Change today is more complex, faster, and harder to predict than ever before. Consequently, competition in business has never been more demanding. The only antidote to this increasing volatility is data.
Every industry will be transformed by data. Perhaps the Madison Avenue Mad Men were the first to suffer the disruption introduced by the analysis of ones and zeros, but they certainly won't be the last. Uber assailed the taxicab industry and felled a decades-old, iconic yellow-taxi business in San Francisco in just a few years, without owning a single taxicab.
Disruptors, like Uber, deploy data supply chains that nourish data cultures. Within these crucibles, data democracy thrives. Managers of retail stores use data to maximize customer satisfaction, introducing hand sanitizer in the winter at Warby Parker. Merchandisers at The RealReal change their inventory and optimize their marketing techniques at 4 p.m. to ensure that every day the business achieves its revenue target.
Operationalizing data, using data to improve the business's performance, will be the defining competitive advantage of the future. No longer are we using data to evaluate our trajectory in the rearview mirror. Instead, new data infrastructures powered by next-generation databases and data-exploration tools expose information to the people on the front lines, how and when they need it to decide—in minutes, not weeks.
This unquenchable thirst for data is a cultural change ...