The transformative value of data

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The transformative value of data

Today, organizations in the industrial-related industries are dealing with unprecedented external challenges from both traditional and new market entrants, that is resulting in the need to redefine their relationships with their customers and also reinventing how indeed they deliver their core services.

In IBM, we see our customers driven by these outside-in demands creating completely new trading relationships and offerings made available through the exploitation of emerging exponential technologies like Big Data, IoT, Blockchain, Automation as well as the maturing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We believe that the next generation of IT, what we call the Cognitive Enterprise, is powered by this transformative value of data, augmented with new technology capabilities, enabled by the continuous emergence of Cloud Computing.

Let’s explore this in a bit more detail.

You have no doubt have heard the phrase of Data is the New Oil. What this translates to is largely how we use data and the knowledge of the organization as a natural commodity that you own today, and to turn this into differentiating value.

Today, only a fraction of data is used for defining business strategies and ways of working. The data we use is largely an aggregation generated by transactional systems. By re-inventing how our customers use the data they have, supplemented with external data, we can create new business models e.g. data monetization approaches, reimaging our relationships with our existing and new customers.

DID YOU READ: Chatbots: The Modern Artificial Intelligence Helper

Let’s look at an example of this. The Norwegian company, Yara, has for over 100 years been selling fertilizer to their distributor network, a classic B2B business model. However, using the abilities provided by Big Data, Yara, is working with IBM, to use their data, enhanced by weather data, sensor data and geospatial data. This is then turned into new insights using their agronomists knowledge to define new personalized precision farming recommendations that is then sold to their new farming B2C customers across the globe. This is a great example of how data is creating new business models and new client relationships for our customers [1].

Another example of how our customers are using cognitive technology capabilities powered by data is the Finnish client, Kone. Working with IBM, Kone is using the data that is captured from the sensors in their moving solutions, like elevators, lifts, to support constant availability. When there is readings coming back from the sensors, the Artificial Intelligence solutions can define if there is a likelihood of an upcoming fault, or there are external factors influencing the readings e.g. temperature fluctuations, where the right decision is made about the need for service maintenance [2].

These predictive maintenance solutions powered by IoT, Data and AI, is allowing our clients to shift their business models from selling products to selling outcomes, e.g. uptime of machines, which completely redefines their relationships with their customers.

Lastly, we see now our clients exploring how they can revolutionize their internal ways of working. Industrial clients have for many years been heavy users of ERP systems like SAP.

Driven by the shift to S/4 HANA, we are supporting our clients adopt capabilities like Automation, and Artificial Intelligence, powered by data, to create Intelligent Workflows that completely redefines the human-machine relationship.

What this means in simple terms, is that the we are re-engineering the traditional core processes like Finance, Procurement, Sales, Supply Activities. By putting the employee at the heart of the assessment, we are eradicating the manual, non-value adding activities so that allow more of the daily operations to be made available to driving value-adding outcomes.

If you want to hear about the transformative value of data, and how this can support your objectives in working smarter internally, or in changing your trading relationships, then please reach out, the author or to your local IBM organization – we are here to serve.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Distinguished Engineer, Global CTO - SAP Services, IBM

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