A Retail Use Case of IT Governance. Starring: RBDMS, NoSQL, and Blockchain Technology
New technologies are breaking through and investors keep investing hoping for high-returns on IT markets that have over 10x growth predictions. However, like any other innovation, the main risk with new technologies is the lack of adoption.
- Fighting for Adoption
New technologies in IT are not struggling that much to raise money, but are struggling hard for adoption. The lack of adoption and the high-valuations of technologies that have no impact on day-to-day operations is a world crisis triggering factor.
Governance is essential to any organization and despite revolutionary new technologies, old-school governance systems are in place. There are many approaches to handling governance, so let’s use an example from the retail industry and try to explain governance in a world of big data and blockchain.
PaperSize is a company that sells paper products in brick & mortar stores as well as online. Being a new company, the fictive PaperSize uses integrated omnichannel marketing across all channels.
- Classic RBDMS
RBDMS is the term to define relational databases. The most common are Oracle Databases and SQL databases. A relational database can store structured data really well, but the developments in IT have shown the limitations of relational databases.
PaperSize used to rely on SQL databases, but now the data they collect is becoming so diverse, ranging from social media activity about their products, invoice and receipt data (both online and offline). PaperSize also has several concept stores where people interact with their products and that data is collected to improve their products.
SQL databases cannot handle such variety of information and are becoming a burden.
PaperSize operates mainly in France, The UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain, so most of their customers are EU citizens. PaperSize is subject to immense fines if they do not follow the EU GDPR regulations with the data they collect.
The tabular format of RBDMS is a limitation PaperSize does not afford. This is why PaperSize decided to move most of their content to non-relational NOSQL database, which makes it easier to both run big data programs about customer relations and improving their products, but also makes GDPR governance easier.
- NoSQL Databases
NoSQL databases can store insane volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. XML files from their website, videos from the concept store, invoice and internal documents, all are in one place and one click away.
That data is stored in a powerful customizable data lake and data scientists that work for PaperSize can perform all requests that come from higher management.
One big request for data scientists to handle came last year from the CEO of PaperSize that decided to expand to Greece and open several stores. Based on the data available in the data lake, data scientists have presented a report of how to arrange products on shelves. They used available public data about Greek citizens so that they adapted the design, price, and product placement to better fit the Greek society.
The analytics run decided it is a smart approach to open only 3 stores at first in Athens and only later expand more. After opening the 3 Athens stores that were a success, data gathered from these 3 stores correlated with data from stores located in other countries allowed for the opening of 10 more stores across Greece, all designed particularly for the respective Greece Market.
- Smart Contract Protocols (Blockchain)
PaperSize started as a crowdfunded project that raised over 10 million euros to develop their revolutionary paper products. PaperSize wants to keep initial customers that helped them raise funds very close to the company.
However, when hosting votes on some key issues of the company, the voting was fraudulent, the website was hacked, and data collected compromised.
A multi-purpose internal token (PPS) was created using blockchain technology. People that participated in the crowdfunding receive their share of tokens based on contribution. The token enables people holding the token to securely, uniquely, and anonymously vote inside the organization on several issues, despite being scattered across the world.
The employees of the company are also awarded their share of tokens and allowed to vote. The token is multipurpose and employees use their tokens to also login when they arrive at work or leave work, which keeps immutable track of employee attendance.
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