Data is an important asset, and it is an unique asset that belongs to the company, that can contribute significantly to the company, as long as the data is managed properly. Even in times like this, there are still many companies that do not have the awareness around what is the direct business impact of poorly managed data and how un-goverened data in the organisation creates challenges. On the flip side they are also not aware how a good quality and managed data can be leveraged to achieve a competitive edge, both internally and for the external stake holders.
Krish Datta, Chief Executive Officer, BackOffice Associates Asia Pacific, Japan and Middle-East, returned to Indonesia after several years, bringing with him, what could be the next big thing. A proven end to end data management platform that handles all aspects of data that the enterprise leverages , from migration, to quality, governance to analytics and archiving. This is the era of datamation or data automation, and how do you handle that.
Reporter from Warta Ekonomi, Mochamad Arief and Muhamad Ihsan, caught up with Krish recently for a straight from the heart chat in Jakarta at the end of March.
What made you return to Indonesia?
There are so many reasons why I returned to Indonesia. Foremost, is that I really love Indonesia as I spent over 20 years with Indonesia, hence I have a deep sense of belonging and dedication to this country. Though there has been a marked difference in business condition between when I visited Indonesia in 1995 and now. In 1995, we just talked about individual business process and how to automate it. I enjoyed it then as it was a new concept back then, as ERP was being introduced. The main challenge for businesses then, was about end to end automation of business processes to achieve internal efficiency and transparency.
But now, challenge is not how to automate business process but how to manage and leverage the ever growing volume of data and how to leverage that for timely and quality decision making. How to leverage data for strategic decisions and business insight.
I think, we are now in the era of datamation. How to manage the data when there is a huge amount of data. Earlier, we just talked about gigabyte, now we are talking about terabyte and even hundreds and thousands of terabyte. Now with the internet of things, everything is producing data, every interaction, every sensor is telling you something more, and that is data. So I think the era of business process automation is matured. The next big thing is about datamation.
Managing data is not about capturing the data into a database. Managing data means managing the growth of data and utilization of the data for insights, realtime and leveraging that data to listen and act on what that data is telling us. It is an important thing that I want to bring to Indonesia, because in my past years of experience here, I have seen data as a very ignored part of the business landscape and often left for the users or IT to struggle with. All the while the leadership or C levels are looking to get the most current, updated, honest and insightful view of their business, but that has to come from the data. So this return is more about helping organisations trust their data, manage their data and leverage it.
Does it mean that all business process software will be left behind?
No, it does not mean that. Business process software would be always on its process automation path, however it will produce more data. Quality data and right ownership of data will make the business process automation achieve the right results. This platform I will introduce is for managing the data, helping to analyze the data, get insights and be assured of the right data at the right time. This will give you the competitive edge that businesses are looking for as they make the timely and best quality decisions and have the ability to see users execute these decisions. We have to consider the fact that not all applications are moving to the cloud. You cannot move all applications to cloud immediately, so you you will always be left with a hybrid situation between on premise and cloud play with your key data domains like customers, vendors, assets etc, sitting across both environments.
How will you manage that data domain and the subsequent operational and transactional data. How will you keep the single version of truth of your master data and associated transactions all updated, unique, single view of truth and shared across the various processes running on different systems. You cannot have conflicting data sets between your material, vendors, customers, assets etc sitting on various systems. Then you will get different versions of reports and you will not be able to trust any of these reports.
When you said the next big thing, does it mean that companies should buy software and have to allocate more of money on software?
Every organization has and buys software. Every organization spends their money on IT. So, I don’t ask them to buy something more, I am asking to buy something right. Invest on the challenge that is staring at you today and is only going to get bigger tomorrow. I am requesting them to allocate the right money on the right solution and focus areas.
In the past, people spent a lot of money for hardware. About 15 years ago, automating business process and achieving efficient process was the challenge and customers spend bulk of their money on aspects like, business process automation software, business process implementation and very little on data and users. Data meant more database lisences rather than data management, data govenance or data quality and we also spent very little on users. Money was spent on buying lisences for the users rather than helping users use what has been lisenced.
Nowadays, there is a growing realization in matured markets that data is the biggest asset of an organization, which is their own data. What kind of data? If you are in the business for 10-20 years or more with more than million customers, strategic vendors, hundreds of millions worth of spread out assets, your customer’s data, vendor data, asset data is very important to you. It has to be tracked, managed with quality and reported. Duplicates removed, errors detected while creating data and all data needs to be updated, live and acurate. Users have to own this responsibility without feeling the pain and the burden of the task. The other important data domains also include finance, design, product….this list goes on.
You have broad experience in Indonesia, how important is the awareness of data management on the companies now?
If we talk about the awareness, I think the market is not fully aware. I think they have need to be aware about the importance of data and how it is not easy to manage, with the past approach and tools they have been used to. Almost all customers have bought analytics tools and wants reports, but all these reports and tools assumes that the underlying data is all accurate and available in a timely fashion. But, how we do it? Or what is the best way to do it? Did I allocate the right resource to do it? Which data elements are important? Who will own this responsibility? How will I ensure correct, timely and trustworthy data? I think that is our opportunity to help them. We help customers achieve all of this rather affordably and with minimum disruption and pain.
What is the new thing that you will bring to Indonesia? Data Management tools have been around, so where are you different.
I am excited to launch the BackOffice platform called Data Stewardship Platform (DSP), which will be launched on 27 th April in Jakarta. This is an end-to- end data management platform which address the above needs. Unlike other solutions which tend to throw a tool to a customer for a specific purpose: like address cleansing, material cleaning, master data harmonization, data mining, data construction etc…and then leave the challenge to the customers to figure out how to make this work, with no gurantee on results. BackOffice through its DSP platform takes a end to end view of data. The biggest difference is that, we has skin in the game and gurantee outcome….it is like a restaurant who services you a tasty healthy and timely dish when you are hungry rather than calling in customers showing them the kitchen and giving the raw ingredients are asking you to cook your own. The customer is hungry he wants a tasty and timely dish with nourishment. DSP offers that.
What else are you excited about? What keeps you going in high energy?
It is not difficult to excite me, with so much going around and Indonesia so well placed to leverage the changes around. I am also a Angel investor with Entrepreuner spirits. I have been funding and mentoring some extremely exciting start ups in the space of Customer and Brand management on a mobile platform, working on workflow and collaboration on the mobile and I am also working on reviving and popularizing Indonesian art. I believe I owe this country for my past success here. I have a love for art since my childhood days when I used to paid and got trained in it. I am working on helping takented Indonesian artists, express and market themselves overseas. Indonesia definitely has thousands of years of art and culture which is next too none. We may not be able to compete immediately in the tech space with others but we can share art, culture, craft and our background which is next to none.