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An Inquiry to Remember

by Andrew White  |  March 5, 2014  |  2 Comments

They do happen.  Client (end-user) Inquiries which are just priceless.  I had a call to close out Tuesday’s busy schedule.  It took me back to my roots.  The initial question centered on a wide ranging conversation concerning the future trends related to how retailers will, in the future, gather product data from various sources and share it through several or all channels (what some now call omni-channel).  More importantly, themed users’ perspective was that historical efforts were oriented around how a retailer’s goal was to pile inventory high and sell it.  The future will be about how to interact and influence prospects in a digitalized world.

This ended up a wide ranging conversation.  It was a really rewarding for me since it it was futuristic to the point of thinking aloud about how the retail/supply chain industry might be re ordered if information that underpins it changes value and importance.  For example we explored:

  • the role and unfulfilled promise of Global Date Synchronization (a form of digital commons)?
  • why is it that most firms limp along with dubious, at best, data quality?
  • why is it so hard for enterprises to collaborate on joint business processes?
  • what role, value and lack of leadership associated with (information centric) industry standards play?
  • what would it take to shift enterprises from their current fixation on enterprise business applications and associated information?
  • what would it take for interested stakeholders to cooperate and even collaborate on shared multienterprise processes focused on sharing information?
  • how to shift the industry forward to recognize the need to govern and share public, community based information and yet also private, partner specific information, even in the same infrastructure architecture?

The dialog was not about big data or cloud or mobile.  They were taken as environmental conditions.  The conversation explored the role and nature of information that powers how an industry operates.  That’s hot!

This was a conversation.  It was not an inquiry where I answered all the questions. Jointly we explored the edges of reality and poked around at the edges.  But it is rewarding to hear end users who have the right questions.  And also they want to think about the answers.  I wish more visionaries like this sat on boards of the right consortia and standards bodies.  Things might actually change for the better.

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Category: competitive-advantage  consumer-goodsretail  global-data-synchronization  industry-design  information-advantage  information-exchange  information-innovation  information-leadership  multienterprise  omni-channel  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on An Inquiry to Remember

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