Generation D leads with data and analytics

Enterprises, as a whole, are currently struggling with an “e pluribus unum moment” when it comes to their information technology. Over the past few years many have written about the evolution of IT and the convergence of various technology trends such as cloud, mobile, social, and analytics. Many acronyms and mnemonics have been bandied about to help describe this shift. Whatever framework helps you understand this shift, the objective is clear – find the best way to meld these new technologies with existing IT infrastructure to drive value. Ginni Rometty recently framed this worldview during her opening remarks at the IBM THINK Forum in early October. 

Based on these shifts, we were challenged at the Center by senior IBM leadership to provide an impartial evidence-base to prove that these transformative technologies, and the enterprises that are embracing them in concert, are outperforming their peers and achieving real value and transformation.

Our initial investigation revealed that we were seeing a difference in how these leading organizations use data and analytics, and cloud, and how they ultimately engaged with customers. With a direction, we took the opportunity to dig deeper. We looked globally at 5 major industry groups (Retail, Finance, Telco, Travel and Transportation, and CPG). We conducted well over 1000 telephone surveys with executives around the world as well as 50 additional in-depth interviews.

We used a clustering algorithm (PAM – Partitioning Around Medoids, in case any analysis wonks are interested) to identify four distinct patterns of data and analytics usage. We used that as a framework for exploration. We looked across cloud and engagement responses and found that there was in fact a group – one we’re calling Generation D (for Data) – who seemed to be executing at a very high level across all of these domains.

Let’s take a look “Inside the mind of Generation D” to find out what it means to be data-rich and analytically driven.

Four approachs with one group that uses insights, cloud and engagement very differently

They are making use of newer, non-traditional data sources, leveraging more sophisticated analytics to drive strategic decisions, deploying on the cloud, and ultimately engaging customers, partners/suppliers, and employees more granularly than their peers. That’s great, but if these things don’t connect with improved performance, so what?

The new generation gap between enterprises
Learn more about the Generation D leaders at

We included a number of key KPIs in our research and found that Generation D was outperforming their peers by quite a wide margin. For example, Generation D showed a 10% point increase in share of wallet and a 17% point increase in promoter/advocate scoring. They also had a 6% point increase in both 3-year customer retention and 1-year employee retention.

These are pretty impressive results and we think that these Generation D enterprises provide a great illustration of how data and analytics, cloud, and engagement come together with significant impact.

As Ginni said in the video, “data is going to end up being the basis of competitive advantage”. We feel that Generation D illustrates that really clearly. These enterprises are using data and analytics, deployed on the cloud, to drive more granular and effective engagement.

Over the coming months, I’ll be posting more in-depth analysis of Generation D and what exactly they’re doing differently than everybody else. But in the meantime, take a look at the paper and feel free to let me know if you have any questions/comments.

To learn more:

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  1. […] IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has dubbed data as the new natural resource. And it is clearly helping enterprises gain a leading edge. Two recent studies by the IBM Center for Applied Insights highlighted that the use of big data and analytics is a key differentiating factor for leaders. In the IBM Business Tech Trends study, nearly 7 in 10 of the leading companies, or “Pacesetters,” make analytical insights an integral part of decision making. And, in the Generation D study, those organizations that are driven by data and analytics (called Generation D for data) are 2.9x more likely to use predictive analytics to inform most processes and decisions. […]