Wednesday, 20 February 2019 10:44

Culture important for innovation: Tibco executive

By
Tibco senior director of global enablement, digital content and analytic strategy Shawn Rogers Tibco senior director of global enablement, digital content and analytic strategy Shawn Rogers

Culture, not just technology, is important when organisations seek to be innovators, an IT executive claims.

Tibco's recent CXO innovation survey [PDF] found that "North America leads with technology, but Asia Pacific leads with culture", Tibco senior director of global enablement, digital content and analytic strategy Shawn Rogers told iTWire.

And when it comes to technology, organisations that are still beginning their innovation journey identify things such as cloud technology, application and data integration, and analytics as being important, those further along nominate more disruptive technologies such as blockchain, AI/ML, IoT, and the application of open source projects.

The latter group are probably innovating faster and at a higher level, he said.

One way of looking at this is that organisations need a foundation for innovation. For example, an IoT project requires an analytics capability.

Data fuels innovation, but value comes from taking action, said Rogers. So having data available doesn't mean you've succeeded; that data needs to be used, perhaps to optimise your consumption of a resource, or to do something that your competitors' can't.

For example, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has, with Tibco's aid, applied analytics to achieve a 74% reduction in surgical site (wound) infections. Data from medical records plus real-time data from the operating theatre is combined to recommend the most appropriate ways of closing the wound.

"Is this the new table stakes" for hospitals, Rogers wondered – observing that he would rather be operated on in a hospital that used this approach.

The desirability of some types of innovation isn't so obvious.

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should," he pointed out. And that's where culture and people can come in. The culture within some large internet companies has sometimes allowed them to make mistakes that others would have avoided.

Innovation can be good, but you need to maintain what you do within the relationship with customers or suppliers. It's better to avoid doing things that the people on the receiving end regard as "icky," he said.

But if you are open with them, so they know what you do and what data you use to achieve it, they are less likely to be (negatively) surprised.

It's also about permission: "we need to have a permission-based economy," said Rogers. If your organisation's privacy statement resembles a software EULA (end user licence agreement), then you've gone wrong.

So Tibco's digital code of conduct starts with a description of how the company uses its customers' data.

"There's a new found demand for equity, for balance," he said.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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