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The Technology Revolution: The Cloud, Big Data and…

The Technology Revolution: The Cloud, Big Data and…

By: Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt, authors of A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive (Amacom, 2014)

You can’t stop the Social Circle of Life.

The circle is made up of the following components:

- Mobile
- The Cloud
- Big Data
- Analaytics

Let’s talk about each component and its position in the Social Circle of Life:

Mobile is a Fait Accompli
It goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway): If you’re leading a business right now, you need to be cognizant of the impact of mobile computing.

Sell to Millennials, where the use of mobile to reach apps and social networks is far greater? Operate in overseas markets, especially in the rapidly developing world that is engaging, communicating, and buying with a smartphone already? Your stakes just quadrupled.

Why? Because Millennials and consumers in the emergent areas of our world have zoomed right past old-world, desktop-dependent websites and computing habits and into mobile technologies.

And it isn’t just them. Where our youngest generations and these countries are today – with most connected to the Web through their smartphones rather than via home-based computing  — is where every human on the planet will be as soon as we cut the cord from our desktops and laptops (yes, pun absolutely intended).

As of now, your organization has an itty-bitty window to jump into mobile in a big way; a sliver of opportunity remains that allows you to catch up to the many organizations already there. When that window closes, your company will officially be a laggard.

History usually doesn’t look favorably on laggards. The future never does.

Even if you don’t want to accept that theory as possible, even probable, consider this: The term smartphone, although a catchy marketing play, is a terrible misnomer.

Today’s cell phone is barely a phone at all. A smartphone is more like a small computer.

And all of that is just the first stop on the Social Circle of Life. Next stop . . .

The Cloud
Remember when cloud computing was new?

During the 2011 Super Bowl, Microsoft ran some fluffy ads on the cloud. That next Monday, the phone rang off the hook; Ted’s team could not keep up with demand. CEOs had watched the ads and wanted the cloud for their companies, stat!

Back then, many were still afraid of the cloud — not that there was anything to be afraid of, or even that it was radically different. They just didn’t get it. (Maybe that describes someone you work with now?)

The fact is that the cloud isn’t all that scary or complicated. When you are traveling and access money from your bank account using another bank’s ATM, the network that enables that is in the cloud and has been for more than a generation now.

That isn’t scary, right?

Well, for those who are misguidedly insecure about security and privacy issues and who still want the slick software box that holds the CD-ROM and the 240-page user’s manual, this part may be scary enough to start a dinosaur stampede.

Many suppliers of software products we use for work and life, including 100 percent of the SMMS vendors we researched for this book, exclusively offer cloud-based solutions. Their SaaS doesn’t sit on your hard drive. It lives, breathes, and stores data in the cloud.

If you want to use an application like Salesforce, for instance, you have no choice. You must go to the cloud; Salesforce offers no other options.

Mobile. Cloud. Mobile clouds.

Big Data

Big data is . . . big.

Every time anyone visits a social network — and most every time we click that “I accept terms of use” button on the websites or social networks we visit — data is collected. Service bureaus, brokers, and enterprises collect that public data, often from our mobile devices and stored in the cloud, and package it for business, government, and global uses. (Sound creepy? We’re with you.)

From there, organizations like yours use that data to enable cost and time reductions, develop new products (as well as refine current product offerings), spot trends among massive numbers of consumers by any demographic, discover how best to build digital relationships, and, yes, make smarter, and faster, business decisions.

Bottom line: Big data = big bucks.

Making the Turn: Analytics
Analytics is modern-day alchemy. But it isn’t new.

MBAs have been doing analysis on data since the first days of the Industrial Age. Back in the Victorian Age, fictional Bob Cratchit used a slide rule to perform “analytics” for his employer, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scribes did it for King Tut.

Ah, but they didn’t have an IBM supercomputer working for them, did they? Whereas medieval alchemists were never truly able to turn iron into gold, with Social Age analytics, your company can turn big data into huge competitive advantages.

Using mega-computing power, business leaders can sort through your staff’s efforts on social and see for themselves what strategies and resources are bearing fruit, which might feel good or come with a lot of sound and fury but signify nothing.

Excerpted from A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt ©2014 Ted Coiné & Mark Babbitt. All rights reserved. Published by AMACOM Books, amacombooks.org, a Division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Author Bios:
Ted Coine
is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. He is cofounder of Switch and Shift, a blog focused on leadership, culture and change.

Mark Babbit is CEO and founder of YouTern, a social community for young careerists that Mashable calls a “Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career.”