Does the early bird really get the worm? According to a recent Harvard Business Review report they do, if that bird is an early adopter of technology. The report from HBR Analytic Services titled, The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage, states that according to their survey, companies that adopt the newest technologies are more likely to grow their revenue and improve their market position.
Executives, top-level and mid-level managers from hundreds of medium- and large-sized companies in the USA and around the world responded to the survey. Each company self-categorized its corporate posture as “IT pioneer” (34%), “follower” (35%), or “cautious” (30%). Each participant was questioned on the degree of adoption in their company of what the report calls the “Big Five” technologies: mobile computing, social media and networking, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
The results show that early adopters of technology experience the most growth. Overall, the IT pioneer companies grew twice as much as the followers, and three times as much as the cautious. Linking this growth to the adoption of new technologies, the report states that over half of the IT pioneers had made technology-powered changes to their business models or to the products and services they sell. On the other hand, less than a third of the followers implemented such changes, and only about one-tenth of the cautious did the same.
A Holistic Solution
Tony Recine, Chief Marketing Officer of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, the company that sponsored the report, made this comment: “The value of these new technologies lies not in what they can achieve on their own, but in their combined power as a holistic solution.”
Indeed. That is our vision as well. Each one of the “Big Five” technologies has significant value, and combining them offers a huge advantage to any early adopter ready to move quickly ahead of his peers. For example, linking machines to other machines, passing their data to the cloud, running real-time analytics on it, and putting the results into the hands of any user with a smart phone is no longer a futuristic vision, but reality. Consider the following scenarios.
1) A machine operator on the factory floor in Germany gets an alarm on his tablet PC. As he walks towards the problem area, he runs live analysis on the data coming in from the system, comparing it to historical data, and doing an archive search on similar scenarios. He also checks with his colleages at branch plants in the UK and Canada, and looks at how their systems are performing at that time. Based on all these inputs, he can make a more informed decision about how to respond to the alarm.
2) Every few seconds each panel on a large, interconnected installation of solar arrays sends details about cloud cover and other local weather conditions, as well as the amount of power generated at that moment. This data is pooled and analyzed by big-data applications to determine the cost and output of any part of the system in real time. Management and customers can view up-to-the-second output trends and statistics for their area in a web browser or phone.
3) A water resources management company relays pump-station and tank-level data from small local utility companies to remote agricultural facilities using that water for irrigation. Farm managers and utility executives alike are given access to the relevant data for their systems, allowing them to monitor the entire supply and usage matrix, and collaborate on adjustments in real time, when necessary.
This kind of scenario, and many more, are possible. The technology is here. Secure access to in-house, remote, and M2M data via the cloud, redistributed to qualified users anywhere, is what the Secure Cloud Service is all about. Now it’s just a question of who adopts it, and when. And as we have learned from this latest Harvard Business Review report, early adopters tend to win.