i3 | April 26, 2019

Staying Competitive in a Connected Business World

by 
Scott Steinberg

Hello Internet of Everything. With more than seven billion devices connected online, according to IoT Analytics, and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated every day, how can your organization stay competitive when customers are providing real-time feedback? 

The answer: make data-driven design and flexible IT infrastructures the cornerstone of your business strategy. With the growing advent of 5G, automation and robotics (major themes at CES), learning to effectively capture, analyze and capitalize on data in real-time is vital to success. Leaders should consider the following strategies to function more adroitly.

1. Take a Long-Term View

Think how data can be applied to support your firm. Could another department or business venture

benefit from the information you’re capturing? When crafting an IT infrastructure and data management strategy, consider how data can be applied to achieve larger goals instead of just immediate objectives. Build IT support systems with the capability to tap into external sources of information (e.g. third-party plug-ins or information feeds) as well. It’s imperative to craft data management solutions that successfully capture and leverage information in myriad ways.

2. Get Your Team Onboard

Individuals in an enterprise with different priorities are often involved in making IT decisions. To reconcile these disparities get all stakeholders involved in the process and promote teamwork. Creating cross-functional teams and sharing information gives you deeper insights into your organization’s needs, which will help you focus on completing a common goal.

3. Start with the End in Mind

Businesses often build new high-tech solutions first, then try to figure out what IT and data management needs to support these ventures. Instead, determine what resources are needed before crafting new apps, products or services. Ask: Have I considered its characteristics and functions, and crafted a data and IT infrastructure that aligns with its needs? Also, remember that solutions you create will generate data and need to scale as time passes.

4. Iterate, Don’t Reinvent

Many companies start with an established base of data management and IT tools. Rather than starting from scratch, look for ways to build upon them, slowly rolling out new business functionalities. You might start by adding an online storefront to your website before implementing a complete end-to-end inventory management system. Similarly, you might provide targeted promotions to customers before launching marketing tools with personalized offers.

5. Embrace the New Normal

IT infrastructures that offer endless uptime, flexible blueprints and unlimited growth are the gold standard. Any framework you implement should adhere to specific guidelines. All should be contextual – able to use data insights to provide personalized interactions to users without hiccups. Similarly, any platforms you implement should be based upon distributed operating architectures to ensure always-on, high-speed performance, so interactions happen in real-time. All solutions should be easy to update and expand with your business.

The more you plan around similar concepts, the better your business will be able to compete.

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