Information Innovation: Innovation Key Initiative Overview

Archived Published: 27 April 2012 ID: G00234231


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Today, information plays a direct, critical role in business success, while new technology trends offer great opportunities as well as great risks for enterprises that want to exploit information. Gartner's information innovation research will help clients devise an effective strategy.


Information innovation responds to fundamental technology changes by gathering, managing, analyzing and using information in new ways to leap ahead in operational or business performance.

The enterprise can succeed or fail based on how it responds to trends such as:

  • Big data

  • Social media

  • Cloud computing

  • Mobile

  • External data

Technology advances offer a chance to exploit these trends to meet the business's long-standing demand for better data with which to make fact-based decisions (see Figure 1). Content analytics, social analytics, in-memory databases, Hadoop and other technologies can deliver better access to more varieties of information at lower costs. They can support new business models that yield competitive advantages. Success requires the IT organization to understand the business requirements for new information and how it can affect measurable business outcomes and help drive innovation. At the same time, information demand can quickly outstrip the IT organization's ability to deliver. The increasing volume, variety and velocity of information will overwhelm familiar disciplines for accessing, storing, managing, analyzing, governing, presenting, collaborating on and sharing information. The IT organization must develop an iterative information strategy to guide its response to business requirements for information. Gartner's research will help CIOs, IT leaders and enterprise architects develop such an information strategy.

Figure 1. Information Innovation
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (April 2012)

Consider These Factors to Determine Your Readiness

Innovation through information can give the enterprise an enduring competitive advantage if enterprises prepare. Enterprises should:

  • Understand business needs and the impact of better information on business outcomes.

  • Help the business understand what is possible with less expensive technologies, and technologies to manage and analyze new information types (such as text and video).

  • Revise information disciplines to keep up with the new pace and scope of information demands.

  • Create an information strategy to guide continuous improvement.

Geographical Variances

Information innovation will affect all industries in all geographies.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

  • Through 2015, 85% of Fortune 500 organizations will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage.

  • By 2015, the 20% of enterprises employing social media beyond marketing will lead their industries in revenue growth.

  • At year-end 2016, more than 50% of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

  • By 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.

Technology Providers

Information innovation will require using a combination of vendors, including software megavendors; small, leading-edge vendors; and open-source providers. For example:

  • IBM provides predictive analytics, social and content analytics, and Watson.

  • SAP develops HANA, an in-memory database management system for eliminating latency in storing and managing data.

  • The Apache Software Foundation provides more than a dozen open-source components for big data projects, most notably Hadoop and MapReduce.

  • Tibco Software provides vendor-neutral social messaging middleware (tibbr) that integrates with business applications, such as ERP and CRM. Tibco also provides Spotfire, an analytics solution.

  • ai-one makes systems smarter by providing machine learning technology that developers can embed into any application. The company's products could disrupt markets in business intelligence, text analytics, bioinformatics, knowledge management and image processing.

  • Co-Decision Technology's decider.track replicates the architecture and reasoning process of the human brain to analyze, synthesize and find patterns in vast amounts of structured data and content.

  • Mattersight analyzes an individual's speech and text patterns to detect personality and sentiment during a customer-employee interaction.

Conduct Your Information Innovation Strategy Using This Structured Approach

Enterprises should plan information innovation initiatives using three organizing principles:

  • Concepts Defined: Explore fundamental technology trends, such as big data, social media, cloud computing and mobile, and how they reinforce each other to offer great opportunities and great risks.

  • Implications and Scenario: Understand how these trends will affect your industry, competitors and enterprise, and craft an information strategy to exploit them for business advantage.

  • Technologies and Vendors: Use models such as Gartner's Information Capabilities Framework and Business Analytics Framework as guides to building and buying the technologies you need for a solution to execute your information strategy.

© 2012 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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