I’m just back from IBM’s Analyst Insight (see: http://storify.com/ragtag/ibm-analyst-insights-madrid-dec-4-5) – a meeting with analysts where IBM shares key insights about what we see happening in the marketplace, how IBM is positioned and where it’s heading.
A key question that came up from several analysts is what are the “real” use cases, what is it that clients pay for. And indeed there’s a number of Big Data projects already under way and we have a number of compelling stories to share.
However, it seems there’s still a lot of skepticism in the market and also among some analysts. Which goes back to the fact that a majority of companies still doesn’t see the value and asks for proof points.
In fact this is what we would expect with any technology driven innovation: First, there’s the innovators and then the early adopters that explore how the new technology could create value for them. Together, these two segements account for about 15% of the whole market. The rest, i.e. the majority, is waiting to see the proof points and asks these skeptical questions. Which means a majority of skeptics is not really a negative signal about neither the trend nor the market. It’s just natural in the early adoption phase.
What makes this phase exciting and interesting though, is that the early adopters are looking for fundamental change and big transformations. And there we see indeed a couple of good stories unfolding. More on that in a subsequent blog.
To understand the customer has always been important. But until very recently no company did more than segment their customers. No customer has been treated as a segment of one. Obviously there’s room for improvement if you have a million of customers but only 8 segments that you distinguish. So you may try to go to 20, 30 or maybe even 500. But why would it make sense to understand each and every one of those as an individual?
Obviously there’s no way to have 1 million different products or services to offer so that you could provide an exclusive service. So there will always be some sort of segmentation. But if you consider the factor of time – then you get the point: You need to understand what this individual most cares about NOW. Hence you have to have a much better understanding of your customers to serve them really well.
Each company has to rethink its Marketing Strategy. Social Media and Mobile change the way customers perceive, share, respond and act. Does this mean every company now needs to spy what their customers do on Facebook or Twitter? Certainly not. There has to be a transparent opt-in and a give and take of benefits. Information sharing for convenience, a nice experience or even financial rewards.
Now, how does big data come into the picture? To really extract meaningful insights from all that data – be it messages in social media, be it patterns of behaviour that can be inferred from the usage of a mobile phone – this all means challenges that have to be dealt with with a new kind of technologies – big data technologies.
I will come back to that in a future post. And I will try to keep my writing meaningful to a broad audience – not the IT professionals only.