Syniti’s Frankie Steele, Vice President of Sales for ANZ, speaks to Security Solutions Media about the current state of digital transformation in the region, security risks inherent in moving large amounts of data, and the various ways of mitigating threats to business continuity.
- Please start by telling us a bit about Syniti – what does the company do, what are your major focus areas?
Syniti is a software and services company that specialises in Data. We like to think of Syniti as THE data company and are passionate about helping enterprise customers solve their complex data challenges, to have well managed, trusted business ready data. We were responsible for some of the world’s largest data transformation initiatives, such as moving to a new ERP solution or bringing businesses together due to a merger or acquisition.
Our flagship product is Syniti Knowledge Platform which has end-to-end capabilities around Data Migration, Data Quality, Data replication and Master Data Management. We provide all these capabilities in a single platform, and have a meta-data driven approach, which help customers to understand and unlock the value of their data. My role at Syniti is to help drive growth across Australia and New Zealand and deliver value to our partners and clients.
- What are you seeing in the market at present – what impact has covid had, is the data market growing across ANZ?
We have seen acceleration and prioritisation of digital initiatives that support the ability for remote work and collaboration, automation of processes to drive efficiency and investment in connected data and systems to drive better value across the enterprise.
Data plays a big role in helping organisations to effectively navigate todays unprecedented challenges. With a focus on data, organisations can reduce waste and drive efficiency, improve cashflow and working capital, and are better able to optimise the supply chain to address the gap between customer demand and production requirements. This enables organisations to be more connected, integrated and equipped with business ready data that can help to unlock significant value in the assets already owned. We are also seeing businesses focus on core capabilities, or efficiencies by economies of scale, which has led to a number of mergers and acquisitions.
Covid has provided the impetus for organisations to have a serious look at their data and if it is being treated like an asset within their business. Trusted, well managed data allows companies to make better decisions and respond to changing market dynamics quickly, by leveraging the potential of data as a business asset. In the ANZ market, we’ve been fortunate to work with some iconic brands to help them to achieve this. Our connected Data Management Platform helps customers to better manage their data and align to their core business objectives – building a data business asset that will serve them now and in the future.
- Looking specifically at data governance now, what risks are there in the migration of data? What does a company need to be mindful of when planning a migration?
The common and traditional way of doing things is for organisations to invest a lot of resources to solve individual problems or data events – be it data quality, data migration, replication or governance, and they treat these as unique or disparate events. At Syniti we see a symbiotic relationship – one that benefits from capturing and re-using business knowledge.
To be successful, migrations require ‘clean data’ and this activity is consistently underestimated in terms of effort and time. The onus (read cost and risk) of this sits with the customer, therefore failure to provide clean data is one of the primary causes of project delays and cost over-runs in a migration project. At Syniti we support the activities of cleaning by automating as much as possible and providing business users the right tools and context, to make the job easier. It’s all done in a single platform, which means its fixed once – no confusion with spreadsheets and templates. It also allows for fact-based reporting of activity, to help manage risk and project timelines.
During a migration, a lot of business decisions are made – who owns the data? What are the standards and thresholds for that business? What are the definitions – how do you define a customer? Business policies and rules, processes and procedures are all discussed – as they influence the design and workings of the new application. Typically, at the end of a migration – those who treat this as a unique and disparate event, throw this information and context away. At Syniti we recognise it for what it is – valuable business information – which is unique to your business. We capture this information in our platform for re-use and to accelerate your next data event, such as Data Quality or Master Data Management. The rules, policies and standards that are used in your migration can then be re-used to accelerate your Data Governance initiatives.
As with any symbiotic relationship the benefits go both ways. If you focus on Data Quality or Data Governance and ensure that you had good quality data, not only would your business be more efficient, but when it comes to migration, you’d be in better shape and with significantly less risk of over-runs.
At Syniti we take a Meta-data driven approach (data about your data), as this helps to better understand where your data is as it moves through your business processes and applications. Where does your data come from? What is your single source of truth? How is it used in your organisation, by which applications and by whom? This helps you to better manage your data, and address areas of security and compliance, leading to more trusted data for BI and analytics. This will then support innovation and drive correlations and relationships between data elements that might have previously been missed.
- Are companies still finding a need to keep data within their country’s borders, or within specific boundaries?
It very much depends on the individual organisation and the security or governance requirements they have. As a whole, we are seeing more organisations adopt cloud solutions, although most still prefer that data remain within their country of residence. Public sector is often mandated to keep data within the country, or even within their state. Obviously global companies cannot always do this, so they need to find models that best suit their needs.
The key question really is about security and protection of data. Cyber-attacks by rogue nations or disgruntled employees are very real and a means of stealing secrets and disrupting commerce. We also know that not all data has the same security sensitivity, and not all data needs to be treated the same. Having well managed data, will help to understand how data is used and stored within your organisation. In addition, well managed data will also aid organisations in being able to apply appropriate security policies for better protection on important data, whilst mitigating risk.
- What other risks exist in the collection and storage of data, and what can an organisation do to mitigate these?
The sheer volume of data being collected and the growth in those volumes. Having a clear data strategy and governance will help to address some of these key areas:
- Relevancy – Is it used and useful?
- Having retention and achieving policy and practice.
- Harmonisation of data – How many systems use customer name and address? How many times do you have this stored? How many versions or duplications do you have of the same customer?
- Reduction in data siloes – it’s a barrier to getting value out of your data assets and a barrier to innovation.
- Do you feel that companies have a greater awareness of governance and risk around their data than they used to?
Data leaks/attacks and the need for digital transformation driven by Covid have driven greater awareness. While the awareness is there, the challenge is often proving the business case to unlock the investment in tools and resources to drive a different outcome.
First and foremost an organisation needs to decide if data is a strategic business asset for them. Then they should be able to determine a baseline and get an idea of their current data position – at Syniti we do data assessments to help customers understand their key areas of poor data quality and the financial and business inefficiency impact it has – helping clients to focus and prioritise what needs to be addressed first. Investment in the right tools – we recommend a holistic platform approach to help drive benefits and manage your data across your data journey.
Build in-house capabilities or leverage expert organisations such as Syniti to help you to build maturity in data management – regardless of your starting point, or the event that causes you to focus on data.
- Any closing remarks?
Taking a “part-time” or manual approach to data, always leads to disappointing results. Data isn’t an IT issue – it is one of the businesses most valuable assets, therefore it should be resourced accordingly. Our intelligent platform, experienced and specialised team can help you unlock the value of your data across your enterprise.
Syniti’s core vision of helping businesses harness their data as a key competitive advantage and enabling business efficiency and agility to unlock their potential, remains unchanged. Globally we are growing fast, both in terms of our core business but also through recent acquisitions, that has presented us with exciting opportunities for both our existing and future customers.
Our customers remain our biggest driver and in ANZ we are investing strongly in building partner capabilities to continue to address the growing demand for our software and expertise. It is an exciting time to be at Syniti and an exciting time to be focused on Data and Business Transformation.