The Need for Change Has Never Been Greater or More Immediate

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Data, insights, and businessI’ve made the argument in the past the in order to grow companies need to embrace new business models that leverage information as an asset and revenue driver.

In a response to my post on digital growth insights about the subject, a commenter pointed out that companies have to be willing to change and expressed that the need “has never been greater or more immediate.”

As with all innovation cycles, the information services revolution will be adopted by innovators and early adopters before making it’s way to the early majority, late majority, and laggards.  There’s no doubt that driving revenue from information is the future, but, as a general statement, I do not believe that the need is more immediate now than ever before.

What I have witnessed firsthand at 3Pillar is that content-heavy industries, such as media, education, and information services, are innovating faster than others.  This makes sense.

The businesses models within these industries are already information-centric (they are in the content business). The innovation is around the revenue models and distribution channels.  As a result, content-heavy industries are well into the innovation cycle.

The innovators and early adopters are already in market.  Digital Media companies, for example, have totally disrupted traditional big brand media.  Online learning and now MOOCS, have begun to disrupt the status quo within education.  The early majority has embraced change and the need for innovation has “never been greater or more immediate.”

The second wave of innovation will be within data-intensive industries.  Healthcare, Life Sciences, Finance, and Insurance industries seem to be prime candidates.  These companies possess a tremendous asset in their data, they have a propensity to innovate, and they are currently searching for ways to differentiate through technology.  In order to sell their data, they must make it consumable — essentially  turn it into content (insights and information).

In these industries innovators are beginning to explore how to package their information to make it meaningful and how to monetize it.  Entrepreneurial companies are popping up that challenge the status quo, but the industry itself has not yet been turned upside down.  As companies learn how to package their data into more useful information and insights this will naturally occur.  They will innovate new business models.

Services, consumer goods, and a myriad of other businesses will begin to adopt an information-centric mindset as content-rich and data-intensive industries drive exponential growth as a result of their innovation.  These businesses will begin to leverage technology and their existing ecosystem to collect new information.

Of course, there are outliers across the board.  Nike, for example, is a consumer goods company that has already embraced information as a revenue stream (see Nike +Feulband). The Transportation and Logistics industries are well ahead of the other data-intensive industries regarding innovation.

There’s no doubt that it’s time to think differently.  Companies must willingly innovate; they must transform their fundamental business models.  Content-rich industries are behind if they have not started already.  Data-rich companies will fall behind if they don’t get started now. The remaining business world has an opportunity to leapfrog their competition.

Which one will you be?  An innovator, early adopter, or laggard?

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