Change in the IT industry does not only come quickly; it is accelerating. We have reached a point in the IT industry where technology is not only revolutionizing what is possible, it is completely re-designing industries from the bottom up. We have discussed disruptive design a lot in the past (see our research on the topic here), but that is not the focus of this article. In this article, I will discuss how the IT change impacts today’s industries, and how those industries must move towards a data-centric model to continue being prosperous in tomorrow’s world.
Today’s buzzwords largely originate from the introduction of the cloud. The cloud gave the power of huge server warehouses to small- and mid-level companies, by introducing a pay-by-use model. To build a large data center, for example, a company only has to pay for what they use, as opposed to paying for a collection of machines (physical or virtual). Because of the introduction of cloud, everyone is now able to create cutting-edge, intensive, and scalable solutions with relative ease.
As a result of this accessibility, we begin to see huge interest in highly scalable technologies. Just analyze today’s buzzwords. The Internet of Things is notorious for providing huge quantities of data about an environment. Predictive and prescriptive analytics allow us to attempt to predict the future and make the best decisions based on those predictions. Artificial Intelligence learns from massive data sets, and applies that knowledge to never before seen problems.
Tomorrow’s world is all about data, and today’s companies should consider becoming data-centric to remain relevant.
When we discuss data centricity, there are two primary approaches that can be taken.
On one hand, a company may specialize in data that is proprietary, or otherwise hard to acquire. An automotive manufacturer, for example, may put sensors in their cars that detect driving habits. Such data would be very lucrative to automotive insurance companies, who would use that data to better understand what driving habits indicate risky driving, or correlate with more frequent insurance claims. Another example is social networks like Facebook, which turns user data into advertising profit.
Data consumers are companies that take large data sets and extract value from them. Healthcare companies, for example, can use health statistics and data to better respond to patient needs. Cities and governments can use social data to monitor, predict, and prevent increased crime by analyzing factors that lead to increased crime rates.
The IT industry continues to give us reason to reconsider how we approach our business models. Being successful in tomorrow’s world no longer means having the best product at the best price. Instead, being able to provide robust data or turn big data sets into value will be a very lucrative business model. Companies looking to stay relevant will need to consider the importance of data centricity moving forward, or risk being left behind.