Blog > Partner Q&A with Zia Consulting CEO Mike Mahon: Part 1

Partner Q&A with Zia Consulting CEO Mike Mahon: Part 1

This fall, we had the chance to sit down with Mike Mahon, CEO of Zia Consulting, a valued ASG partner. We asked Mike what he anticipates for digital transformation in the year ahead and how digital transformation opportunities may influence organizations’ data management strategies in 2019 and beyond. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: Tell us about your partnership with ASG.

A: When Zia was introduced to ASG last fall, ASG made the case that it is a very different company than it was. The last three years have been pivotal in changing ASG’s direction and technological focus, and the platforms they are purchasing and the products they offer integrate very well with what we do.

Our first initiative with ASG was to work together on a “lift and shift”—identifying customers on legacy platforms, like older versions of Mobius or IBM CMOD, and explaining how they can shut down their data center and move to the cloud. From there, we set customers up on a modern platform, which is more aligned with digital transformation initiatives.


Q: What about digital transformation most excites you?

A: Content is the lifeblood of an organization, but most companies don’t know how to maximize its potential. One of the most interesting things about digital transformation is improving the flow of data. Instead of going from one business unit silo to the next, with repositories that no one can access (which we see across verticals), organizations want to ask their data questions. And who better to tell you about your risk, performance and future than your own data repositories? Digital transformation will change the way people work by providing access to information that a) they did not know they have or b) had been tied up in their organization.

Q: What types of information do organizations need to affect workflows and business processes?

A: It depends on the industry. The data and content organizations work with is often structured—think of an application with information on it, such as an I9, a W2 or a driver’s license. There is a lot of information locked in those standard forms.

Yet three-quarters of the content being generated currently is unstructured or semi-structured at best. This interview is one of those examples: it’s notetaking; there is an audio file associated with it, but there is key information you want to glean from it. Whatever you write in your blog will be “gleaned,” and whatever you don’t write will be locked up or thrown away.

My favorite example is this: What happens to homes priced at $500,000 when oil goes below 60 bucks per barrel? I guarantee the data knows the answer. As the rate of people foreclosing on homes goes up and the impact on home prices drops, you may ask, when does this happen; does it always happen? If you can mirror the two data sources—one financial and one with historical oil prices—you can ask your data these questions.

Organizations must also learn to listen for the signal in the noise of unstructured data. How do decision-makers tell what’s important and relevant when so much information is not standard form-based? This is where human-assisted artificial intelligence can play a larger role, though robots won’t just glean information. Humans still have to decide what is important and provide direction from there.

Today, most organizations don’t have their data set up to easily discover and access information. While the industry has been focused for so long on structured data—loans, claims, back office-business functions—there is so much other content in sales, marketing and research. This information still needs to be curated, collected and understood.
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Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn what concerns Mike most about digital transformation and future generations in the workforce. In the meantime, learn more about ASG’s partnership with Zia Consulting here and how ASG drives digital transformation for our customers here.