Real-Time is Not Good Enough in a Digital World
Businesses must continuously transform themselves to compete. Why, because that is what their customers and competition are doing. One of those areas of transformation involves competing in time. Think about the impact of Amazon on shopping and delivery times! All businesses operate in time, whether human, digital or future. Businesses today must transform in order to successfully compete in all three of these time states simultaneously.
Let’s first discuss the definitions of these times:
- Human time — time governed by our physical, biological and mental limitations as humans
- Digital time — time governed by computing and networking speeds
- Future time — time governed by predictive analytics and algorithms
If an enterprise is operating in human time, it cannot compete effectively in digital commerce. For example, you can’t have human time dependencies in mobile search queries, mobile payments or mobile navigation to name three. Rather, you need a digital environment responding automatically, i.e. robotically, in digital time.
Digital time refers to the speeds at which computer systems and networks operate. The goal being to reach speeds as close to real-time as possible by optimizing each connected system, component and process that data touches. This takes having an optimized information logistics system (OILS) implemented.
Future time is faster than real-time. It is the ability to anticipate, take actions and deliver content even before it is requested. It is the ability to automatically prepare for the future in a manner that adds value today.
An optimized information logistics system that supports future time, utilizes predictive analytics, algorithms and AI to provide an experience that anticipates the needs of the user and acts on that information. For example, turn-by-turn navigation supported by real-time traffic updates that route you around obstacles and problem areas. An optimized information logistics system running in future time, can prepare personalized and contextually relevant experiences in advance.
A few years back I had the opportunity to work with a large global automotive safety system manufacturer. In the course of that project we re-designed their current physical safety systems to include future time support. The future time system had them integrating multiple third-party databases including traffic incident and insurance information, plus real-time weather and traffic flow information to automatically prepare the vehicle and driver for the road ahead. We were reaching into the future to provide additional value and a competitive advantage today.
Businesses that cannot harvest value from the future, are unlikely to compete there.