We need to start sharing data now

Your journey to building effective data sharing ecosystems starts now

Utilities 28 Mar 2022 by Gemma Beard

Your business vs time

Society is living through difficult and confusing times. Businesses are expected to build solutions fit for climate resilience and build new ways of working during a global pandemic. The scale of the problems we face is major and there’s no getting out of the fact that we need real action. 

Being able to share data effectively is a must. We know that it works and companies are recognising the value in cooperation through selective data sharing. Beneath the surface, however, there’s a race against time. Building effective data ecosystems takes time, there are several factors to be considered such as educating and upskilling the workforce, and the chance of unprecedented events such as the pandemic we have been living through.

The evolution of trust

The fears people have about sharing their data are understandable. Trust is something that has to be carefully nurtured, with concerns around data security, data quality, Intellectual Property and giving away a competitive advantage to competitors are all risks organisations are juggling with. Businesses have to realise they don’t have to unlock all their data at once to deliver immediate value, selective data sharing with clear access control can start you on the journey today, and once that trust and confidence is built you can then further develop your data ecosystem for the future. 

First, businesses share internally across functional boundaries, once they realise the mutually beneficial dynamic of sharing their data, slowly but surely, they’ll start to share externally and across sector boundaries. The evolution of trust is a gradual process and it’s one that can’t be skipped. It’s a game of give and take that takes time to learn how to play.

If you want to meet the criteria of a climate resilient, future ready business, you need to utilise the technology that already exists and start building ecosystems in real environments at scale today.

The widening gap between action and inaction

The gap between those that are acting and those that are waiting is widening. Some organisations are building ecosystems already, for example, Thames Water have been building partnerships with other organisations across the utilities sector and emergency services to protect vulnerable customers who may struggle to get by if there were to be a disruption to their water or power supply.

Eventually, the gap between those like Thames Water who choose to utilise the technology that already exists to share data, and those who chose to wait, will be so wide that crossing it will be a near impossible task. Other organisations that are yet to take the first steps to building effective ecosystems, using spreadsheets to store data and emails to share it will soon find themselves in another world from their competitors.

Just start and scale

Starting today can seem daunting at first. When looking at the scale of the challenge, many believe it’s too hard to make a difference right away. The best way to evolve your business is to start with value, start where you can solve today’s pain. There’s an old Japanese proverb, 

“Even dust, if piled up, will become a mountain.” It’s a saying that describes continual improvement and challenging outdated concepts, do what you can, as long as there’s a route to scale

Evolution isn’t about reinventing the wheel. Innovation, ideation, solutions that solve only a fixed term, or point problem are a distraction that is wasting your time and resources, and burning the patience of your stakeholders. Asking your customers and workforce to learn how to use brand new technology year after year is going to build a sense of fatigue and eventually, resentment. Ultimately, these are temporary solutions that don’t bring you any closer to meeting the greater challenges.

Businesses across all industries are at a major crossroads. The choice between inaction, building short term solutions and pilot projects or taking the first steps towards an exciting future of data interoperability sits right in front of us. You have an opportunity to shape your industry. Choosing not to take this opportunity may seem like a safe and sensible decision on the face of it, but the reality is that in five years time, this decision will have its consequences.

Are you ready to take the first steps towards building thriving ecosystems? Contact Gemma Beard to find out how IOTICS can enable your business to thrive.



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