Putting data to work to drive business transformation

Putting data to work to drive business transformation

Putting data to work to drive business transformation
In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some IBM executives about data and analytics, migration to cloud, digital transformation and other topics important to CIOs in client organizations. From recent interviews, I’ll be sharing some comments from those conversations in a series of postings. And these interviews will also be available as podcasts. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed chatting with these executives.

I spoke recently with Rob Thomas, vice president, development for analytics, at IBM, about business transformation, which led us to further discuss a data maturity curve. This first installment presents what Thomas had to say on this topic and more.

Many companies are at very different stages in their maturity with respect to big data and analytics and how they’re using it to transform their business. Companies may use new tools and techniques, but they’re focused only on reducing or managing costs. Where many firms fall short is using analytics to drive new business models and really disrupt within their industries.

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We used to define mature by the degree of usage of analytics, and to some degree that is still true, but true maturity goes much further. Think about how some industries are reimagining how they provide products and services, change the experience for their consumers and disrupt the industry by thinking differently. Yes, analytics is they key to getting you there.

According to Thomas, when you move along that curve and become less focused on simply saving money, you become more open to thinking outside the box. You tap into new ways to actually transform your business. And you start to ask yourself: What are you going to do in terms of line-of-business imperatives and line-of-business applications? How do you get to a new level of insight that impacts your daily business processes and ultimately the relationship that you have with clients?

For years, IBM has helped clients move from left to right on that curve. Companies moving further to the right are ready to innovate with new business models, more sustainable competitive differentiation and potentially disruption of an industry. In fact, it’s interesting to compare Thomas’s views of the curve with comments from an analyst at IDC, who also addresses the strategic role of a CIO in a recent InfoBrief.

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One of the great things about open source is the speed and scale of innovation. In years past, organizations have been limited to the talent pool in those organizations. None of us can be as good as all of us; by tapping into the community, you can expand on the talent and innovation available to your organization. Open source is the key. 

By working with the community on projects such as Apache Spark and Apache Hadoop, we can see how together we can accelerate new capabilities for all of us. And to see just how far and fast these projects have come in a short time is pretty exciting. 

Moving a big component of the IBM product development to a new paradigm—working in open source communities, contributing code and ultimately building our product on top of open source bases—has been a strategic IBM imperative the last few years.

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