Anthea Stratigos – June 21, 2016
Our world-class team met last month and brainstormed the biggest themes on their radar in each of their sectors. This is a recipe for what’s to come in the information industry but more so the industries it serves as information is everywhere and much of the structural change is coming from our customer’s markets, a result of fast-changing digital economies in a global environment. Here’s what’s on our mind. Do you have topics to add? Debate? We meet monthly to discuss key themes and would love you to join the conversation.
Prescriptive Analytics – the idea that soon technology will be able to not only analyze and predict a situation, but prescribe the solution for what might be done. Just this morning IBM announced with GoGo a new technology that will help pilots in flight navigate turbulence. Or farther down the line, the computer as judge and a democratized judicial system.
Millennials – now the largest percentage of the work force and new ways of doing business that promise to change our world. Millennials are tomorrow’s information customers and our data point to very different consumption habits and guess what – lower regard for authoritative sources.
Virtual Reality – we know from Paul Saffo, technology futurist, that technologies go through waves before they actually hit stride and explode on the scene. Blockchain will do this with Bitcoin, Virtual Reality did it with a prior form – think Second Life. But these technologies are around the corner and will shape how work is done and thus information and media consumption as a result.
Google – early indications are that search revenues is slowing down, and while it has amazing data for amazing uses and telephone operator for the world’s information and goods, it’s not an end all be all for heavy-duty professional applications. Amazingly doctors and lawyers do use Google but it’s for basic reference. When you want to look at contraindications, or scientific literature, it’s not all out there. It’s a behemoth and set the standard for discovery and access but there is still a lot of the world’s information that it doesn’t have.
Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, LinkedIn, Twitter – Speaking of Google, the other ‘big four’ are on a roll and they each have their turf to stake. An interesting conversation with clients the other day pointed to the fact that to look at what might be coming down the pike for industry disruption we have to look at how these players are competing. Because they don’t wake up in the morning and desire to take out news, or movies, or music. They wake up to compete with each other (or Walmart if you are Amazon) and the industry disruption comes as a byproduct of their competitive goals. Read, we are the wake in their boats, or hit by the shrapnel of their wars—an indirect target. So our analysts, CTO, and other thought-leaders in the firm are doing some top of mind comparative analysis of these players. And literally two days after we began this dialog Microsoft bought LinkedIn. So be on the lookout for the results of our brain-jam on the Big Five. We’ll sprinkle in some views on Twitter and IBM, but IBM has yet to build a platform, and Twitter is teetering. Stay tuned.
Financial Services – The rise of robo advisers, block chain, the social graph in credit checks and the changing nature of money. Financial services (and porn) have been at the forefront of innovation in our industry. I don’t know what that says about these two sectors but I’ll save that for another day. But time is money and in information services that’s the ultimate driver for business. The industry is changing not just because of regulation, but because of technology and with the rise of millennials combined there is a ton of change ahead.
MarTech/AdTech Consolidation – There are frankly too many start-ups and too many tech providers and a shake-out is coming and likely already underway as money tightens. The land of tech has always been riddled with lots of players and then consolidation to the big three or the big four. Anyone remember Wang? Digital Equipment, Compaq or Tandem? It’s the same in semiconductors, storage, telecom equipment, what-have you and too, in this sector, consolidation will reign. And don’t be surprised if digital marketing spending goes the way of CDOs in the Big Short – it’s impossible for a zillion players to all take off their slice profit before bad things come home to roost. Marketers have too many choices, their money is finite, they want ROI. I have long said marketers want sales not leads and trends toward Account Based Marketing are just the beginning of this phenom spreading up. Ad blocking – a sign of what’s ahead. Digital marketing as we know it is not sustainable.
Ditto EdTech, but for different reasons. Markets move more slowly, there are too many firms with a finite level of funding. Innovators will survive, don’t get me wrong but not all of them in this sector. It’s a bubble and if we don’t think we have a bubble just look at the word tech in any sector – MarTech, AdTech, EdTech, FinTech, AgTech, LegalTech the other day I heard InTech – insurance tech. You know it’s a bubble when that starts happening. Technology has shaped every industry for eons. We can hardly wait for entertaintech, MDtech, autotech, beautytech and fashiontech.
Open access and the piracy train has left the station – Outsell’s STM analyst points to a statistic indicating there are 47 million illegally downloaded journals a year. That represents a business model that is broken and a market that is upset with its supply chain. Is it possible to balance the mandate for open access with online privacy? We think not, just as today’s enterprises are struggling with text mining to improve decision-making and predictive analytics solutions but can’t get their hands on the data they need or the licensing privileges that allow the type of integrated access they need. CCC may have a chance at solving this but each publisher or provider and sometimes source all have their own licensing terms. Very hard to support clients with all types of applications at scale.
Beacons, IoT, RFiD – more technology means more change and we needn’t look farther at the impact than today’s articles about retailers being slow to close stores but who are having a tough time caught in the double-whammy of online shopping/commerce, and consumer’s moving their purchases from ‘stuff’ to ‘services’ – read ‘things vs. experiences’. Our bet is that experience will win every time. Just ask those millennials whose habits and values are different.
And last a personal note from me. Where are the platforms in our industry? Who is going to be the vendor that behaves like SF.com in their space and lets third parties develop on their platform or lets customers use their platform for delivery of services to the customer’s customers? IBM moons ago made a decision it would partner with application software providers in it’s global services execution. Sf.com has an app ecosystem. SF Is the platform that others run their business on. D&B in cred risk? Thomson Reuters in Financial Services? Pearson or Blackboard in edu? We’re waiting.
We’re exploring these topics every day and advising clients on their impact. We’re also addressing them at Outsell’s 10th Anniversary Signature Event. Slow down to speed up and join fellow CEOs, COOs, Presidents and Managing Directors to discover the future of your business. Register today and join us in London 5-7 October 2016.