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Business leaders admit ‘we’re not ready for digital future’

21 Apr 2015

A ‘new world order’ is putting data at the centre of everything, but the majority of business leaders admit they don’t know how to gain real insight from that data, according to a new report from EMC.

The Information Generation: Transforming the Future, Today, says 49% of business leaders admit they don’t know how to get value from their all their company data.

The global research from Institute for the Future shows 52% of the 3600 business leaders don’t use their data effectively, or are drowning in information overload. Only 24% of those surveyed considered themselves ‘very good’ at turning data into useful insights and information.

Even though 70% said they could gain insights from data, only 30% were always on and able to act upon the information in real time, and are unable to achieve this very well and company wide.

Industry analysts have predicted that by 2020 more than 44 zettabytes of data – or 44 trillion gigabytes – will have been created, leading to a world in which nearly every element of life will be data driven.

Arron Patterson, EMC New Zealand chief technology officer, says New Zealand businesses recognise the opportunities created by turning customer-driven data into useful insights, but whether they’re using all the information presented to them the best way is another question.

“Companies that can adapt to the evolving demands of consumers will keep up with the pace of the information generation,” Patterson says.

“The ability to spot new opportunities and innovate in an agile way will be critical for any business. Cloud computing is already paving the way for some, and real-time, data driven decisions have become the norm for these organisations.”

Patterson says new technologies will continue to modify the information generation expectations over the next decade and businesses across New Zealand will need to transform to meet these demands through the use of cloud.
Make or break business attributes
Unsurprisingly, 96% of the business leaders surveyed believe new technologies have forever changed the rules of business. In addition, 93% reported that recent technology advancements are resetting customer expectations and nearly all say this will accelerate over the next decade.

The top reported customer expectations were faster access to services, 24/7 and ‘everywhere’ access and connectivity, access on more devices and a more unique personalised experience.

The report says businesses agree that transformation is critical. To be a disruptor, and not disrupted, business leaders have identified five ‘make or break’ business attributes, all with information at their core:
- Predictively spot new opportunities in markets
- Demonstrate transparency and trust
- Innovate in agile ways
- Deliver unique and personalised experiences
- Operate in real time.

But while business leaders agreed the attributes were high priority, they admitted that very few have embodied them. When asked whether they address the attributes both very well and company-wide only 12% said they can predictively spot new opportunities, 9% innovate in agile ways, 14% demonstrate transparency and trust, 11% deliver personalised experience and 12% operate in real-time.

“There are strong signals of a move toward a world in which nearly every element of life will be data driven.

“Individuals and corporations will sell, donate and trade information on open exchanges. Inanimate objects will sprint to life all around us, becoming more aware, responsive and connected.

“Decision-making will be enhanced by artificial intelligence in ways never seen before. Information will be communicated and absorbed through multiple human senses.

“Customers will be able to better control their own privacy through new tools. In this new world order, value you shift from products and services to the information they generate.”

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