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Reimagining business with digital transformation

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External sources: Content can also be enriched by importing data from third-party sources that are simply an API call away in the cloud. Carmel described a legal example in which a practitioner is working on a case and wants to know the judge and all the motions filed for it. In this instance, content platforms might integrate with Westlaw, for example, so users can search it. Once they find those results “from an external source, it merges it with all the case data that’s relevant,” Carmel said. “So, every case just got smarter. That’s what we mean about knowledge. That’ s what we mean about making knowledge.”

Search

Search is an integral aspect of digital transformation because it renders the knowledge, content, and data assets from which information is derived available in downstream processes. The above enrichment approaches make search a much more useful mechanism than it otherwise is. “It transforms what you can now do in terms of presenting professionals the right information faster, which reduces the labor they are required to do to get what they want,” Carmel said. The cloud implications of this aspect of digital transformation are commendable. Cloud data stores make content more searchable via metadata gleaned from sources and present it to users through a central conduit that’s universally accessible.

“Moving everything into the digital realm and storing it in this cloud-like infrastructure gives people immediate accessibility and searchability,” Toor said. Plus, the metadata advantages of storing data in the cloud with object storage optimize data cataloging. “In the old-school way of doing things, you maintained a separate database that pointed to your assets,” Toor recollected. “In the new school, you can build that database at anytime just by going back and looking at the meta-data.” This capability makes data catalogs dynamic and supports transporting assets between locations—while maintaining their metadata and usefulness for search.

Cloud collaborations

One of the cloud’s quintessential gains for digital transformation is its collaborative prowess. It’s arguably the best framework for enabling disparate parties to work together—on the same document, project, or enterprise function—regardless of geographic location or time zone differences. According to Max Nirenberg, Commit USA chief revenue officer, the “cloud makes it much easier to collaborate from anywhere. This coincides perfectly with the current rise in remote work.” Consequently, cloud-based systems of engagement and systems of collaboration are replacing traditional systems of record. There are several considerations for utilizing cloud computing as a focal point for digital transformation, including these:

Data integration: The endless variation of tools accessible through the cloud (and the number of use cases it supports) results in considerably more sources to integrate. “It’s a fact that data’s going to sit in multiple source systems, whether it’s on premises or in cloud,” acknowledged Tapan Patel, SAS senior manager of AI and Cloud. “It’s not just about ordering data; it’s about connecting those data sources.”

Heightened responsiveness: The cloud simultaneously increases organizations’ response times while decreasing their time to action for everything from product updates to countering strategies from competitors. “Cloud computing provides organizations and business services immediate responsiveness to market changes, as well as fast accessibility and geo-location services,” Nirenberg noted.

Extensibility: The utilization of external, third-party data—and services— readily available to organizations via the cloud is nothing short of revolutionary. Anything, from cognitive computing services to specific data sources for analytics, is simply an API call away. “What APIs do is disconnect the virtual from the physical world,” Toor explained. “By using an API, you’re not ever writing a low-level command that says, ‘Write this piece of data there.’ You’re using a high-level command that just says, ‘Write this data.’”

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