Blog Trends

Chris Geiser’s Report from Impact 2014: Think “Composable”

What happened a couple of weeks ago in Vegas will definitely not stay in Vegas. The happening, IBM Impact 2014, one of IBM’s largest partner events of the year, focused on the concept of “composable business.” Composable is an IBM-coined term used to describe companies that create (or compose) business models that can move in more rapid timeframes while using more iterative processes, and with the goal of continuing to drive business results.

The “composable business” theme was largely a recognition of the new BlueMix platform and app marketplace that will allow developers to create iteratively released, cloud-based apps so that businesses can take advantage of the smart applications and services being rapidly developed by a large developer ecosystem. Without getting too deeply into the specifics of BlueMix, the app marketplace, and what they provide, I would like to share the larger concepts, which are extremely relevant and worthwhile to our clients at GLG.

Marketing’s Paradigm Shift

Throughout Impact and the ensuing Smarter Commerce Global Summit (which I also attended), the themes were very consistent, and very relevant. I don’t want to state the obvious, but the business landscape has completely changed, and the so-called “consumerization of IT” is leaving marketers with a plethora of technology choices not only for reaching customers but also for creating relationships with individuals instead of demographics. From a marketing perspective, there is a huge paradigm shift from reach and frequency to reaching customers at key moments, in the context of their activities, and adding value at those key moments.

The amount of information and ideas presented throughout these two events was tantamount to the big data concepts they each espoused. Ultimately, the biggest actionable ideas and concepts from both conferences were clear: reaching customers in context, developing an understanding of individuals rather than markets, and functioning under the overwhelming deluge of data that should have more business impact than ever before, if only businesses could harness that power for good.

Getting a Foothold

This past year, volumes have been written about how the ground has shifted from underneath us, and about the relationship between the CMO and the CIO. Who is buying what? Who should report to whom? CIO magazine referred to the postdigital era’s “five forces” (analytics, mobile, social, cloud, and cyber security), while at Impact, a pundit from IDC referred to the postdigital era’s “third platform” (the first platform being mainframe, the second being client/server, and the third being made up of cloud, social, analytics / big data, and mobile). Those concepts ring true in how the ground is shifting and what to do about it.

The Big Takeaways from Impact 2014

1. Marketing is no longer about markets or demographics, but rather about reaching customers in context and with the right content. Building a strategy for content marketing, mobile, and analytics to meet those needs will prove to be a differentiator for those companies that rise to that challenge.
2. CIOs have got to get on board and help CMOs and line-of-business executives innovate. While the CIO’s role is more challenging than ever, there is an unprecedented opportunity to lead and add pure business value through innovation, collaboration, and agility.
3. Mobile, mobile, mobile. The numbers continue to point to the consumption of data and content on mobile and portable devices increasing daily. Planning for extensibility from the ground up will ensure that companies are ready to meet and greet customers in context.
4. The big data dog needs to wag the big data tail, not the other way around. Analytics and data pros need to collaborate to provide the enterprise with real-time information that is relevant and actionable. All the data all the time will only produce confusion and misdirection. A concentration on what is meaningful is required, and the capabilities are there.
5. Businesses need to produce innovation in more actionable and snack-size bites (or bytes) that produce new features and iterations on a theme that evolve more rapidly. Capital reinvention in major releases is not a model that will sustain long-term innovation. Businesses and the technology that supports those businesses require continuous innovation and release.
6. Data security is everyone’s problem, and it is not going away! It is incumbent on all involved to sustain trust between companies and customers so that engagements evolve into relationships, and relationships evolve into advocacy.

Finally, I would like to paraphrase IBM VP Kevin Bishop. In introducing 10 new technology patterns that can be used immediately to help add value to business in the ways I’ve discussed here, he referenced the ideal concept of what to expect from the collaboration of CMO and CIO, and what you can expect from a working relationship with GLG: We are here to make the hard things possible, make the complex things easier, and complete the simple things quickly.

If you would like to set up a lunch-and-learn session at your business on any of the above topics, please drop me a line.