100 Executives from Fortune 1000 businesses were polled and asked one question….“Do you have a competitive data strategy?”
That question requires a definition: What is strategy? Michael E. Porter along with Jan Rivkin published a paper in conjunction with Harvard Business School stating, “Strategy is not operational effectiveness”. While operations are necessary, they are not sufficient nor a strategy. We agree.
For over 20 years data produced by technology has been a vehicle to drive the operational efficiency of business processes. As an industry, we have become masters of using IT operations to provide scale and cost savings for both complex and simple tasks. Furthermore, using multi-discipline partnerships and segment technology stacks worked extremely well for most IT executives, this approach has enabled the delivery of core applications to our business partners. However, it hasn’t provided answers. IT has made us more efficient, but now IT can lead revenue transformation with a better use of core data sets and external data sets using analytics, custom algorithms, and data science.
Operational Effectiveness vs. Strategic Positioning
CAVU is a flight acronym that stands for ‘ceiling and visibility unlimited’. At CAVU we would suggest we are in the midst of our Apollo moment in technology and data exploration.
1969 saw one of man’s greatest accomplishments achieved. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon a mere ten years after President Kennedy’s bold challenge. A relatively insurmountable task when you consider we hadn’t even sent a man to space 9 years earlier, and yet that year we were broadcasting to the world man’s first steps on the moon.
Yet the 1970’s were not as kind to our bold space explorers. It was not until the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981 when a new vision and strategy was employed to again challenge the fabric of mankind… this time could we live in space, not just travel in it.
Today we know the answers, successes, failures, tragedies and heroes of the global space community.
Including most recently Chris Hadfield’s amazing journey as chronicled on such earthbound technology like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. However, it took the reinvention. Mercury, to Saturn, to Apollo, the Shuttle and now Expedition 35 on ISS. Along the way efficiency was driven. The standing joke of millions of parts built by the lowest bidder is well known and a relative comparison to how most IT departments are run today. Cost reduction is the goal and less focus on revenue creation. However ,data science, algorithms, and analytics are changing that.
So why is this our Apollo moment?
If general strategy isn’t efficiency, then it is:
- Unique competitive positioning of assets or services (internal and external)
- It is being activity focused on business outcomes, not technology outcomes (customer insights, financial alignment, and results)
- Clear differentiation from competitors, is your IT department differentiated to what can be consumed from the market? Are you providing strategic new services or just better efficiency? Are you leveraging data for competitive advantage?
- Sustainability of strategy is not a one-time process, but a series of activities /partnerships (hypothesis to analytics to custom algorithms then insights and then run the loop again)
- Operational effectiveness to deliver outcomes is a must, but quantifiable and qualitative in nature. Where virtual health care services are enabled in the field, or financial services firms are using AI cognitive agents to detect market trends, or governments are connecting traffic lights with traffic flow to enable connected cities through data science models.
If the last twenty years has been our Apollo mission in IT, then what’s our next frontier? Gartner would suggest Digital Media. McKinsey & Co. states data science and analytics.
CAVU Global would agree with these analysts, but our goal isn’t just academia, but actual implementation.
Our goal is simple. Not to tell “what” needs to be done, but help people with “how” use their data and publicly available data for the betterment of society.
The answer to our opening question?
The majority of Executives in Fortune 1000 said “no” to having a formalized data strategy and road map.
Have a question or a problem? Ready to unleash “The Power of Answers” Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org