What’s yours is mine
Hoarding huge amounts of data inside your enterprise does not create a competitive advantage. The real value from data comes from taking a collaborative approach to analytics. A significant shift is taking place – one that moves the
process of value creation from traditional physical supply chains and towards new collaborations that are based around data-led analytics. For business leaders, this shift represents a threat to the traditional ways of managing and operating on data.
Many businesses today view information as a post transactional recording of state. The exchange of data between organizations is often simply a functional request for service or the confirmation that a service has been delivered.
In the future, a new dynamic will dominate. Success will be dependent on the ability of organizations to collaborate and provide value through analytics held on disparate data sets. Companies that are unable to engage with these information flows, and add value in the process, will be disintermediated from value creation.
We see the potential result of this disintermediation in the replacement of traditional vanguard enterprises by more engaged, data-led pioneers. Signs of the shift, which we think of as distributed analytical collaboration, are already apparent.
Let’s get together, right now
First, the rise of ecosystems. Companies are collaborating to deliver new services and value to clients. An example includes Skywise, an open-data platform for the aviation industry, created by Airbus. Other new ecosystems will emerge, characterized by the generation of new business models that are based around the collaboration of information rather the creation of a physical object or service.
Second, the sharing of information is becoming restricted. Companies might have traditionally looked to share data at low volume to enrich existing datasets. Yet this low-level sharing is incompatible with increased digitization, where the sharing of data ceases to make sense when the data itself is the valuable commodity, and where data sharing risks falling foul of privacy legislation.
Finally, collaboration is now about the achievement of outcomes rather than simply the sharing of data. Historically, data sharing has been a single-step process, with collaboration based around the desire to report an outcome. Now, the focus is shifting – successful data collaboration in an age of distributed analytics means working together to achieve an outcome.
Giving your partners a fair share
Yet this shift in data use also creates a conundrum for business leaders. While companies must be able to engage in data-led collaborations, all is not necessarily well. Too many companies still find it hard to make the most of the data they hold.
Internal collaboration remains a key sticking point. Many businesses are unable to use their information across the organization, with data held in departmental stove pipes and disjointed views on customers. The result is poorly connected departments producing unconnected sales campaigns that rarely benefit from multi-site analytics.
Too many companies also still rely on copying data to enable analytics to take place in a central location. This
copying of data is incompatible with the ever-increasing volume of data held by businesses. Organizations will need to find new ways to ensure that analytics takes place on data in real time, rather than having to move it to a single location first to complete analytics.
In short, we are seeing a shift away from isolated walled gardens of information and towards a new value chain
based around negotiation between organizations and their data. This new collaborative approach means analytics must become an active participant in distributed value chains.
Analytics from one organization will need to run on the data of another, without the actual data being exchanged. It also means that these analytics will need to interact directly to negotiate overall outcomes and solutions that balance organizational needs and policies.
Everyone can benefit, so long as we know the rules
So, what will the rise of these collaborative analytic value chains mean for business leaders and their enterprises? We believe that this new area of analytical collaboration will support the creation of even more business models. As companies actively collaborate on outcomes across enterprise firewalls, data sets and geographies, new business opportunities will be identified and created.
Yet none of this is straightforward. Data security is a significant hurdle. Today, there are no standard ways to define security and policy at the data level, or to establish how analytical algorithms and machine learning solutions can interpret these policies. It’s also true that current design approaches focus on the transaction and human, rather than on the data itself. A new industry based around analytical collaboration design will be needed, with fresh ways of thinking about federated collaboration, and how such collaborations will be measured and constrained.
Finally, we will need to establish costing models for the value of data. Just as the market struggled initially to
correctly price e-commerce firms against traditional businesses, so new classifications will be required for
information supply-chain specialists and the value they create.
Best friends forever
Just as the internet pushed external collaboration around functions, and the cloud moved processing from siloed data centers to federated solutions, so the next generation of information supply-chain solutions will reduce the value of current approaches to data and require firms to adapt to a new business reality. To prepare for this shift, business leaders must ensure they have an internal collaboration network that supports value creation. If your enterprise cannot use data to collaborate internally, then you cannot hope to collaborate externally.