Innovation, Schminnovation

The Wall Street Journal recently published an op-ed titled “Beers, Bras and Brats.” This is a story about the perils of businesses that rest on their laurels. Brands such as Anheuser-Busch, Kraft Heinz, and Victoria’s Secret have enjoyed decades of success in their respective markets. But all of their stocks have dropped 30% or more in the past year. Why? Because they don’t innovate. They don’t sense and respond to changes in customer attitudes and preferences. We see this phenomenon in all kinds of markets. It’s why direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands such as Allbirds and Etsy are thriving, and incumbent companies can learn from them. Every once in a while, we need this reminder: Businesses that don’t innovate won’t survive for long. Adaptability is the key to sustainable success.

AI Pushes Out To The Edge (Atoms Get Their Revenge)

We’ve been on a digital bender for the past 10 years or so; in fact, many clients are experiencing digital fatigue as big transformations turn into a continuous slog through years of core system neglect, scattershot analytics investments, and a bevy of emerging technologies that seem at once distant and too close to ignore. If you were hoping for a solution, we’re going to have to disappoint you. It’s time to pile on. In our new report, “The Revenge Of The Atoms,” we continue exploring a theme that got started with the report, “Use IoT To Link Physical Operations And Digital Business“: What happens when digital and physical come together? We think it means that, as the age of the customer matures, firms that deploy machine-learning algorithms out to the edge will gain back power they lost to customers in 2010. Why? Because pushing AI out to the edge can bring automation and intelligence to almost anything, giving leaders an unprecedented advantage. But it isn’t a quick win; deploying machine learning to the edge will make digital even more complicated.

Can IBM Pivot To Business Reinvention?

IBM hosted its big Think conference in innovative San Francisco and not stodgy Las Vegas. We hope that’s a metaphor for IBM’s future. The company has earned a place in the panoply of computers, software, and services to become an important partner for you. IBM has earned the right to be a strategic partner to 26% of you. (The next biggest is strategic partner to only 17% of enterprises.) But IBM has a tough road ahead to capture your innovation dollars and attract the attention of the next generation of companies and executives. We saw some good signals: the rise of Red Hat at the center of a multicloud management strategy, the use of AI in processes, Watson and blockchain on any cloud, and analytics solutions. But we’d like to hear more from IBM about business reinvention and how it will build solutions and not just software, services, and data to help you solve the big problems that lie ahead.

Google Helps Ease Edge Compute Investments By Open Sourcing Its SDK

One of the challenges enterprises face when investing in emerging tech is the maturity of the technologies and worries about them having proprietary tie-ins that limit their appeal. To address these concerns, Google has open sourced its Cloud IoT Device SDK, which will broaden its appeal and application throughout edge compute categories. This toolkit helps developers connect, provision, and manage edge compute devices via Google Cloud Platform (GCP) storage and AI services. Customers are billed based on the amount of data transferred to and from these devices connected to the GCP Cloud IoT Core, with discounted rates as they consume more. By open sourcing its SDK, customers can now plan their innovations, building off GitHub-published summary examples, and deploy their solutions without concerns of vendor lock-in.

Does The D In CDO Stand For Digital Or Disruptor?

The role of the chief digital officer (CDO) is relatively new, coming to life in the last decade but really taking off over the past few years. Now, a recent article on highlights the key traits for CDOs to be successful in delivering a complex role. Looking at the list, there are two themes that stand out. First, successful CDOs are business leaders who drive digital across the enterprise; they work across the ecosystem, partner broadly, and bring key digital talent into the organization. Second, these CDOs understand technology and data and use this knowledge to drive greater returns that are difficult for competitors to match. The combination of these traits provides the impetus for CDOs to disrupt the existing fiefdoms, a necessary task in order to win at digital transformation.