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IoT necessitates new Information Strategies

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It’s been very interesting to watch how some organisations have managed to demonstrate the value of information – while others are still struggling to organise their strategies in order to try and reap the rewards that data can offer. In this post I explore why an information strategy is necessary, especially in an organisation that wants to harvest large amounts of data from the IoT.

I say ‘interesting’ because I still get asked if it’s necessary to devise and implement an information strategy in today’s fast changing business and data climate. The typical follow-up question is whether the information strategy doesn’t quickly become obsolete. However, having been in the BI industry for over a decade and a half, where I deal with data, information, advanced analytics and all sorts of new data-related discoveries on a day to day basis – my answer is still a firm yes, regardless of who is asking. But how you manage that information strategy has certainly changed.

According to Gartner’s predictions, by 2020 the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital business will drive 25 percent of the requirements for new information. I certainly concur, especially as the IoT can be exploited to transform mundane service offerings into world class offerings based on a much wider and wiser utilisation of information. This already happens to an extent in the retail industry, where some retailers are using data analytics applied to quite a wide data set in order to better understand their customers. This enables them to better position targeted offerings to their customers – in most cases leaving their customers happier in the end.

While the uptake of analytics has been significant in some industries, many organisations still struggle when figuring out how to leverage the data generated by the IoT. This is where an information strategy becomes key. For example, if you are a business that generates a lot of data, which does not get analysed and recycled back into operations, then the value of your service delivery may decrease over time, which in turn could affect opportunities for the business and thereby the bottom line – and all of this because there was no information strategy in place to filter out the unnecessary information and help the business focus on the information that can actually open up real opportunities.

Following this, we also know that many organisations are still getting to grips with managing data and information as an asset. Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in many organisations have indicated that there is growing recognition that information is a strategic business asset and so strategic initiatives that can exploit this information and improve business outcomes are being examined. Again, where data from the IoT is involved, an information strategy will assist the organisation to identify the strengths and weaknesses in its data and information management. This allows them to see the ‘bigger picture’ on where accurate decisions on aspects like employees’ morale or improving services can be made. The information strategy gives the organisation the strategic approach to turn such a wide and at times disconnected data set into more powerful and useful insights.

However, many organisations still grapple to manage this with ‘standard’ internal structured data – primarily because they have no strategy in place, or because they do not manage their data and information according to the strategy. So, as organisations embrace IoT data, creating and actively using an information strategy becomes even more of a necessity. IoT data is more voluminous, more complex and the value therein is sparser than in conventional data sources – therefore it needs a more focussed strategic approach to reap the value from it all. Of course, with the IoT and digitalised business, the information strategy needs to be a ‘living lifestyle’ of managing the information strategy and its implementation. A static signed-off document on the shelf is not going to cut it.

Concluding remarks

Remember, data is the lifeblood of any organisation. But if you don’t manage and analyse the data correctly how can you determine whether the organisation is able to create or capitalise on opportunities?

We live in an era where moving data visualisations and active charts is the future that drives business value – especially as data will only continue to increase. So if business executives want to get ahead incorporating IoT data into those delivery platforms, then putting in place, improving and managing according to a dynamic ‘living’ information strategy will become imperative.

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