Understanding the Digital Infrastructure of Systems, Applications and Databases

This post is part of our continuing series, Your Guide to a Successful Digital Transformation.

Once you have considered how your organization’s culture plays into the digital transformation journey, the next step is to take stock of the resources and systems in your organization. As you define your strategy, here are five key questions to consider:

Do we have an integrated infrastructure of processes and information?

What is the level of integration between existing applications and underlying data? Do we currently utilize APIs (Application Programming Interface) and other integration methods to transfer data between applications? If data stands alone within each application or is disparate between applications, the strategy should account for a “learning curve” with each application to identify where the critical data is located as well as the best method to extract that needed data in an efficient and complete manner. If we do have integrated applications and data, our strategy should consider where we can access “consolidation points” to efficiently extract the transactional data.

Do we have a suite of “enabling technologies” to support digital transformation?

Low-code solutions like PowerAutomate and UIPath, access to AI services, data visualization software like Tableau and PowerBI, and curated apps to automate common tasks like Find Time for meeting scheduling are all examples of enabling technologies that support personnel engaging in the automation process with relatively low learning curves. When designing the strategy, consider the suite of technologies that will be the banner bearers of our program and ensure users understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Do we understand where our data resides? 

What level of understanding do we have of what applications our “golden record data lives in? This data is the most pure, validated and complete record. More importantly, in which tables within those applications does the data reside? Many organizations have the same information recorded in multiple applications, often with different values, so having an understanding of the data geography is key to the strategy so that stakeholders are confident in the returns from the analytics and automations.

Do we understand the applications in use?

Operations-specific applications and shadow IT (IT that is not managed through your standard governance program) may not exist on a consolidated register of applications in use by the business. But they are critical to businesss operations. Our strategy should consider these non-traditional applications and data sources to ensure that the solutions designed use the most valuable data.

Do we have a digital playground?

Access sandboxes and development environments are often very restricted, either by access or by functionality, or the information retained in the sandbox environment is dated. Our strategy should consider giving people an area where they can build proofs of concept without impacting our operational security or activities. Not giving people an area where they can see what they can do, is like asking them what they would like to eat at an unfamiliar restaurant without giving them a menu.

For information about how we can assist in your organization’s digital transformation, contact us. We are here to help.

© 2022


What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the concept of understanding the interrelation of People, Processes, and Technology and identifying where technology can enhance processes.


John Wauson

John Wauson

Partner-in-Charge, Risk Advisory Services


John Wauson, CPA, has 14 years of public accounting and risk advisory experience. With a dedication to client service, John…

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