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Will IT become a revenue driver thanks to Big Data? It’s already happening

keithmacbeath.jpgBy Keith Macbeath, senior principal consultant with HP Software Professional Services

 

In my last post, I wrote about why your enterprise might need a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Integrating (and profiting from) customer data that sits outside the enterprise on consumer-facing platforms like Facebook requires a very different skill set from the traditional CIO role, which has thus far been focused on the data center and running large chunks of enterprise software.

 

When you have a C-level role looking strategically at different integration opportunities as well as how you use business data, IT can be a revenue driver. It’s very different for IT to be an active pursuer of revenue in collaboration with the business. But we’re seeing signs that this is changing.

 

A few months ago, French global investment and insurance giant AXA announced it was partnering with Facebook to develop its digital, mobile, and social footprint globally. This move, which some predict will turn insurance on its head, marks a new milestone for the importance of data integration.

 

A precedent in banking

In the past, we’ve seen attempts to capitalize on data in financial services. What’s different now is the existence of large-scale standardized consumer-oriented platforms like Google and Facebook. For the first time, you have these neutral third-party platforms that provide an integration opportunity. The question becomes, how can you turn that into a revenue stream?

 

I mentioned in my last post that banks have been at the forefront of these big data opportunities. Historically, banks have recognized that their businesses are built on data. They’ve offered products like dashboards so that customers (if they provide their account information and passwords) can see an integrated view of all their different accounts.

 

Of course there are drawbacks to the banks’ approach. Many sites, particularly in banking, have increasingly complicated logins, so ‘password based integration’ is of declining importance. The other is that customers are very sophisticated, and they’re wary of vendor lock-in. But with the AXA example I mentioned above, having a neutral platform like Facebook addresses these drawbacks.

 

Identifying opportunities

Today there are opportunities where you can link to a customer or a co-product provider and another business that your customer uses alongside yours. If you integrate and then jointly provide information to the client over a neutral platform, you are stitching together this data—whether it’s an analysis chain, a supply chain or a delivery chain. You’re making that available in a virtual world, which makes it easier for your customer than having to do it in the real world.

 

For industries outside banking, these integration opportunities are still emerging. You have to do some product opportunity analysis. It’s not about asking your customer what they want. It’s about stepping into your customers’ shoes and living your customers’ day and figuring out what would make their life better. Think about how that can then be translated into a virtual experience or something that can be executed on a digital platform. Most enterprises will not be platform players, but they could be the custodians or the coordinators of things that right now the consumer has to coordinate themselves—and as a result of providing that coordination they can get some kind of revenue stream from it.

 

Check out this article for more on how big data can drive your bottom line.

 

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Labels: Big Data
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