Data will drive future successful enterprises

Data analytics will become a core part of all successful businesses in future, predicts IBM CEO, who believes such enterprises will carry three main characteristics.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Data analytics will be a key aspect of successful businesses and drive three characteristics all market leaders will have, according to IBM's top honcho. 

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Making her keynote address at the IBM InterConnect 2013 event here Wednesday, IBM chair, president and CEO Ginni Rometty said "smart" businesses of the future would change in three ways:

1. All decisions will be data-driven

Rometty said every single decision made in an organisation, whether it was to buy another company or keep an employee, would be driven by the information derived from big data analysis.

"All of us are going to have more complex decisions to make in a much more complex environment. Those that choose to be a smarter enterprise will get the chance, I think, to make the right decisions and it will be the basis of competitive advantage," she said.

She pointed to Singapore's National Environmental Agency as an example of an organisation that used predictive information as a driver for its decisions. Here, big data could be used to predict the outbreak of dengue fever and identify key clustered areas that require the organisation's attention, she noted.

2. All products and services will have intelligence

For every single offering developed by a business, data analytics would be involved in some form or another--whether it was used to create a whole new product or influence the final design. To explain this point, Rometty used the example of the humble car battery and how a smart version might be developed.

"A smart battery is all about a big data problem," she said, listing driver behaviour, road condition, battery status, and charging conditions as just a few points of data associated with the component. "With that data, you're going to predict the life of the battery, new materials to make the battery, how to manufacture it, its size, its shape--it's all a big data problem."

Similarly, she added, anything a business does will be made smarter.

3. Businesses will target individuals, not markets

Unlike the current practice of serving a customer segment or market, future smart organisations will focus on an individual business, with data analytics driving such activity, Rometty said.

One emerging example of this was Malaysian telco, Celecom, which currently examines its mobile subscribers' habits and on the date of service expiry, sends a customised renewal package based on information about the customer, such as usage behaviour, she said.

Data analysis can be extended beyond customer service toward improving employee relations. One-on-one interactions would also apply to how organisations engaged their own staff, Rometty said, who believed an engaged employee will drive customer experience and this, in turn, will drive business results.

"I can see one-to-one societal engagement because there's a new generation of global citizens out there," she said. "Societal engagement will matter to all enterprises and particularly for those of us hiring millenials. The millenial generation deeply cares about social engagement and social responsibility, and this will be a way to engage that workforce."

Michael Lee travelled to IBM InterConnect 2013 in Singapore as a guest of IBM.

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