Love, sister…it’s just a swipe away

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wpid-thumbnail-c95e97a3f0e7682ccb755b173550ee7e-500x333The Rolling Stones 1969 classic song “Gimme Shelter” was about mood, mavericks and movement away from mayhem.  Rolling Stone magazine said at its release,  “The Stones have never done anything better” and the song has become an anthem to evoke storm clouds and the change that follows. 

Perhaps its greatest contribution to culture, though, is the Stones’ transparency, and how they communicated in the song itself how such transparency can temper the euphoria and exuberance surrounding many movements.   The belief that self-organizing information can overcome the need for any control often becomes the tipping point brought about by merging technology and behavior.  The song (and movie) “Gimme Shelter,” offers the audience the choice: change, if you revel in chaos, is a shot away or, if you embrace thought, is a kiss away.

For audiences in 2016, data on the edge represents our option in the face of change.  Born in the Cloud — social feeds, beacons, sensors and 75 billion devices online — this raw and unstructured information offers us as consumers and businesses unprecedented choice for how we buy, market, sell and service, all 24×7.  Harnessing all the data assets they bring to bear, retailers will engage us this holiday season before we walk into the mall during product research, while we are in the mall determining our preferred journey, while looking at goods on a rack by accessorizing and when we leave the mall by delivering curb side service.  Is it creepy or is it creative?  As a consumer, I choose creative –– my version of the kiss in “Gimme Shelter”– and here is why.

Never before has rich data had the ability to distinguish between a high-involvement (contemplation a priori) purchase and a low-involvement (replenishment) purchase.  The secret lies in how a thoughtful interaction with your customer, one involving data + insight, frees them up to make better purchasing decisions that they feel good about in many days to come.  Value is unlocked on two sides by cognitive computing and the data in the cloud that feed it, where low-involvement becomes fully automated and high-involvement becomes accessible.

Cognitive computing fueled by data on the edge will herald in unparalleled customer experiences, ones that allow consumers to swipe through a personalized set of insights on their phone, smart watch or other device to ultimately reduce friction from the shopping experience.  The choice is ours as consumers and businesses.  This data, just like dark matter in the universe, makes up 95% of our world.  Though we can’t see it, it is there, and harnessing it to give us insight allows us to OutThink our challenges and our competition by making better decisions and gives us the thoughtful alternative in the wake of change. 

A glimpse?  Come to Westfield Centre in San Francisco this holiday season between 12/7 and 12/24 and experience in person the Gift of Insight fueled by these technologies.  Everyone is invited and, in fact, since I remain a diehard Rolling Stones fan, I will go to the mat on one more point.  I dare you to not hum Mick Jagger’s famous words as you take shelter at Westfield Centre and delight in our data-driven gift suggestions this holiday shopping season. Thanks to The Gift of Insight, better purchasing decisions and better customer insight are just a metaphorical kiss away.

Vice President, IBM Cloud Marketplace and SaaS

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