Data Trumps Everything

by Tom Carroll

When Apple released its mapping application for iOS it confirmed what many big data evangalists had been preaching, Data Trumps Everything.(eventually)

Best design, worthless without data.

Sophisticated Software, worthless without data.

While Apple won the first round in the mobile platform wars using world class design and excellent user experience, they have shown the gap in their strategy, their Achilles heal. The rapidly  approaching next generations of personal computing will be built on a foundation Hardware and software differentiated with DATA.

This reality was made even more visible at the Gartner  Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit, during a Keynote interview of Michael Abbott,  a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mr. Abbott expressed concern about the walled gardens of data (read Google, twitter, Facebook)  becoming significant barriers to competition and innovation.

Michael Abbot is exactly right. The next innovations, as we move to a cognitive economy, will require access to data, massive amounts of data. Scale and access will become huge advantages and barriers. Start-up organizations will be hard pressed to innovate without having access to these sources of data.  While some innovative companies will be able to create ways to collect and build their own reservoirs of data, others will have to partner to gain access.  But the bottom line is excellent hardware and software are table stakes in the cognitive economy, but data will be the coin of the realm.

In the case of Apple Maps, it is hard to believe Apple would ever catch Google. Google has long held an advantage with search and it’s velocity of innovation and improvement are difficult to match. Apple would have to exceed the rate at which Google is innovating and collecting data. With the ever increasing population of google powered devices it doesn’t look good for Apple.