the digital transformation journey and the new currency of the digital economy. Without a competent approach to data acquisition, management and discovery, companies will always be playing catch up. While it should be considered the most important pillar, few companies are prioritizing the data aspect of the journey.

“Everyone wants to talk about digital transformation, and this year is the year where in the UK it will become a reality,” said Sholay. “It’s a bit like cloud. People will stop talking about digital transformation and they will start acting on the ideas. I look at digital from two perspectives, first is where we are technologically. Is the organization capable? And the second is the culture.”

Culturally organizations are not set up to tackle the digital transformation journey, and this is mainly due to the approach to data. For numerous organizations, data is a prize for the privileged few, and access to this data is limited to the data scientists who are as important to the digital economy as web developers were to the dotcom bubble. But as Sholay points out, there aren’t many of them; their efforts should be directed towards the more mission critical data processes in the organization, and the areas where the volume of data is much larger should be automated or left to business savvy analysts.

“My view is that if you put data in the hands of more of the organization, you might be able to see trends or new opportunities that the board haven’t spotted,” said Sholay. “Surely this is a good thing.

“Travel and tourism are very good at using data, but some industries are just not very good at all. Telcos are one of the industries that aren’t great and it saddens me. When you think about all the data they have collected, it must have taken years, and they aren’t that good at using the data. Maybe this year will be the tipping point.”

The idea of automating data analysis is not to remove the data scientist from the process, but to ensure that person is adding the most value to the business, in the most effective manner. Sholay’s ambitions is to flip the current model from an 80/20 split, where the data scientist is responsible for 80% of the data analysis, to 20/80 where the more qualified are focused on much more bespoke tasks.

“You have to make the technology easy enough to use so it doesn’t require a data scientist,” said Sholay. “We’re looking to modernize and democratize data.”

  • Automation Everywhere

  • Data Center World Local – Atlanta


One comment

  1. Rakesh 11/07/2016 @ 6:36 am

    Jamie – you are bang on – acquisition ,management and discovery of data is dependent on the quality of the inputs ( read quality structured data ) – :)

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