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Turning weather data into a competitive advantage

Weather has both negative and positive impacts on organizations that can translate directly to income statements.
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Why do so many executives get a shiver in their bones just thinking about the weather? It’s likely because weather often has a largely negative impact on business. Yet according to our recent research, that’s not true for all organizations. Many companies are turning weather data into a competitive advantage by leveraging insights to reduce costs and increase revenues.

Almost every weather-related headline in the media or corporate annual reports focuses on the associated negative impacts for organizations. And there’s a lot to report: in 2017 alone, there were 330 catastrophic weather events, 31 of which each resulted in damages of more than 1 billion USD.¹ Even “normal weather” impacts nearly every industry on a daily basis, whether through food and heating needs, rates of crop growth, or the efficiency of energy and transport networks.

Our research indicates that weather has both negative and positive impacts on organizations that can translate directly to income statements. And an overwhelming majority of executives say better weather-related insights can reduce costs and increase revenues.

So what’s holding them back? The executives surveyed identified six key business and technical challenges that inhibit their organizations from deriving more insights from weather data. Fortunately, these challenges are relatively easy to address. This report identifies lessons learned from companies that have successfully overcome these challenges and shares how actionable insights can help organizations quickly move from “blaming the weather” to capitalizing on it.

Just how are leading organizations successfully benefiting from weather insights to improve their bottom lines? Stop wondering if a hard rain’s going to fall and learn how to put weather to work for your organization.

¹ “Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight, 2017 Annual Report.” Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. January 2018.


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Meet the authors

Catherine Reese

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, Partner, Advanced Analytics Global Practice Leader at IBM


Len Polhemus

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, IBM Consulting Integration Executive - The Weather Company/Watson Advertising and Associate Partner at IBM


Dave Zaharchuk, Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

Gillian Orrell

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, Performance Data and Benchmarking Lead, IBM Institute for Business Value

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Originally published 01 June 2018