To give us perspective, Satya reminded the conference that only a fraction of current data gets analyzed. Yet this data universe is expanding at a massive rate. 90% of this worldwide data was created in the last two years alone, and there is an immense amount of data still in a form that cannot be analyzed economically until it is digitized. The opportunities exist to rid us of the mundane and be proactive in exploring new areas of value.
Since the start of my career I’ve been striving to replace the mundane tasks in my job with a digital solution. For instance, I remember my first head office role working in Oil & Gas Supply Operations at BP being handed the duties of Bob Donaldson, an Economist, who was moving on to a more senior role. Bob spent his last month handing his workload over to me; tasks to help ensure end consumers of BP’s fuel products would not run dry. I recall it was quite some responsibility ensuring I did my part in deciding what had to be imported from where in the world at the right price and lead time and what needed to be refined and delivered by pipeline, rail, road, or regional tankers to reach the customer. I had to allow for the demand of bunkering of cargo ships and fishing fleets, aviation gasoline to power jet aircraft, 91 or 98 Octane grade petrol for cars, heating oil for buildings and so on. It was an essential process of calculations to ensure NZ’s consumers, especially emergency services, could rely on their deliveries of BP’s products. It was necessary but laborious. A repetitive pattern and therefore, to me, mundane!
I was not about to continue doing something that I knew I could get a computer to do much faster, stress free, and definitely more reliably. Each day during that hand-over month, without anyone’s instructions or knowledge, I was quietly converting the workload to an array of software models. Bob left at the end of the month and it took me all of 3 days to run the programs to do the work that had previously taken about 20. That was over 200 working days saved per year. Close to 80%! I was certainly not made redundant having saved approximately 17 days per month of my time by digitization. Instead I was promoted.
Now the tools for DX are more readily available and easy to learn and use. Modern ERP solutions are modular and multi-vendor; seamlessly interconnected via the cloud infrastructure like my own company’s product TidyEnterprise that connects to Xero and other cloud products selected by customers according to their need. Not the old, single vendor/ monolithic type solutions with long, costly lead times to get started, or inflexible lock-in periods. And we now all have access to ‘Low-Code’ tools aimed at ‘Citizen Developers’; like the Power platform from Microsoft that allow your staff to cut inefficient workloads and instead provide productivity insights that transform your organization to being more competitive.
Now we can all achieve success in the DX era if our organization’s cultural mindset begins to think the way Andy Grove wanted us to.