The amount of data around us is skyrocketing everyday. We are overloaded with the information coming from personal and business channels. Personal computer was only a beginning of the story. These days internet, mobile, social networks put the next big pile of information on our shoulders. Future of IoT is promising to be even worst – every device will be sharing some information. We will have sensors everywhere. In the business, the situation is not better. We are using multiple systems with information located everywhere – engineering, manufacturing, sales, supply chain, customer support.
A potential solution is to limit your information channels. Which means – curate the information. This is a good idea and it can potentially work. Everything you need is to have a good curator. Think about Yellow pages of the past. At the early days of internet Yahoo was a good curator of information channels coming from the web. Choose your channel – money, finance, business, technology.
The problem with curation of content is related to potentially high volume and diversity of sources. You need to move to a most reliable way and search became one of them. Google took over Yahoo’s ability to curate the information. Later in the game, Google made it personal too. Lot of information is analyzed by brute computing algorithms to bring right information to you.
Thinking about business software and manufacturing companies, I can see a lot of similarities in the process of shifting from curation to search and intelligence. In the early days of enterprise software, PDM, PLM, ERP and CRM, the initial focus was how to control the information and provide a single way to access the date in predefined manner. Folders and projects are still a great way to demo the approach. Click the folder and you get all you need. Most of PDM and PLM systems are still working the same way.
But the explosive growth of information is coming to business space as well. It is hard to control the information and curate channels to provide an access to the right information at the right time. We need to bring more intelligent in the game.
My attention was caught by the information about new company – Usermind. The following Techcrunch article can give you more information. Here is my favorite passage explaining how Usermind is planning to orchestrate business processes across organizational silos and multiple systems.
“There’s almost no company that doesn’t have multiple systems of record,” says Horowitz. Sales teams use Salesforce, marketing teams use Marketo, human resources and management use Workday for employee management, Horowitz said, and none of those systems are able to communicate with each other to provide a holistic view of a company’s goals.
Usermind helps answer the question of “what’s the process that runs across those and what bits of information do I need for each transaction or process,” Horowitz said.
“There’s a lot of discussion around shadow IT,” Feaster told me. “Business started to buy and consume SAAS and this is the biggest technology model shift probably since the invention of the Web, but what were the implications of the fact that marketing sales, IT, and finance are building these little technology teams?”
For Feaster, the implications revolved around a potential to develop a set of tools that could pull data from each of the disparate, discrete toolkits for different business operations and deliver information across an organization to allow business units to work together more effectively.
My second example is coming the from the company called Elucify, which develops AI powered solution for sales date. Navigate to the following article to read more – Elucify wants to make sure salespeople have most current customer contact info. The fundamental idea to extract difference pieces of customer data and provide it to a sales person in the right form at the right moment of time.
Elucify, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2016 class wants to solve an annoying and persistent problem for sales people — making sure they have the most recent customer contact data.
To solve this problem, the company created a plug-in for Salesforce.com CRM based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. The system connects to various public and private data sources looking for the most current contact information, according to Gerald Fong, Elucify CEO and co-founder.
Sales personnel simply click the Elucify button in the Salesforce record, and the tool updates the existing contact information and lists any new contacts found at the company. Typically it looks at information such as phone number, email address, current decision makers, updated company information — all the types of data a busy sales team needs. It usually takes just 5 or 10 seconds to update the record, according to Fong.
What is my conclusion? To share data is important. But the amount of data we can consume as humans is limited. To think about how to limit the amount of communication and information channel is a potential mistake. In my view, the right approach is to think how computing power, AI and machine learning can help you to collect, filter and orchestrate information in the right way. In the future business systems, the information will be self-organized. No curation needed. Just my thoughts…