One of the benefits of being a part of a truly global company is the ability to talk to world-class organizations around the globe. Not just “big business” or the “enterprise,” but amazing companies of all sizes, across multiple types of industries. One key thought-leader and SAP executive at the center of many of these conversations is Steve Lucas. Steve helped synthesize these problems during a sit down last week.
Their biggest dilemma is one which everyone is talking about: Big Data. What do companies do with the monstrous amount of data available to them across a variety sources? Just about every movement a person makes online can be tracked – but what is valuable and what is just noise? How do we make that data actionable with our people in our organization – from those high atop our corporate headquarters down to our service and support people in the field, those in the center of the action?
When you listen to those disparate voices, you start to see patterns: patterns of need, patterns of business problems. One of those patterns rises to the top.
It is the “design pattern of the decade.” Every decade has one.
30 years ago it was all about this new thing called a database. We were amazed you could collect and then search on stuff.
20 years ago it was all about this new thing called analytics. We were amazed you could not only collect and search on stuff, but you could start making smart choices about what people did.
10 years ago it was all about this new thing called predictive analytics. We were amazed you could not only collect, search and analyze past behavior, but you could now have some insight into what people would do next.
Now it is all about this new thing called sentiment analysis. We are amazed you can collect, search, analyze and predict, but now you can tell how people feel about their decisions – to connect with your customers in ways never before dreamed. You can achieve a level of engagement never before experienced with the market and your customers.
The design pattern that allows this to happen has 5 components.
- Database – where you store all this great data.
- Application Platform – what allows you to access this data by vast infrastructure.
- Business Applications – what gives you your lens into this great data.
- Analytics – what helps you understand your customers.
- Mobility – what allows your organization to make this insight actionable where and when it matters most.
80% of business problems are solved with this design pattern. Think of it like this: Big Data, analyzed in real time, through the cloud, and sent immediately to a mobile device (to your folks with the smartphones and tablets.)
Does this solve every issue in the marketplace for every business? No. Alas few things are 100% of everything. However, 4 out of 5 of your business problems can be solved by knowing how to collect and analyze all of this data, and get it to your people to allow them to make smart decisions which will impact your customer relationships.
Does this sound familiar to you and your business? Steve has this conversation over and over again. His advice is simple: Ask yourself who is innovating in these areas? Who is making strategic investments to create, align, and integrate these 5 layers? Who sees it all, from the big picture all the way to the tactics right alongside with your people in the field?
Your problems are tough, but your answer shouldn’t be.
Interested in learning more? I will be covering SAP’s SAPPHIRE and SAP’s TechEd conferences here in Madrid this week. Follow me on Twitter @toddmwilms or connect on LinkedIn at any time. I would love to collaborate with you on these ideas.