The IDC Asian Financial Services Congress 2012 (AFSC) brought together thought leaders from the financial services industry across Asia-Pacific. The event enabled more than 500 attendees to network, learn and share best practices to address unique challenges in the 21st Century.
The rise of Big Data was a recurring theme recognised to have major impacts on future business. As a trend, Big Data was discussed in depth at the congress. There was an overwhelming consensus that Big Data and analytics can no longer be left at the fringes. It was clear that organisations had an urgent need to quickly bring it in from the fringes and create the internal mindshare to monetise the true value of Big Data. The region’s financial services organisations made it clear they plan to put Big Data to work http://www.ap.afscongress.com/2012/.
This was a critical factor that everyone understood to rest solely within an organisation’s control. Their success and competitive advantage will ultimately depend on their ability to grow and make data centric capability a core competency.
Many organisations had a very strong reliance on third parties for creating new knowledge and innovating in the data space. The market shift to a data intensive society has caught them on the back foot. Additionally, businesses across a wide range of industries are not aware of the speed at which data centric innovations and digitisation are occurring at born digital organisations disrupting markets (e.g. Twitter, Cloudera, Facebook, Google, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Bitly and many others.).
The old business models that outsourced data centric knowledge and innovations worked well before the global financial crisis (GFC), but they are not sustainable anymore. As the trend of Big Data continues to gain momentum it will expose organisations’ weaknesses and threaten future growth as they will be slow to adapt to change continuing the loss of competitiveness. In essence they will have failed to recognise that Big Data is a by-product of the digital age and, given enough time, it will encompass the entire future world of business. This too was a common theme that reverberated at the World Economic Forum 2012 in Davos Switzerland. In a report it suggests Big Data is a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold http://www.weforum.org/reports/big-data-big-impact-new-possibilities-international-development .
A critical factor highlighted in my presentation at the congress was the importance of staying on trend in this new era. Organisations at the congress understand how significant it is that they figure out creative ways to make use of Big Data. Sustaining competitive advantage will come down to organisations’ ability to monetise Big Data as it has become a critical ingredient for the successful execution of future business models.
For instance, American Express is harnessing social data fom Twitter in creative and disruptive ways. The thinking behind their recent business extension into the twittersphere provides a nice vantage point into how organisations can monetise Big Data and put it to work for growth. They’ve converged Big Data on-premises and off-premises to extend their digital presence across social web channels. This is enabling their organisation to connect with social customers and merchants in relevant ways http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/06/amex-tweet-savings/ .
The various parts of an organisation’s business operations (e.g. marketing, sales, human resources, product development, contact centre and finance) must become tightly integrated across multi-channel touch points to ensure that when decisions are made or interactions happen, all parts of an organisation work together to cohesively and adaptively respond to change.
According to Peter Drucker “a time of turbulence is a dangerous time, but its greatest danger is the temptation to deny reality” (Drucker, 1980). Organisations at the congress recognised they must leave past practices behind and expand upon or create data centric capability that is aligned with the new realities of Big Data. This transformation in thinking will call for new mental models and approaches that will enable organisations to sustain future competiveness. Organisations need to build their business ecosystem for what the world needs today and tomorrow.
The bottom line - organisations need to stay on trend in this new era. They must work through what the Big Data trends mean to future business to determine how best to charter a sustainable course underpinned by a holistic Big Data Strategy and Data Governance. It’s clear the region is looking to further expand its use of data centric capability. This aspiration is further reflected in the recent IDC Big Data Technology and Services Market Forecast that suggests the market “represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% or about 7 times that of the overall information and communications technology (ICT) market” http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23355112 .
This explosion of data is creating a winner takes all market. Given enough time the entire world will head towards digitisation and organisations that are slow to adapt will continue to face extreme headwinds as they struggle to move Big Data from the fringes and build mindshare to monetise it.