Data Thrivers Boldly Disrupt Data-Driven Digital Transformation

The vast majority of businesses around the world are experiencing a digital transformation. To truly use data in how they operate their business, companies must enable data to be the lifeblood of their organization, or risk being left behind.


As a marketing leader, I’ve experienced this drive to transform, harness today’s wealth of data, and apply it to create value across the entire organization—all with limited time, skills and budget. I know that, while every company faces unique challenges, there will always be common characteristics and best practices that can be shared.


As we are BOLD in who we are as the Data Authority in a hybrid cloud world, we are being BOLD in our thought leadership on who is disruptive in their use of data to drive business results. These are Data Thrivers. Organizations that embrace data-driven digital transformation are attracting new customers and developing new revenue streams faster than their competitors. It’s about thriving with data, not just surviving with data.


We wanted to globally understand across industries who are data leaders and innovators versus those who are data laggards. So we conducted a study in partnership with IDC to gain insights from over 800 LOB executives, IT leaders and technology savvy decision makers with budget control or influence spend on digital transformation projects. We needed to determine… who are the Data Thrivers?



We found that Data Thrivers are seeing 6x greater improvement in operational efficiency, 2x greater likelihood to drive revenue from product innovation, and 3x greater likelihood to have high customer satisfaction.


Thriving or resisting? It is not an either-or proposition. With only 11% thriving with data, research shows there are five phases in this digital transformation journey:

  1. Data resisters – have IT digital transformation initiatives which are disconnected and poorly aligned with enterprise strategy.
  2. Data survivors – have identified a need to develop a digital transformation business strategy, but the execution is still on a project basis. Progress is not predictable, nor repeatable.
  3. Data responders – have aligned business and IT goals at the enterprise level around creation of new products and services, but have not yet focused on the disruption potential of the digital initiatives.
  4. Data synergizers – have integrated-synergistic business IT management disciplines and deliver digital transformation enabled products/services on a continuous basis.
  5. Data thrivers – led by data visionaries, are aggressively disruptive in the use of digital technologies to affect new markets. Ecosystem and feedback is a constant input to business innovation.

Take notice. Data driven digital transformation is impacting businesses across industries and companies of all sizes. Organizations are moving away from business as usual and embracing digital transformation to become more competitive. Companies are modernizing their systems, models, processes and architectures to move along their transformation journey. Companies that resist evolving are putting their businesses at risk.


Digital disruption is real. Is your company a Data Thriver or Resister?


Learn more about where you and other companies are on the journey through a data-driven digital transformation and practical steps you can take to ensure your company becomes a Data Thriver.

Jean English

Jean English is senior vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO) for NetApp. She brings a wealth of leadership and marketing experience to the role of CMO. Her experience in business-to-business marketing spans over 20 years, and she has expertise in developing and implementing comprehensive marketing strategies that include global and country-level strategic planning, branding and positioning, product and solutions marketing, integrated multichannel marketing, digital marketing and commerce, and sales channel enablement and optimization.

Jean joined NetApp from IBM, where she was global vice president for IBM Cloud Marketing and led the go-to-market transformation for IBM’s cloud business. Previously she was the CMO for IBM Asia Pacific, where she was responsible for all aspects of marketing, communications and citizenship. She has held multiple vice president and executive leadership roles creating marketing strategies; researching customer needs; developing winning brand propositions and content for different target segments; and communicating them effectively through digital, social, and mobile technologies plus global events.

She holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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