January 18, 2013 – The Society for Information Management, a non-profit group of IT leaders, says the potential of real-time information feeds calls for organizations to understand and exploit tools and data sets in order to create a digital data stream strategy. 

A report, issued by SIM’s Advanced Practices Council and authored by Gabriele Piccoli of the University of Sassari in Italy and Federico Pigni of the Grenoble Ecole de Management, points out that customers and also machines are increasingly acting with informational as well as physical presence. The endless transmissions generated in logistics, readouts and monitors of human behaviors, while constantly evolving, are already ripe for strategic initiatives.

The study is meant to create awareness to the phenomenon and the authors urge organizations to circle up and take action.

“We have something new here we should be preparing for, scouting and searching for,” says report co-author Federico Pigni, associate professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management. “We are at the beginning of a lifecycle that is just starting to understand how value can be created and issuing the call for businesses to actively look for it.”

The report identifies five value creation archetypes or templates for value creation using digital data streams. They include DDS generation (stream origination as a result or byproduct of activities); DDS service (provisioning data streams for consumer use); DDS aggregation (harvesting one or more streams into platforms such as data.gov for additional insight and public sharing); DDS efficiency (optimizing performance and reducing waste through stream tracking); and DDS analytics (processing and visualizations to reveal superior insight).    

Further, organizations need to understand the value drivers for each archetype in order to innovate and add value. SIM’s research found four immediate value drivers in real-time sensing, real-time mass visibility, real-time experimenting and real-time coordinating. For example, in the case of real-time mass visibility, if one vehicle can be located, it is possible to locate all vehicles and pattern congestion or other temporal insights.

The report distinguishes DDS from “big data” by describing the former as a subset of the latter with uses standalone or in aggregate where value can accumulate by compounding locations, with landmarks, with weather, etc.

Pigni sees both internal and external data streams as components to a strategy and suggests opportunities for traditional companies and new service providers in both unique data sources and platforms. He points to the example of TomTom as a provider moving from devices to services as an example of this opportunity.

The authors recommend firms develop capabilities pertaining to data streams in four areas: identifying data sets; creating the ability to find and use tools appropriate to the source; skills and competencies to orchestrate complementary resources; and a mindset and readiness that includes a willingness to invest and face risks.

More information is available at www.simnet.org.