More popular than a Kardashian (maybe) is the industry buzz at every tech conference you and I have attended the past few years discussing Big Data, the IoT, and what it means to our future and our business bottom line. Already drowning in loads of data stored in warehouses, it’s the dark and unstructured data causing involuntary salivation as we are irresistibly drawn in by its potential, but not entirely sure how to eat this strange and wonderful fruit.
Old dog and new tricks
The Internet of Things, (IoT) isn’t new at all, but rather is the popular topic du jour, which sounds far sexier than Big Data, and proves that, truly, size doesn’t matter. If you’ve been alive long enough to avoid being carded, you already know we’ve had sensors and connected devices for several decades. What is fresh, however, is the mind-blowing pace of supercomputing, which is enabling us to make sense of the data we have been collecting, and apply it in a useful way (always succulent to a geeky, linear, analytical mind.)
What to do about something
Enter the doors of buzzword heaven and greet digital transformation. This is the new game in town, and it requires a letting go of attachment to things as they were. Let’s call it business enlightenment. It’s the letting go of established barriers between me and thee, a.k.a. silos, and allowing others to share our space (other industries, other departments). The IoT has facilitated crossover between previous industry and internal department silos. The new earth for digital transformation favors collaboration versus compartmentalization.
What’s leverage got to do with it?
To be digitally transformative, it’s imperative to know how to leverage technology. However, like drilling down for hydrocarbons, if you don’t know where to focus your bet, you’re going to lose. Many companies are still looking at the IoT and Big Data to show them the way like a shaman lighting the path…the only problem is, without knowing what you’re looking for, you’ll chase the next new shiny object and never catch anything. Ask the right questions and know what you want from the data, and the answers will come. Without a clear question, how will you recognize the answer? Remedy: lead with strategy. Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA says, “For IoT, technology is the leverage that enables strategy. At the end of the day, IoT is just technology. Significant technology, but still just technology. It is how you use it to enable your strategy that will separate leaders from followers.”
Leaders do not leave opportunities on the table.