The platforms collect data from many sources. And the benefits are manifold for the supplier and member companies. Indeed, this collected data can allow the company behind the platform to make intelligent business decisions. But also to open new markets to its members. So whether an operator chooses to analyze them himself or to sell them to other players, Big Data represents money to be made.
The data to establish a connection
Deere & Company is a group based in Moline, Illinois. He is particularly known for manufacturing agricultural tractors and other heavy machinery of the John Deere brand. Most of its annual sales of $ 26 billion are generated in the traditional way. That is, the company sells or leases equipment to farms and construction companies.
Yet this conservatively managed company launched the digital platform myjohndeere.com in 2013. This has enabled it to establish a direct connection with farmers. Originally, this platform was created to give owners of John Deere equipment access to spare parts. But also to other offers of the company. However, myjohndeere.com provides the company with another source of potential revenue: Big Data.
For example, the company has installed sensors on its tractors, which are connected to the internet. These record and transmit data on fuel consumption. As well as other parameters useful to farmers. Deere & Company also sells surveillance equipment, called Field Connect. This collects additional data on soil moisture and temperature. But also on wind speed and precipitation. This data is then made available to farmers on the myjohndeere.com platform.
Big Data attracts opportunities
“ We’ve never had this data before, ” said Geoffrey G. Parker, professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The co-author of the book “Platform Revolution” studied the Deere & Company platform. And according to him, you have to think of the tractor ” like a Mars Rover capturing data “.
The professor recalls that the main use of agricultural data is to help farmers improve the productivity of their farms. However, this data could also be of great value to agricultural businesses. They could use it to develop an investment strategy. “ If Mr. Deere aggregated the data from a sufficient number of farms and sold that data feed, it would give a pretty accurate forecast for next year’s crop production. Which would give him a huge financial advantage ”.
According to Michael Blitz, Managing Director of Accenture Technology Labs, Big Data attracts opportunities. “ Each new service will give you more data. And the more you have, the more you will understand what is really going on. This will allow people to create entirely new services ”.
Process and analyze data
As the example of Deere & Company suggests, companies with well-established business models have the potential to use the platforms. And not just to present their products and services. Also as a source of detailed user data. Data collected via the Internet of Things (IoT) and then analyzed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms become a valuable source of business information. For Michael Biltz, “ the ability to share customer data with third parties is one of the advantages of platforms ”.
And according to him, ” companies realize very quickly that the data they collect has more value for their partners than for themselves “. The CEO of Accenture Technology Labs cites the example of companies specializing in health care. These collect electronic medical records from hospitals on illnesses. But also the tests carried out and the pharmaceutical products used for the treatments. While this data can be useful for hospitals, it is even more useful for pharmaceutical companies. Especially for research on the effects of different drugs. Or for clinical trials, as well as to decipher trends in health care.
Sangeet Paul Choudary, the co-author of the book Platform Revolution, runs a consulting platform in Singapore. He cites the example of a large bank client who set up a real estate platform to help buyers navigate the home buying process. Thus, customers can cross the listings of houses with information about schools and neighboring neighborhoods. And the bank was able to use the data collected from the website to target loan offers for couples buying a home.
Creating value with Big Data
For many businesses, the process of collecting and analyzing big data is too complicated to be profitable. So companies specializing in Big Data can step in to offer analysis services. Big Data is a business opportunity, says Annabelle Gawer, co-director of the Center for the Digital Economy at the University of Surrey, England. ” With the increased capacity to connect to platforms and the increased capacity to analyze data, you are going to see companies emerge that find the right business models to combine these two elements to create value .”
In addition, digital platforms are particularly well placed to benefit from artificial intelligence. This is because sophisticated algorithms can not only analyze the data but also continuously improve their analysis by learning from the data. Thus, large Chinese companies are investing heavily in artificial intelligence technology. And more particularly in ” machine learning “, the technology of “machine learning”.
According to Peter Evans, Director of Innovation Enterprise Solutions at KPMG, an Atlanta-area consulting firm, ” Their business model is very much focused on collecting data and facilitating interaction .” He adds witnessing a massive adoption of artificial intelligence by online platforms. “ I see a lot of platforms gravitating towards artificial intelligence, faster than other companies ”.