What’s struck me in the past years is how the tools we have at our disposal, at a societal and corporate level, are insufficient to solve the big challenges we face. We see this with the pandemic, climate change, social inequity and much more. And, more recently, in the disruptions in supply chains, which have created global shortages of key components and materials. To solve our biggest issues, we don’t have a choice but to get together and create joint, interwoven solutions.
In the corporate world, we are also seeing big changes, where competing as usual is a race to the bottom. On one end, you face large tech giants (we all know the names) that cut across industries leveraging their data advantage. On the other end, you face start-ups, pumped up by seemingly unlimited amounts of VC backing. Both these two are often allowed to bypass normal criteria that others are forced to live by, such as profit or revenue, as long as they show momentum on usage and data collection. Any organization with a survival instinct squeezed between these two dynamics should feel a sense of urgency.
The significant tech modernization seen over the past 18 months – described in our previous trends' post “the great digital switch” –has accelerated digital transformation and unlocked unprecedented innovation opportunities. Big data, AI and automation are no longer elusive, but there for the taking in this race toward digitalization. In one Gartner survey, 77% of CIOs say that they are in the process of reaching the "next normal"; however, there are plenty of challenges you can’t buy your way out of. A recent IDC survey revealed that in much of the world “finding talented and skilled employees” is the most significant obstacle to achieving business goals. It is no longer enough to innovate within the four walls of your organization. You need to think bigger.
All of this should lead up to the realization that you can’t go it alone. If you are not part of an ecosystem, you will struggle. But it’s not enough. To remain a force to be reckoned with, you need to partner, to interweave with other entities, to create resilient “ropes,” or value chains. By combining your capabilities, you can pool resources, open-up new opportunities, and harness data that you would have been unable to collect alone. This will increasingly be the product/service that you’ll provide. Ray Wang of Constellation Research describes this very well in his new book “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
What happens when you take a new, interwoven approach to solving problems? Is this just fantasy? Well, we saw it happen on the world stage with the development of COVID vaccines, when pharmaceutical companies formed joint ventures and partnered with academic institutions to accelerate development. We saw it when individual investors banded together to topple the hedge funds in their shorting of GameStop. And, we see it in open-source intelligence communities, which The Economist recently reported on, where academics, activists, journalists and data scientists are collaborating for the greater good. This interwoven approach is the catalyst for accelerated digital innovation – and it’s your way forward in an interconnected world. The API economy opens entirely new possibilities, and, in this year’s trends, we highlight 10 trends in data and analytics that will help make this possible. For more detail, do not miss our eBook and my upcoming webinar on January 11, 2022. Learn more about the trends here.