Industry talking to customers What's this? Making the difference between leading and lagging Published: June 1st, 2017 By: Suzanne Robicheau Fast flowing data is transforming the face of business in our new, interconnected world. With a digital component to almost every conceivable business transaction, savvy leaders recognize the importance of staying ahead of the curve.In the webinar Why Differentiated Computing Matters Now More than Ever, IT expert Doug Kinnaird leads a conversation aimed at identifying and implementing solutions that simplify technology infrastructure, provide flexibility for growth, and contain costs.“Data is the new natural resource,” says Kinnaird, a cloud and cognitive technical lead with IBM Canada. “The shift to a more digital form of globalization changes who is participating, how business is done across borders, and where the economic benefits are flowing. With very little capital or resources, anyone can tap into new data and technology in the Cloud, rapidly enter new markets, and potentially upend markets with the next big idea.” Related : Watch the webinar on demand Kinnaird references a 2016 McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report saying that in the last decade alone, the amount of cross-border bandwidth used has increased by a factor of 45 (Digital globalization: The new era of global flow). According to the report, digital flows now have a greater impact on GDP growth than the trade in goods.The good news is that businesses are ready for Cloud cover, with 95% of enterprises surveyed claiming they use some form of Cloud. As a result, these businesses can now operate anywhere in the world and partner with anyone in the world. The obvious upside is lower costs, but there are many other advantages to fast-flowing data, including the ability to adopt more flexible operational processes and create a more compelling customer experience.Clouds on the HorizonThe reality of digital transformation is that most businesses are invested in five or more clouds – a multi-cloud strategy that extracts additional value by including both private and public sources to access new data, applications, and services. Built for the cognitive era, the IBM Cloud is positioned to offer users maximum flexibility in navigating these multiple Clouds. When it comes to AI, for example, the IBM Cloud offers advanced capacity for language, vision, speech, and empathy. And because every business is different, IBM’s AI is not limited to its own data, but can be customized to the user’s specifications using unique data and classifiers.Success, according to Kinnaird, depends on putting more insights into the hands of more people across the organization. For the IBM Cloud, this translates to removing data silos and blending data from multiple sources to promote better collaborations and achieve unexpected insights.Once touted as a cost-cutting measure, Cloud is rapidly gaining a reputation for changing the dynamics of digital globalization and competition. Kinnaird describes the importance of bringing together existing investments in data and applications with new methods of engagement in order to enrich the customer experience and reimagine business practices. In his estimation, the way in which businesses choose Cloud strategies will have the greatest impact on their long-term success and make the difference between leading and lagging.