Innovation and the Power of Data By Pradeep Bhanot December 15, 2020 What is innovation? Innovation is doing something new that does not currently exist or something new that improves efficiency, effectiveness, cost, and/or creates a competitive advantage. A new method, process, product, or service can be considered an innovation. This also includes the integration of different markets with the utilization of a new product that services both markets. An example of this is the cellular phone market, which has leveraged and integrated other markets such as photography and electronic payments on one mobile device. These innovations have created a new mobile device market, making the cellular phone market almost obsolete. There are many other examples of innovation in many start-up companies. Some companies have leveraged cloud computing to deliver products or services without having traditional on-premises IT infrastructure. Others like Uber, Getaround, and Turo have innovative business models in use such that they do not own any of the major assets required to run their business, such as vehicles. The opportunities for innovation are everywhere and in everything. The caution is that a consumer may not need every innovation. Someone can have the world’s most creative idea for innovation of something, yet it may never be adopted. There are also barriers to entry into various markets that can be obstructed by many constraints and challenges. Consumers and businesses need specific product and service benefits to accomplish their outcomes and may want products and services that are not necessary. Needs and wants are fulfilled through market offerings in which constraints are managed. Maturity and innovation It is hard for an organization to mature and innovate if the organization uses most of its resources for fire fighting, including data analytics. The organization has to have some stability in the markets that it serves. The products and services also have to provide the basic needs and wants of its customers; otherwise, the company may end up just trying to keep up with its competitors instead of getting ahead of its competitors. To innovate, organizations must have strategic intent on innovation and invest budget for innovation-related activities, including the data acquisition and analytics needed. The challenge is, where should the organization invest? The question is, should it be in new products, services, processes, or in other areas? The answer cannot be found just by simply guessing. Organizations should always do strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis at strategic, tactical, and operational levels. It is not good enough to only do this analysis at a strategic level in the organization. It is also a mistake to do this analysis at any level without external market data to back up findings. Organizations may find that they need to evolve existing products, solutions, or practices; or completely throw out and transform how they currently do things or deliver products to their customers. Survival of the fittest can be defined by the ability to innovate rapidly. Data trending to the next innovation An enterprise data-driven strategy can help with next-generation innovation in your organization. Collected data can help with accurate decision making for innovation initiatives. Trends can be easily identified, and actionable decisions can be made. Here are some of the steps; Collect and pay attention to organizational metrics in all areas for continuous improvement. Define market spaces and adjacent market spaces – The adjacent spaces give insight into possible market integrations and innovation possibilities. Categorize the data based on market and services, then further based on each capability in the service or product. Measure, collect, and integrate the data with the intent to innovate, not just for organizational health. Some of the questions to ask that need data support; What is the difference between the benefit that a consumer gains for using a product or service and the price? Can the markets that the organization serves be integrated and simplified for the consumer or the organization? Data decisions; Anticipate demand for a new product or service Set measure success criteria Look at data trends across the organization. Note the constraints to performance, efficiency, effectiveness in each area. Create service-oriented and customer-oriented integrated data maps to other supporting data. Tie the trending data into organizational value knowledge for strategic, tactical, and operational innovations, including budgeting decisions. Empowering data for innovation The most reliable way to make innovation decisions is to base the decision on enterprise-wide integrated data. Actian DataConnect makes it easy to connect operational data from any data source and transform it to facilitate effective data analysis. DataConnect makes it easy for data-driven enterprises to design, deploy, and manage data flows across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments. Bringing together internal operational data, customer requirements, and external market data innovation investments can be funded and assessed more effectively. Meta description: Actian DataConnect makes it easy to connect operational data from any data source and transform it to facilitate practical data analysis to drive innovation. About Pradeep Bhanot Product Marketing professional, author, father and photographer. Born in Kenya. Lived in England through disco, punk and new romance eras. Moved to California just in time for grunge. Worked with Oracle databases at Oracle Corporation for 13 years. Database Administration for mainframe IBM DB2 and its predecessor SQL/DS at British Telecom and Watson Wyatt. Worked with IBM VSAM at CA Technologies and Serena Software. Microsoft SQL Server powered solutions from 1E and BDNA.