The concepts of net-centricity, information superiority and power to the edge emerged out of the US defence community about twenty years ago, thanks to some thought leadership from the Command and Control Research Program (CCRP). One of the routes of these ideas into the civilian world was through a company called Groove Networks, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2005 along with its founder, Ray Ozzie. The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) provided another route. And from the mid 2000s onwards, a few people were researching and writing on edge strategies, including Philip Boxer, John Hagel and myself.
Information superiority is based on the idea that the ability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information will give you operational and strategic advantage. The advantage comes not only from the quantity and quality of information at your disposal, but also from processing this information faster than your competitors and/or fast enough for your customers. TIBCO used to call this the Two-Second Advantage.
processing, I’m not just talking about moving terabytes around or running up large bills from your cloud provider. I’m talking about enterprise-wide human-in-the-loop organizational intelligence: sense-making (situation awareness, model-building), decision-making (evidence-based policy), rapid feedback (adaptive response and anticipation), organizational learning (knowledge and culture). For example, the OODA loop. That’s my vision of a truly data-driven organization.
There are four dimensions of information superiority which need to be addressed in a data strategy: reach, richness, agility and assurance. I have discussed each of these dimensions in a separate post:
Philip Boxer, Asymmetric Leadership: Power to the Edge
Leandro DalleMule and Thomas H. Davenport, What’s Your Data Strategy? (HBR, May–June 2017)
John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, The Agile Dance of Architectures – Reframing IT Enabled Business Opportunities (Working Paper 2003)
Vivek Ranadivé and Kevin Maney, The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future–Just Enough (Crown Books 2011). Ranadivé was the founder and former CEO of TIBCO.
Richard Veryard, Building Organizational Intelligence (LeanPub 2012)
Richard Veryard, Information Superiority and Customer Centricity (Cutter Business Technology Journal, 9 March 2017) (registration required)