In the face of the unprecedented data explosion and the business velocity we are all experiencing, organizations need to find safe, well-defined ways of managing data and reaping the maximum value from it. In other words, to be successful in a digital world, companies need a Big Data strategy.
Customers expect instant value — the right response or service in real time
One of the benefits of being a data-driven business in the digital economy means we’re all connected. Companies can come up with the right response in real time, something that customers increasingly expect. With real time, there’s a context and it’s easier to get things right – it’s easier to analyze data and extract value.
But many companies are not very well prepared for addressing the data revolution that’s going on around them. They don’t foresee the disruption happening in the marketplace. A good example is the way Uber caught a lot of taxi firms out by disrupting the market through its smartphone app. We could add other examples, like AirBnB or even Tesla. Now there is an urgency to change or the risk of losing out to the Ubers of this world. Whereas process once held us back, now with technology you can reimagine your whole business – it’s down to you and your ability to go beyond what you’ve done in the past and think out of the box.
It’s not just a technology issue; it’s cultural too
Bringing about a change of culture and paradigm isn’t easy. How do you go about it? My SAP colleague David Jonker says, “To run simple, you have to believe that you need to change the way you do things, to simplify your world fundamentally by changing the way you’re organised, the way you do business. It’s not just a technology issue. And it can’t just be the CEO behind it. The CEO, the CIO, all the stakeholders have to have a shared foundation of understanding of what Big Data or the Internet of Things is going to mean for their business.”
I can see that some customers are doing it right. They’re aware of the urgency to transform their business model, they’re keen to take risk and invest in innovation. Those companies understood that it is much more sustainable to disrupt themselves instead to be disrupted by a new player. They’re also mixing millennials with new thinking with more experienced workers, creating the friction, context, and conditions that makes things happen.
These companies are also leaving behind the processes and complexity of the 20th-century IT landscape. David Jonker recommends that these businesses look out for the first one or two successful use cases that align very closely with their business imperatives. They should then use those successes to get momentum behind these new ways of working.
Value is realised in day-to-day operations
Figuring out how to apply Big Data insights in day-to-day operations is where the real value is realised. For Web pioneers like Google, eBay, and Amazon, their Big Data strategies were about making money instantly – at the point of a Google search, for example.
SAP customers are being successful with Big Data. Walmart in retail, John Deere in agriculture, SK Solutions in construction are just a few examples. They’re successful because they’re grabbing hold of the Big Data opportunity that’s helping them out-compete in their sector. That’s what more companies have to do.
To find out more about keeping your business competitive, watch the Run Simple Show – Creating a Big Data Strategy.