Big data has given businesses a window into valuable streams of information from customer purchasing habits to inventory status. However, internal data streams give only a limited picture, especially with the growth of digital businesses.
Gartner has identified three trends that describe information’s ability to transform business processes over the next few years.
Our predictions include:
No. 1: By 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80 per cent of business processes and products from a decade earlier.
As the presence of the Internet of Things (IoT) — such as connected devices, sensors and smart machines — grows, the ability of things to generate new types of real-time information and to actively participate in an industry’s value stream will also grow.
Customers, employees, and citizens will become engaged principally through digital means. With operational processes quickly becoming digitalized, traditional analog and manual processes will be automated, including both physical and human elements. Many, if not most, decisions will be algorithmic, based on automated judgment.
Essentially, things become agents for themselves, for people and for businesses. Think of the car that alerts emergency services and an insurance company or the smart thermostat that schedules service. The added connectivity, communications and intelligence of things will make many of them agents for services that are currently requested and delivered via human intervention.
No. 2: By 2017, more than 30 per cent of enterprise access to broadly based big data will be via intermediary data broker services, serving context to business decisions.
Digital business demands real-time, situation-awareness. This includes insights into what goes on both inside and outside the organization. How do weather patterns impact inventory? More so, how do this season’s customer preferences as expressed in social media suggest greater or lesser inventory?
The enterprise data available in organizations’ vaults is increasingly insufficient to provide the kind of context awareness able to support competitive digital business in marketing, transportation, financial, manufacturing, healthcare and other business decisions. However, the broad scope of externally accessible data is highly fragmented, voluminous, “noisy” and distributed. It is found in hundreds of thousands of Web and social sites, open government data, and premium data prepared by increasingly powerful data brokers.
Enter a new category of business-centric cloud services that delivers data to be used as context for business decisions, human or automated. These information services (or data/decision brokers) will become an essential part of intelligent business operations and smart business decisions.
Your company’s biggest database isn’t your transaction, CRM, ERP or other internal database. Rather it’s the Web itself and the world of exogenous data now available from syndicated and open data sources.
No. 3 By 2017, more than 20 per cent of customer-facing analytic deployments will provide product tracking information leveraging the IoT.
Fueled by the Nexus of Forces (mobile, social, cloud and information), customers now demand a lot more information from their vendors. The rapid dissemination of the IoT will create a new style of customer-facing analytics — product tracking — where increasingly less expensive sensors will be embedded into all types of products.
These sensors not only provide geospatial information (where the product is right now) but also performance information (how well the product is functioning). My new SUV is en route and currently in Arizona, or my new car is ready for its first oil change. This creates an opportunity to improve transparency and strengthen customer and partner relationships. It can become a key differentiator and a key part of your business model.
Doug Laney is a research vice president for Gartner Research, where he covers business analytics solutions and projects, information asset valuation and management, “big data” strategy, and data-governance-related issues.
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