Most of the IT systems we’ve deployed are operational at the core. They enable processes. The data they hold is internal in nature.
That’s all well and good, but in these tough economic times, CEOs want more.
They want new opportunities, new value delivered, and a smarter organization.
The problem with that is, there’s no one in the business that can give you requirements for it.
So let’s — as IT professionals — think about what might help. This, after all, is the same problem as Sony had with the original Walkman: no one knew they wanted portable music until they could see it.
Your enterprise’s business leaders are going to need some starting points to be able to get to the point of telling you “I want that”.
So here are some logical starting points. Not all of them pay off equally: they depend on the nature of the organization you work for.
Most enterprises don’t have a commanding market share. Even a WalMart, for all its retail prowess, never got close to getting 50% of all retail sales — and it’s now struggling to combat competition by dollar stores.
How could you provide information that tracked and compared the market your company doesn’t have: the sales it didn’t get, the price points of competitors and alternatives, etc.? Could your business find opportunities if your inner data and this external information could be melded into a picture of the market as a whole?
Most enterprises think of social media platforms as a marketing problem (which, by the way, is why social media continues to flop around for most corporations). What if you could gather up the comments made about the firm, analyse them, compare them to patterns in the streams, and look for weak signals of changes in public perception.
Could graphics that showed “the mind of the world” help more than a brand page would?
How are your costs relative to others? Are they in line? How do you know? Are you trading off too much quality for too little savings in production costs?
Being able to answer these questions could help the organization make better decisions.
We’re in an age when IT inside the enterprise will be more about the Information part of its title than the Technology part. These are examples of what that can mean — and every answer you can deliver is also enterprise differentiation, something to make you unique and thus safer in a world of turmoil.