Twenty-five years ago, in her pioneering study of the sociological impact of computing on the workplace — In the Age of the Smart Machine — Shoshana Zuboff defined the term “informating” to describe the generation of meaningful data by devices in the workplace that are engaged in production activity:

The devices that automate by translating information into action also register data about those automated activities, thus generating new streams of information. For example, computer-based, numerically controlling machine tools or microprocessor-based sensing devices not only apply programmed instructions to equipment but also convert the current state of equipment, product, or process into data.

What seemed arcane and only marginally useful in 1988 has moved front and center in today’s Boundary-free Enterprise™. Saugatuck’s research and analysis shows that BI and analytics  - i.e., capabilities that enable Zuboff’s “informating” -  have been among the fastest-growing Cloud-based business management solution types through the current year. As of YE 2011, only about 13 percent of enterprises worldwide – including all industries and all sizes of enterprises – had Cloud-based BI/advanced analytics solutions in place and in use.

Additionally, our 2013 global survey indicated that Big Data / Advanced Data Analytics, Integration skills, and rigorous Data Management are seen as enterprises’ keys to competitive success. Yet nearly 60 percent of companies surveyed report that they are concerned that they may not have the skills necessary to effectively implement and utilize these capabilities.

We also learned in our 2013 Global Survey that through 2017, an advanced and secure ability to access and utilize any useful enterprise data and applications via multiple types of mobile devices and networks will provide competitive advantages to those enterprises. After 2017, these abilities will be considered competitive necessities (see 1258SSR, Evolving the Boundary-freeTM Enterprise Cloud IT Adoption, Use, and Benefits, 29August2013).

This creates an interesting, rising tension between the firm belief that advanced analytics will be critical to competitive success and the concern that enterprises do not know how to put that in place. Clearly, this is an opportunity for the Analytics as a Service and other related advanced analytics capabilities of the GSIs, such as technology transfer, consulting services, managed Cloud services, BPaaS and BPO.

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This blog was originally published at Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on December 17, 2013. Published with permission.

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