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“Disruption is the new normal,” Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP founder and chairman, said recently at Consumer Goods Forum. And in this “disruptive world”, Sorrell explained that disruption was not just about the getting used to sharing low growth economies; but about robotics, 3D printing, even flying cars. Did you know that Google founder Larry Page has actually invested in two flying car companies, so he is clearly set to fly over any future disruptions!

Disruption of everything is the #1 in trending theme in articles, conferences, white papers and everything we read, see or listen to. Change is here and it is accelerating even if you don’t want it. As far as the technological revolution, what some are calling the ‘4th Industrial Age’, is concerned….it is akin to a train that has left the station, and it’s going very fast. Those who are waiting for it to slow down will lag even further behind with every passing day. Does this harbinger the death of long term planning? No not really….but I submit the prevailing wisdom that 18 months is the furthest any business could plan for innovation or disruptive factors. We don’t know what happens after that. The power of now is about delivering value every month, every quarter, every year. Those that don’t transform their organizations and their businesses will cease to exist or be relevant.

The truth about disruption is that you cannot choose not to be there and not prepare for it! You need that thought leadership and action now.

Data & Technology

Everyone can store this constant 24/7 chatter and real time flow of abundant data all around us. Data availability is not in question anymore. With Big Data Analytics becoming the fastest growing buzzword, everyone can bring Hadoop, Hive, Pig, R, Tableau or any number of new toys in house. But can you leverage ‘just technology’ to make or break your business targets? The environment has indeed changed, but even in this disruptive set up, some good old wisdom and rules for success remain ‘unchanged’.

Thought Leadership

First, remember that to take advantage of this data you absolutely must have the right people at the helm who can guide you on how to strategically use Data to transform your organization while taking advantage of these very disruptive consumer value drivers. Companies need to hire those ‘Next Generation’ doers, thinkers and leaders because, just like before, true value will only come from leveraging actionable insights and not storing massive amounts of data. You can influence change now, just as before, by empowering your decision makers and stakeholders with insights they need to convert data into action. And they need it even more urgently now to prepare for a radically different world. It is time to give them real time analytics.

Data Governance

Second, for the most part, the old 20:80 data law still applies. It is a small percentage of the data that you will find maximum value from and use most of the times. The key is to know what those valuable bits are across your data assets. An experienced Techno-Analytics professional can guide you through this morass. Just like before, you will need to create appropriate data governance framework, clearly defined business strategies that dovetail data management at source, transformation points and consumption patterns. However, in enabling these valuable business and user applications, you will be enabling far more sophisticated, faster and coolest of Business Intelligence and visualization tools, capable of real time insights to delight the users.

Think IoT

Implemented properly these will help manage change and mitigate disruptions. IoT is a triangle of ‘The Sensors’, ‘The Network’ and the analytics that can offer ‘Real Time Analytics’. There is a silent IoT revolution going on right now. Some older wisdom we used to live by still applies but the urgency of call to action and change is a matter of survival now vs status quo. You cannot do what you always did or you’re going to be either at a big disadvantage or dead. Now is about transformation, new services, and generating value and triggering the change on how our companies are run.

If you are still playing catch up today, by 2022 IoT will overwhelm you with massive amounts of data connecting practically everything. That geek joke about what do an umbrella, a shark and a house plant have in common is in context of this very IoT framework. All types of devices, creatures and plants will be part of Internet of Everything creating opportunities – but only if you are ahead of the pack.

Consumers as Disruptors

To be here now, your world view has to change drastically because consumers already have an unprecedented ability to access information and use technology to control their own view of consumer value equation. Does it surprise you to know that it is not technology but your consumers who are disrupting your world? We’re moving from this highly connected world to a more informed world. People are changing in the ways they communicate and engage and so are their expectations. Some call it “Amazoning.” People are engaging with you with an Amazon conditioning expecting a value-add interaction, and for you to have some context knowing who they are.

Talent Wars

How do you prepare for it? None of this is going to be possible without that “Next Generation” of senior and executive-level leadership talent we mentioned before. It explains why the talent war is heating up for those competitive and hard to find professionals who help convert visions to reality. Sure there are wars over talent in many industries, but particularly so in Big Data Analytics and Data Sciences. If you are looking to build a competitive advantage, work with a specialized Recruiter in this space who is at the top in that field. And that’s where we come in.

Best and Brightest

Smith Hanley has consistently stayed ahead for 35+ years by knowing where the best and brightest are.

Our Senior and Executive Practice,led by Sharad Dabral, helps companies who are looking ahead for aspiring leaders and mission critical skill sets. These companies are shifting their focus from “recruiting to fill vacancies”, to differentiating themselves by planning the strategic aspect of talent acquisition aligned to future needs and road map. We specialize in sourcing for this “Next Generation” of Techno-Analytic-Business leaders both on Contingency basis and as Retained Search Partners. Being able to choose between the two options allows you maximum flexibility to fit your need across speed, focus or specialization.

On our part, we simply focus on excelling at the top end of the spectrum, balancing hard and soft skills, delivering quality v. quantity, tailored to your unique needs for a good mutual fit.

Contact Sharad at sdabral@smithhanley.com or 203.255-1300.

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