The evo­lu­tion of tech­nol­ogy leads to new oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges for orga­ni­za­tions, along with new prod­ucts that inte­grate IT and mar­ket­ing solu­tions. Kevin Kelly, the Dar­win of tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion if you will, explains that tech­nol­ogy is “allow­ing us to con­tin­u­ally rein­vent ourselves.”

For orga­ni­za­tions, this rein­ven­tion, or evo­lu­tion, includes new approaches to brand man­age­ment, data col­lec­tion and man­age­ment, con­sumer mes­sag­ing, and more. Today’s rapidly evolv­ing dig­i­tal ecosys­tem is forc­ing change, or adap­ta­tion, within orga­ni­za­tions, par­tic­u­larly within mar­ket­ing and IT departments.

Within this new ecosys­tem, what pos­si­bil­i­ties lie before your orga­ni­za­tion today? Orga­ni­za­tions have the oppor­tu­nity to sur­vey the pos­si­bil­i­ties and to make hard choices based on how they want to exist and oper­ate in the future.

Today’s blog post will exam­ine a key orga­ni­za­tional challenge—the lack of Big Data skills and tools—and the pos­si­bil­ity to increase your organization’s agility through new tech­nol­ogy and training.

Chal­lenge | Lack of Big Data Skills and Tools

The Econ­o­mist Intel­li­gence Unit (EIU) reports that today’s mar­keters are man­ag­ing approx­i­mately 11 types of diverse data from mobile Inter­net activ­ity to eco­nomic and cul­tural char­ac­ter­is­tics to the ever-elusive “social behav­ior.” EIU reports that this large range of data sources “could be one of the rea­sons why data analy­sis to extract pre­dic­tive find­ings from ‘Big Data’ is now seen as the most nec­es­sary skill for marketers.

Today, the inter­sec­tion of mar­ket­ing, tech­nol­ogy, and data is forc­ing struc­tural analy­sis and change within orga­ni­za­tions. For exam­ple, orga­ni­za­tions are ask­ing, should mar­ket­ing teams be divided by chan­nels or should they be orga­nized around prod­uct or spe­cific goals (brand ver­sus demand)? Where do tech­nol­ogy and mar­ket­ing over­lap, and how can they be more effec­tively man­aged to improve ROI or other intended out­comes? The McK­in­sey Global Institute’s (MGI) arti­cle, “The do-or-die ques­tions boards should ask about tech­nol­ogy,” notes that a short­age of IT-literate tal­ent is cre­at­ing a pro­duc­tiv­ity bot­tle­neck in many organizations.

The chal­lenge remains that the major­ity of orga­ni­za­tions are cur­rently lack­ing in appro­pri­ately trained mar­keters and IT per­son­nel equipped with the right tech­no­log­i­cal tools to do their job effec­tively and effi­ciently. In many cases, this chal­lenge can become an oppor­tu­nity with the invest­ment in the right tech­nol­ogy for the organization’s Big Data needs in addi­tion to the train­ing of mar­ket­ing and IT personnel.

Pos­si­bil­ity | Increase Your Organization’s Agility with New Tech­nol­ogy + Training

Orga­ni­za­tions that want to stay on the lead­ing edge of the dig­i­tal land­scape today must not be pre­cau­tion­ary with new tech­nol­ogy, but instead should be what Kelly calls “proac­tionary.” With this orga­ni­za­tional mind­set, when a new tech­nol­ogy comes along, the orga­ni­za­tion engages with it and tries it out. Accord­ing to Kelly, the orga­ni­za­tion works with the new tech­nol­ogy to “con­stantly assess it not just once, but eter­nally.” Risk is pri­or­i­tized. Adap­ta­tion and flex­i­bil­ity are required. Orga­ni­za­tions oper­at­ing out of the “proac­tionary prin­ci­ple” will engage with new tech­nol­ogy and reap its rewards.

In Change This, futur­ist and dig­i­tal ana­lyst Brian Solis points out the alter­na­tive: orga­ni­za­tional obso­les­cence. Orga­ni­za­tions that are able to adapt and meet the increas­ing demands of Big Data and per­pet­u­ally con­nected cus­tomers are the orga­ni­za­tions that will not expe­ri­ence obso­les­cence. It is through the seiz­ing of such oppor­tu­ni­ties that orga­ni­za­tions can remain agile, respon­sively flex­ing to meet the needs of their cus­tomer base and expand­ing into new growth opportunities.

The McK­in­sey Global Insti­tute notes that lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions are con­tin­u­ally using IT to improve both strate­gic and oper­a­tional orga­ni­za­tional agility by embrac­ing new tech­nol­ogy. Although an ini­tial invest­ment in new tech­nol­ogy and the atten­dant train­ing of IT, mar­ket­ing, and other key per­son­nel is high, it will pay off in the long run. “Tech­nol­ogy can improve busi­ness per­for­mance by dri­ving rev­enues (for exam­ple, by using big data for cross-selling in dig­i­tal chan­nels), reduc­ing over­all costs (for instance, by automat­ing end-to-end processes), and low­er­ing risk costs (for exam­ple, in insur­ance, by using social-media data to aid risk calculations).”

In addi­tion to invest­ing in the appro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy to man­age Big Data, lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions are invest­ing in their employ­ees’ knowl­edge and skills base. Exam­ples of orga­ni­za­tional responses include putting top man­agers through IT boot camps, cre­at­ing new tech­nol­ogy forums, and cre­at­ing a Mar­ket­ing Tech­nol­ogy Office and/or realign­ing those teams.

Evolve or Expe­ri­ence Extinction

Orga­ni­za­tions desir­ing to avoid extinc­tion in today’s dig­i­tal land­scape must be will­ing to take risk, to invest in the high tech tools and train­ing that Big Data requires, and to con­stantly be will­ing to evolve along with the world and its gadgets.

For more infor­ma­tion, see the first arti­cle in my series on audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions, or data man­age­ment plat­forms (DMPs).