Harvard Business School Study: Data Availability and the Ability to Analyze It and Act Fast is Determining Marketplace Success

The winners are playing chess with their data.
The winners are playing chess with their data.

The data avalanche will continue. “Ten years from now, our economy will draw from more than one thousand times the aggregate computing power that is available today,” a Harvard Business School study funded by Microsoft projects.

That compute power will create enormous advantages for companies that are able to harness data to their advantage, and the study, The Digital Business Divide: Analyzing the operating impact of digital transformation reports that among midmarket firms and enterprises in traditional industries, those that are further along in digital transformation are far outpacing those who are slower to embrace digital change in a number of meaningful financial and operating metrics.

The winners in today’s business world are playing chess with their data, and their complexity is providing big advantages over their less sophisticated, checker-playing counterparts. Leaders were companies that were further along in having the ability to collect, aggregate, and process data, gain real-time access to that data, generate predictions based on the data and act upon those predictions based on models created internally.

Simply increasing spend on IT was not enough. “Digital leaders” in the top quartile of digital transformation spent very similar amounts on technology in comparison to the “digital laggards” in the bottom quartile (3.5% of revenue vs. 3.2%). The execution of a sound strategy, not budget, is what separated the high achievers from those falling behind.

We frequently harp on the importance of getting your infrastructure right in your organization, which for many is a highly-available, hybrid blend of cloud and more traditional data center hosting. A sound, flexible, scalable infrastructure is an important foundation for the kind of digital transformation that is fueling growth of chess-playing businesses over their checker-playing counterparts that are lagging behind.