Tag: innovation

Innovation at the IBM Smarter Industries Symposium

IBM Smarter Industries Symposium
Photo credit Tom Raftery

I attended the inaugural IBM Smarter industries Symposium recently and the major talking point that emerged from it was Innovation.

The event was a nice mix of presentations by IBMers, customers and “breakout exchanges” with a healthy mix of both.

Almost all of the speakers talked about the increasing complexity of doing business today. Frank Kern, for example, mentioned that 79% of CEO’s expect high level of complexity in the next 5 years but only 49% say their companies are prepared for it! Interestingly, 60% of those say that what is needed to combat complexity is creativity!

Ginni Rometty talked up the need for businesses to become smarter and provided a three-step roadmap for them to become so. The steps consisted of

  1. Instrument to manage
  2. Integrate to innovate and
  3. Optimise to transform

Basically, Ginni is saying that organisations need to digitise all aspects of their business, integrate the data streams from this instrumentation to take advantage of it and then use things like predictive analytics to transform from being reactive to being proactive. Predictive analytics are already being used by the New York police department, Frank Kern reminded us, to predict where the bad guys will go after they commit crime!

Ginni used the example of the Singapore Land Transport Authority’s bus arrival predictor (98% accurate to within a minute up to an hour ahead of time). This was deployed around the same time as congestion charges to encourage people to use public transport. Not only can you quickly see up to an hour ahead of time when buses are due, but the system can also give you an idea of seat availability – how’s that for predictive analytics?

Organisationally, the rollout of analytics is transformative. It leads to smarter decisions – ones based on data, not the HIPPO principle (HIPPO = Highest Paid Person’s Opinion!).

In the Capitalizing on Complexity session there were speakers from 1800-Flowers and Texas utility Oncor – two very diverse businesses, I think you’ll agree. Chris McCann of 1-800Flowers said when they realised that their business is not about delivering flowers, but delivering smiles, they quickly expanded the range of smile-giving products they deliver! He said their future is a combination of social media and commerce – a mix he referred to as social commerce.

Because Gen Y doesn’t make purchasing decisions before checking with their network…