Real-Time is Money: Moving Up a Gear in Business Speed
Time is money. It’s a well-worn phrase but it’s never been truer. So true in fact that only real-time will be money soon. Society now moves quicker than ever. The continued growth in connected devices, their hyper-connectivity, their computing capacity and their rapid adoption in both B2C and B2B settings, is leading to a perfect storm that leave today’s organizations with only one choice: if you want to succeed, you must move at speed.
This acceleration is creating a new class of fleeting – though potentially infinite – selling opportunities. These opportunities will only exist for seconds, maybe even less, but will be critical as businesses aim to maximise revenue generating opportunities. Businesses will need to master technologies like predictive and prescriptive analytics in order to detect those ephemeral opportunities and exploit them in real-time. Otherwise, the opportunities will be gone. Some competitors will have taken advantage of them whilst others will not even be aware they ever existed.
Once again, data is at the heart of this advance. Taking the concept to the next level, organizations will be sharing and combining multiple data sources in ecosystem platforms, to derive new insights and create or identify business opportunities in real time.
What would this look like in reality? Consider a plane trip. You’re flying from Düsseldorf to Madrid for a business meeting. Knowing you will be in the departure lounge at a specific time the airline could offer you a discount code for a business magazine with content relevant to your meeting. And, wouldn’t you know it? during the flight, the meeting location changes! Your car rental company becomes aware of this, checks that only a train will get you on time to the new location, and suggests you cancel your car reservation and book a pre-reserved train ticket with a discount for on-board services (for all of which the car rental company will take a fee).
In parallel, the plane may self-diagnose that a potential problem will affect a specific part in about 20 operating hours and send a maintenance request to one of the next airports it’s bound for. Passenger feedback on the on-board menu will in turn be triggering enhancement decisions between the airline and the catering supplier which can be implemented in the next flights – down to individual traveller-specific actions.
To do any of these, companies must have a strong knowledge of your situation, preferences, needs and circumstances (what you can afford or are likely to spend money on). They must collate, exchange and process in real-time your data (and those of your fellow passengers), and do the same for all flight-related relevant data: catering, airport services and conditions, aircraft performance, and customer context.
The sophistication of the technology needed to achieve the above interaction is dramatically different from the current levels of most businesses and it will force many organizations to adapt their business models and strategies to take advantage of new revenue opportunities.
Data as a Differentiator
Hubert Tardieu has already discussed the rise of the Industrial Data Platform, and the concept of sharing data with the wider industry – an idea that will be critical in helping organizations to identify and act on these short-term business opportunities. Sharing production, usage, context and consumer experience data will be vital, though must be done in a secure and trusted way. To open up these opportunities there will be a diverse and complex ecosystem of partnerships.
Automation will also be critical, as dealing with the speed and volume of these opportunities in real time will far surpass the abilities of humans. The question of automation is an old one, as are the worries surrounding it, but it is increasingly important in all markets. It is a wide-ranging question and something I will look to address in my next blog post.
To find out more about how technology is changing our world, check out our latest Journey 2020 publication.