The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

The advent of the action based economy


plugging in economy.pngI’ve mentioned before the blurring of the edge of the enterprise. This was once the domain of large organizations like the Walmarts and DoDs of the world, but now is reaching down into farms, hospitals and smaller manufacturing organizations. With more sensors and greater mobility comes and ever more granular understanding of what is going on in the environment and all businesses are starting to catch on to the value.


I recently received a survey from my utility provider asking me about the level of automation and sensing I felt comfortable with in my home. Essentially, they were trying to determine how I perceived the rewards for participating in their efficiency efforts. For them it lowers their need for expensive infrastructure build outs, for me it could lower my monthly bills. The options available ranged from controlling the temperature of my home for small periods (essentially letting them have greater granular control of consumption) to installing solar panels on my home (addressing more granular supply side control).


This more connected, Internet of things (IoT) view of opportunities for a business can take on a number of opportunity dimensions:

  • Business: addressing business specific goals and initiatives

  • Market: opening up new markets and relationships

  • System: additional architectural flexibility using Machine to Machine (M2M) techniques to more efficiently use the resources of the organization

  • Security: there are actually opportunities for greater security with these techniques than the manual processes of today

If my utility company views these new capabilities as critical to their success, I bet almost every business has opportunities that are being overlooked. This more connected world is about taking action not just supplying greater insight into what is going on. Some people talk about this being a data economy – I’d rather think about it being an action-based economy. Those who can make better decisions faster will win. More data is just a side-effect of that process.


I am going to be speaking at a CIO conference in Dallas on Friday and one of the things I will stress is that these things are coming. They will change the role of the CIO, but if the focus remains on driving business outcomes, our organizations will be ready to take advantage of them.


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