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What’s On Your Mind in 2016?
As we are now well into 2016, many have speculated what the top trends will be. I look at it a bit differently; I look at it as to what issues are on the minds within the C-suite? What is keeping us on our toes in trying to keep pace with the business’ needs of our organizations and the market? Let’s face it, there are always unknowns, but every business has to address a variety concerns to ensure continued growth and success.
While all of us have our thoughts, I believe there are a few we all are thinking about (or should be thinking about) no matter what type of business we’re in. In no particular order:
Cyber security is one of the greatest threats to a company's viability and sustainability. From a business perspective, the negative consequences cyber incidents can cause are disruptive and potentially catastrophic.
The questions we need to be asking are: Am I next? Am I doing all I should? Is our cyber game plan at the level it should be or needs to be? How do we know we were not compromised today? How would we know? What would we do about it if we were? Are we prepared to face the threat?
Then there are the privacy issues, new cyber security rulings and legal ramifications. With privacy concerns at an all-time high, protecting customer data and information is now front and center. Legal jurisdictions are starting to impose more rules that are more favorable to the preservation of customer privacy by restricting where and how data can be extracted and used.
Despite 2015 providing a large number of cyber security incidents, I think we will continue to see many highly publicized cyber incidents and many more that we won’t. We will begin to see increasing fines and prosecutions for cyber breaches and to help with increasing cyber compliance issues, we will begin to see the addition of cyber security and data breach reporting officers as part of an organizations business structure.
The value of taking additional measures to increase the cyber security posture within an organization, far outweigh the risk of not making them secure.
Agility is an underlying theme that covers many aspects. Companies need to be agile in how they respond to everyday business demands, to the unexpected and to the shifting market conditions. Organizations must be mindful to the needs, service and support of customers; product development and time to market.
Data has transformed the business landscape, as companies tap into increasingly broad varieties of structured and unstructured data with greater speed and sophistication. This data revolution has enabled companies to drive innovation, discover valuable new insights, optimize processes, and make better, more informed decisions.
Notice I did not say big data. Big data has been all the rage, but it’s no longer sufficient. Having a strategy for smart data is now vital. It is now about real-time, smart data that is highly valuable and delivered quickly and in useable and relevant formats.
Smart data is becoming a corporate asset and empowering companies to seek and make good fact-based decisions that drive better outcomes. Collecting it, storing it, insuring its integrity; analyzing it, and using it to make business decisions and develop strategy. Determining who controls and who owns the data and what is done with it will lead us down some interesting paths. Furthermore, as data velocity is on the rise, companies must be able to rapidly analyze it and get actionable advice instantaneously. It is not about more data, but rather asking the right questions to get the right data, understand it and help solve specific problems and address specific issues.
Analytics have evolved from just business analytics to business and operational analytics. Analytics has become a major force behind how business decisions are being made and for many organizations; analytics are looked upon as a strategic asset. The real value of analytics lies in the insights it yields and how well organizations can translate those insights into tangible benefits for their business.
Real-time analytics linking predictive insights to prescriptive actions is becoming the new normal. New analytics services and solutions are being born every day. However, there is a clear shift today towards analytics that makes use of both structured and unstructured data and draws from both external and internal sources. It is a new resolve to apply powerful data gathering and analysis methods not simply to a company’s operations but also to its offerings i.e. to embed data smartness into the products that customers buy.
In order to embrace today’s analytics; companies must prepare themselves by embracing an analytic culture in their organization and investing in technology that can manage data with applications at multiple levels.
The cloud is not new. It seems we have been discussing ‘Cloud’ for what seems like an eternity but the last two years have seen the adoption evolve. Many who have been holding off on cloud migrations are embracing it and launching initiatives in 2016. As they do, determining and delivering a platform and strategy that puts those resources to use to meet the needs of the business today and a year from now and five years from now and so on is a must. The challenge is defining which cloud initiatives will have the biggest and most immediate impact.
IoT is one of those movements that have had a strong start in what I refer to as the” hip and hype circle”. However, as IoT continues to evolve; it is not about being a revolution in technology, but rather an evolution in technology. As the evolution continues and the C-Suite wrestles with IoT’s potential and how it fits within their organizations from a product offering as well as a service offering, 2016 is the year of making the case for IoT as it moves to what I refer to is “the relevant and real world”.
IoT is contributing to a significant shift in the way people acquire information, interact with each other, and make decisions. It is enabling us to expand our reach to a range of equipment and devices that can gather and analyze data and react to that data in a variety of applications that we’ve never seen before. The Internet of Things is enabling us to move from connected devices to connected intelligence; it is allowing us to redistribute and process data independently at the edge and within the Cloud.
IoT is now firmly embedded in our lives. 2016 will be the transformational year when we go from “gee whiz” into practical, value applications and solutions. The real potential of IoT is how it can help us understand and do something with that understanding. It is the value IoT delivers; the customer value being delivered that are the drivers---not the connectivity or the number of devices. For businesses to make the most of IoT, they must be prepared to assess and quantify both the opportunities and risks it can create. IoT requires new ways of thinking. Despite the complexities of IoT, organizations will push forward with adoption plans. IoT has arrived, and businesses need to be aware of the demand if they hope to retain a competitive edge.
Our businesses are increasingly complex as is the pace of change continues to raise the bar for us all.