BTS attends the 2018 AIIM conference to see the future of data

By: Stan Corner

Recently I attended, with members of our team at BTS, a conference in San Antonio, USA, which focused on the future in terms of the way we manage our business data and information. We were in good company: Over 800 people from 31 countries attended the four-day conference, with a mix of both private and public sector businesses.

You’re most likely wondering what a regional business from Victoria was doing halfway around the world discussing data and business information. In writing about what we’ve discovered from this conference I hope you can see why focusing on this area is crucial as we move further into a data driven future.

A little more about AIIM

Established in 1943, The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) is a forum for businesses from all over the world to meet and discuss managing information, looking at the intersection where people, processes and information meet. Recently, President and CEO Peggy Winston flagged a move towards intelligent information management and it’s this shift that piqued our interest. It highlights the digital transformation journey that all businesses, ours included, will need to focus on both now and into the future.

The AIIM annual conference is one that is well supported by vendors and suppliers, but by far the largest contingent of attendees comes from those working in business managing information on a day-to-day basis. While our team attended to gain a better understanding of the products and services available, it was the interaction with real consumers that made the conference so insightful.

What did we learn?

Most importantly, we gained a vast amount of knowledge that we can translate to our local region when helping customers on their own digital journey. These core takeaways can be grouped into four major points:

The need to embrace digital is for both small and large business

We met a range of businesses at the conference, from small businesses of 10-20 people to one organisation with over 27,000 staff. The interesting fact was that, regardless of size, they all faced the same problems. All of these businesses are on the journey to digital transformation and are experiencing similar challenges and successes.

The journey is also a global one: It was a similar experience in talking to businesses from all over the world. The key takeout here is that it’s a journey that all businesses need to start working on…now.

Information is the biggest business asset

The digital era we’ve moved into means that the information and data we store in our businesses is more valuable than ever. No longer is the journey focused purely on securing and storing data, you now need to think about how and where you’re using your business information both for competitive advantage and to better service your customers. The possibilities in this space are endless and in many ways businesses are just starting to work out the value in the data and information we all have.

For me, the key takeout is that your business information is an asset and an absolutely critical one in the future digital world. Working out how you secure, store, use and process your data is now crucially important.

Your information and data is now in more places than ever

Being involved in a number of the presentations and roundtables meant that we saw real world experiences of how data and information is changing. The most common challenge is that our business information and data is now in more places than ever before, it’s not confined to just core business systems like your ERP or CRM. The explosion of technology, led by the plethora of apps and online tools, means there’s been a rapid escalation in both the volume and types of information we now have access to. This brings up both potential opportunities and challenges, especially with many countries including Australia beefing up data and privacy laws.

This means that businesses need to think wider and deeper around where their data and information actually is, and find ways of harnessing it to both comply with regulation and ensure that you’re maximising your customer experience.

Starting the journey now will save pain later

By far the most important lesson from AIIM is this: The digital transformation journey is not a future event. It’s happening now and businesses, large and small, that want to be successful in the future need to be looking at ways they can use technology to transform processes and operations within their businesses. We’ve already moved into an era where the way you manage and use data will affect everything from customer service to attracting the best talent to your organisation.

If there’s one thing that I can leave you with is that it’s time to start now, focusing on you need to start your digitally driven future can save you pain, both in compliance and lost revenue.

Start the conversation

Interested in discussing this topic further? Please feel free to DM me here or contact me at stanc@teambts.com.au and we can organise a time to discuss digital transformation and it’s challenges and opportunities.