A Closer Look at Transformation: Descriptive to Prescriptive

Next up in this transformation series is the eighth enabler: the evolution from descriptive to predictive analytics. At the heart of future success lies the ability to leverage insight for competitive advantage. Yet, analytic capability and data driven cultures are lacking in most organizations, and most executives when assessing their positioning on a descriptive-to-prescriptive scale answer level one. The table below defines each level:

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Collective Intelligence

Next up in this transformation series is the seventh enabler: Collective Intelligence. One of the key themes throughout this transformation series is the clear movement from an enterprise entity to an extended enterprise of stakeholders. This extended enterprise – or what I alternatively call value ecosystem – increases complexity and requires a new management approach to be effective. I use the term collective intelligence as an umbrella phrase that combines the critical need for both collaboration and analytic excellence. This includes other forces like crowd computing, crowdsourcing, co-creation, and wisdom of the crowd – all of which stem from the connectedness of our world, and the growing realization that value creation requires a broader community.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Sense and Respond Systems

Next up in this transformations series is the sixth enabler: sense and respond systems. These systems are critical to the transformation agenda, as most of the disruptive technologies likely to impact the enterprise in the next decade have data at its core. The resulting data explosion promises to complicate information management for most companies. As the speed of business accelerates and the amount of data flowing through company ecosystems expands, the need to sense stimuli and enable a real time response intensifies. Fortunately, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this sense and respond paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases – but this is arguably one of the most difficult components of transformation road maps.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Systems of Engagement

Next up in this transformation series is the fifth enabler: systems of engagement. Geoffrey Moore introduced the Systems of Engagement concept about two years ago. This vision for the future of Information Technology is gaining broader acceptance – but a surprising number of executives are blind to the coming sea change. Where current enterprise systems are designed around records (systems of record); these new systems are designed around interactions. Where technology investment in the last two decades enabled transaction workers and executives – these systems enable the middle of organizations with a focus on growth.

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MIT Big Data Panel Discussion

In May, I participated in a Big Data panel discussion at the 2013 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. The panel was moderated by Tom Davenport, Harvard Professor and co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics. The panel participants aside from myself were:

  • Annabelle Bexiga, CIO, TIAA-CREF
  • Jack Norris, CMO, MapR
  • Keith Collins, SVP, CIO & CTO, SAS Institute
  • Michael Chui – Senior Fellow, Mckinsey Global Institute

This was a very good discussion on the potential of Big Data and the possible direction it takes in the future. Michael Chui did a great job with his opening remarks, referencing this Mckinsey Report and using examples from it. This report, which I have mentioned previously, focuses on major disruptive technology. It is interesting to hear the perspectives (and sometimes biases) of these industry players. It’s an hour and ten minutes long, with some very good audience questions.

A Closer Look at Transformation: Societal Change

The next focus area in this closer look at transformation is the fifth and perhaps most critical forcing function: societal change. Wikipedia refers to societal change as an alteration in the social order of a society, including changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors, or social relations. The base of such change is change in the thought process of humans. Digital is the primary driver of a societal change not seen since the first industrial revolution, impacting every aspect of society from business to war. It was digital (Internet) that accelerated globalization, and now the broader digital platform allows even a start-up to be global upon inception.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Differentiation

Continuing with this closer look at transformation, part three focuses on differentiation; the fourth forcing function. Differentiation is a process that showcases the differences between products and services. It looks to make an offering more attractive by contrasting its unique qualities with other competing offerings. Successful differentiation should create competitive advantage, as customers view these offerings as unique or superior. In his piece on The Future of Enterprise IT, Geoffrey Moore, famous author of “Crossing the Chasm” describes the global business dynamics (Slide 10) that places differentiation at the center of a virtuous (perhaps vicious) cycle. His key message is that globalization and rapid commoditization are placing greater emphasis on differentiation, especially in developed economies.

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