Data of the Future and the Importance of IoT

Data of the Future and the Importance of IoT

Having just attended IDC’s Tech Outlook 2017 this week at the historic Merchandise Mart here in Chicago, I wanted to share some thoughts and summary for those who were unable to attend.

As we all know data is the life blood for most businesses and continues to grow in importance each day as technology evolves. Dave Reinsel, IDC Senior Vice President and the analyst leading the talk broke data into three consecutive “platforms”:

  • 1st platform: Large mainframes and server rooms from the 80’s
  • 2nd platform: PC/Client Server of the 90’s-2000’s
  • 3rd Platform: What we are seeing evolve today is made up of mobility, cloud, social, big data and analytics

This 3rd platform, of course, is the biggest growth area for the future and the one we are seeing evolve each day.  Dave stated that by 2020, this digital 3rd platform will drive more than half of all IT spend and 2/3 of all CEO’s will have this digital transformation as a key strategic focus for operations. Frankly, I was surprised to hear him say only 2/3… I would have expected something much higher.  With almost all of the clients we are engaged with today, making sense of these new sources of data and how to better use it to drive business decisions is a top 5 priority.  Any organization that works hard to remain current and focuses on the future is concerned with how to effectively use this information from the 3rd platform.  I think effective is the operative word here.  As those early adopters of IoT know well, it is not about just collecting data (though that can be a challenge in its own right) but about what you do with that data.  I heard it referred to as “context.” Data is not relevant nor does it provide value until there is the right context in place to which it becomes vital information.

The discussion this week recounted the evolution of data, starting with the initial focus on business data, to the Facebook and digital music era with the shift in focus to entertainment to the present where data is truly becoming critical and the lifeblood of our everyday needs.  The number of devices that are implanted in our bodies, homes, automobiles and hospitals is astronomical.  David explained the average person has 85 connected interactions a day, but in 2025 that number will jump to 4,785.  Wow!  Just think of all of that data – and surely we can’t store it all, but what are we going to do with it?  What value can we drive from it, and what sense can we make of even a fraction of that?  This is where analytics and data will get even more interesting.  One sobering and scary point suggested that with all of the listening devices that are being added to our lives, you will know more about your digital self than your physical self.  How well you sleep, exercise, eating habits and probably in the future how many times you thought about that vacation when you were supposed to be focused on work, etc.

As we all know data is everywhere and its importance only grows exponentially – the time is now to begin to prepare!

West Monroe Partners Advanced Analytics team provides an uncommon blend of deep technologists and business consultants who are business intelligence experts. Our approaches are tailored uniquely to provide sustainable solutions across various industries for our clients.

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