IBM reports another quarter and its revenues decline again. So far, so bad? I wonder. Here’s the thing: the future success of businesses will not be predicated on process (what they do) alone. More and more of our organizational success will be on the understanding of why and when- as in data, and the analysis of same. Thus process will remain important but knowing when to move/do, when to change/not-change, and how to react to responses will be more valuable.
So it is interesting that the future battle lines of the digital economy will be across access to data (the raw material asset) and the analytics (analysis of that data in context of a process). IBM has Watson as it’s primary or most advanced analytics capability. Google has Deepmind and there are other examples with less obvious names or more general techniques such as deep learning. But what about the data?
Did you know that IBM has been slowly, even quietly, acquiring more and more data about you and me? Did you know IBM had acquired some treasure troves of personal healthcare data in the last year or so?
- Truven, cloud-based healthcare data
- Explorsys, clinical data sets
- Merge, medical image processing
- Phytel, population health management
Oracle is also acquiring or licensing data too. It’s acquisition of BlueKai (data platform for marketing data) and licensing of related data is a similar move but more focused at consumer marketing processes and decisions. It seems some of the big vendors know that data itself might be as, if not more, important than the algorithm.
So don’t get too enamored just by the fancy names or approaches with machine learning. They are only one source of differentiation. Without the data, and the right kind and quantity of data, the algorithms will be starved of fuel. Hence the root of success in our digital future will be likely be centered on owning and accessing data.
Have you asked your strategic partners what data they own or have access to?
Inspiration for this blog: US print edition of the Financial Times; Big Read- Digital Healthcare
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