Organizations are increasingly able to gather and process information from a variety of new sources. But competitive advantage will still belong to those who know how to use it.
Business leaders often believe their organizations are swamped with business process information, but that information is a relative trickle, say the authors, compared with the wealth of physical-world, biological, public and personal-preference data that is being made accessible by powerful technologies. The sheer quantity of all this information is unprecedented, but so is the complexity of working with it. Yet, despite its volume and disparate nature, this data is potentially useful to business because the computing power necessary to merge, manage and make sense of it also has been advancing and becoming more affordable. On the basis of working sessions with hundreds of global organizations such as Best Buy, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., Ford Motor Co., the Irish government, Payless ShoeSource, UPS and Walgreens, the authors illustrate how forward-looking companies are positioning themselves ahead of this information curve by moving quickly and down two parallel tracks: increasing the company’s ability to gather and access new forms of data while simultaneously building organizational capability to use that data for insight.