10 Insights: A First Look at The New Intelligent Enterprise Survey

How do you win with data? MIT SMR surveyed global executives about turning the data deluge and analytics into competitive advantage. Here’s an early snapshot of how managers are answering the most important question organizations face.

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Last May, at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium main-stage discussion on “Emerging Stronger from the Downturn,” one panelist listened with a growing private smile as his fellow speakers described example after example of how technology-driven information and analytics applications were transforming their companies. The stories were of data and analysis being used to understand customers, parse trends, distribute decision making, manage risk; they foretold of organizations being reinvented and management practice being rethought. They told of change, basically. A lot of it. Driven by ever-emerging technology and the new things it could do.

That was the point at which the panelist, a multinational industrial COO, turned to the audience and unofficially summarized, “So, the lesson: If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

He’s right. Change is here. Failure to adapt means irrelevance. Time and progress march on, but at a Moore’s law pace instead of a clock’s.

SPECIAL REPORT This article is a preview of the full report: “Analytics: The New Path to Value” />

However, the focus on exactly what’s changing can be misplaced. For all the swiftness with which technology is shifting — getting smarter, more powerful, more cognitively “human” — it’s sometimes true that the attention we pay to the next new technology is a distraction. It distracts us from the changes that organizations could make with no more new technology at all — the changes organizations could achieve just by capitalizing on how current technology can enable them to capture, analyze and act on information. (Though the “just” in that sentence may be ill-advised.)

MIT Sloan School’s Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, talked about that kind of change in an interview with SMR:

“Although most of what I’ve been talking about has focused on changes in the technology, I think the biggest changes are going to be in the way the companies use the technology. If some catastrophe happened and technology just froze for the next couple of decades, I believe the pace of organizational change would continue just as rapidly, because we have so much catching up to do.


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Comments (5)
Ravi Shankar
Despite overwhelming objective evidence, yet few of the Forutne 100 firms have made any progress by way of creating an opening of "Chief Analytics Officer".

Unless this happens, analytics will be outside of the mainstream corporate psyche & its real power & impact rarely recognized & appreciated.

Garbage in - Garbage out.
Knowing what data to collect, analyse and draw knowledge (or derive intelligence) from remains the challenge. So observation 4 is fundamental, the technology and peripheral processes are much less challenging.

Jeremy Wadlow, Tasmania, Australia
Viktor O. Ledenyov
The new intelligent entreprize, which will use the cloud computing in application with quantum computer networks for data management and analysis purposes will gain considerable competitive advantege over the competitors.

Viktor O. Ledenyov, Ukraine
Paddu G
I agree with John (above commenter). The terms 'analytics' more numbers and charts to people; if that is what it is meant into be, then I don't see anything from the past; except a few new acronyms.

In my view, intelligence is more important. Unless people (workers, managers, executives) understand the intelligence behind the analytical numbers, nothing much will change. Boom and Bust cycles in the economy will come and go; new research will be performed and presented. But nothing will improve materially from the corporate best practices and work culture perspective. Technological innovations are not add-ons; these are part of maturing humanity and growing intellect.
John Todor
I concur that that outcomes are critical. I do, however, think that the emphasis on analytics will misleading to many who see it as the crunching of numbers about the past. The thrust seems to be aligned with what Karl Weick called "enacting", acting to learn. I would also suggest that it requires learning to become an integral part of work, not learning it or this, but implicit learning - learning or assessing the implications or possibilities brought on by change or innovation.

John I. Todor, Ph.D.