Innovation at speed: Are you making it happen, or just skating along?

By Wyatt Urmey

Many talk about innovation at scale, but innovation at speed may be just as critical. Can your team innovate at market speed and keep ahead of client technology and changing interests? Success and failure in today’s market often depends on being the fastest, acting on data to synthesize meaningful insights before competitors without sacrificing accuracy.

While innovation at speed is best guided by a vigilant hyper-focus on the needs of your specific customers, does it seem like competitors are skating along with a great technological edge you don’t have yet? Is your technology advantage still wound up in older tech and siloed data that can’t provide the insight you know you need to compete?

With 72 percent of companies predicting their industry will be affected by digital intelligence in the next three years, companies are looking outside their industry for inspiration and answers to these problems.

One case worth examination is US Speed Skating in which the team uses a voice-enabled mobile app that helps coaches review athletes’ workloads and build training sessions. It analyzes skate times and performances while skaters are still on the ice.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Why should speed skating matter to me?” Speed skating is a highly competitive event and the difference between winning and losing a major race often depends on fraction-of-a-second performance differences. The solution US Speed Skating uses brings together technologies in the cloud to provide efficient management and data sharing with analytics that cut to the important insights quickly. This allows high-performance teams to adjust quickly to compete.

Whether the team is creating its advantage on steel edged skates or though the cloud, improving performance requires feedback. Analytics, IoT and mobile technologies combine to provide in-the-moment actionable insights to improve athletic performance and business outcomes.

CIOs often have innovation teams, but this doesn’t always mean their teams are innovative. With nearly every company in the possession of an innovative team, few organizations actually think they are innovative, as measured by results and impact. According to an IBM mobile and emerging technologies survey of global executives completed in March 2017, 95 percent said they have dedicated innovation teams, but only 55 percent would rate their own organization as being somewhat more innovative than their peers. And only 39 percent of the global executives surveyed reported that they significantly outperform their peers in revenue or operating efficiency.

Moreover, fast data gathering and analysis is a particularly difficult point for many companies. In fact, 59 percent of companies believe they lack the capabilities to generate meaningful business insights from their data at speed. As US Speed Skating shows, real data advantage is achievable where cloud combines with analytics and results are attainable and measurable.

So what can you do to increase your potential of success? Here are three ways:

Make sure you are measuring what matters

Many companies make the mistake of measuring metrics that are not actual progress. Measuring just the end point objective progress does not give specific insight into the sub-processes that could improve it. With US Speed Skating, the ultimate measure is winning and losing as well as their competitive times — however, to get to those measures they need to improve oxygen intake and athletic performance vitals.

Confirm your full view across the data vista

As companies often have built up data processes in departments, the first step to confirm full view across all data is by creating a unified and holistic view of your data record by record. For example, only 6 percent of marketers have a holistic view of the customer. Does your customer service see the same view of the data that tech support, maintenance and order processing would see? If all the data you need isn’t available, it may mean you need to take a smaller scope with your project.

Consider the cloud as a source and repository for data

Lastly, realize that there is data on the cloud that augments your current view and can allow for better insights by combining customer data with independent purchase histories of your client. When solving an analytics issue, it often can mean thinking about the data you have as well as your knowledge gaps and dream data. What would you like to know to solve this problem that you don’t know today?

Innovation at speed and innovation at scale are both essential to the success of your business. While you do have to ensure the technology you bring on board can scale, you need to move quickly to keep your competitive edge. Rather than leisurely skating along your digital reinvention journey, make sure that you measure what matters, confirm data visibility, consider the cloud for all of your data needs, and zoom passed your competitors.

Discover how to innovate by putting your data to work