Big Data — Little Action

Big Customer Data–Little Executive Action

Tech innovator IBM announced this week it will invest $3 billion USD over four years to create an Internet of Things business unit to help clients make better business decisions. The Business Standard reports the cloud-based platform IBM is creating is designed to help clients and ecosystem partners built IoT solutions.

Gartner reports that by 2020, 30 billion wireless devices will be connected on the Internet of Things. Cisco estimates that by 2020 the IoT will generate $14.4 trillion in incremental revenue. While those number are staggering, what is equally surprising is IBM’s estimate that “90 percent of all data generated by devices . . . is never analyzed or acted on.”

Soliciting (or secretly gathering) customer feedback becomes little more than a waste of resources and an annoyance for the client if the customer does not see clear, decisive action taken as a result of consumer input. It appears our problem is not as much a lack of quality data as it is a gap in our knowledge, ability, or willingness to act on what the data is telling us. Terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes of customer data may tell companies as much about themselves as they reveal about their customers–and executives don’t like what they are learning. Data provides knowledge that changes thinking. New thinking leads to better behaviors. More effective behaviors lead to different results.

It doesn’t take a $3 billion investment before companies can make better business decisions. The decisions that drive exponential growth are those that help an enterprise become maniacally customer-centric and visibly responsive to customer input. The Internet of Things will transform how we conduct business. Responding to what we learn will multiply who we get to do business with.