That Henry Ford was an innovator is an undisputed fact.

In addition to his obvious impact on transportation, Ford also engineered lasting changes to manufacturing, workforce management and the modern factory.

Perhaps the best driver of his innovation, however, is that he understood the power of bringing technology to the people. While other manufacturers were focused on the wealthy, Ford built his automobiles for the masses and, in doing so, revolutionized an industry and human history.

This is a lesson that should be heeded by all of us in the business intelligence and analytics industry today.

So, as we celebrate the 110th anniversary of the first Ford Model T assembly this week, The APEX is honoring Ford’s innovation by sharing how organizations can benefit from making data access more pervasive, including:

  • Enhanced decision-making — By transforming data into actionable insight and putting it in the hands of all employees — not just traditional analysts and knowledge workers — companies can engender better decision-making in every department and at every level of the organization.  
  • Increased responsiveness — Arming employees with access to real-time data fuels a more responsive, nimble enterprise. A marketing department, for example, can follow prospects throughout the entire customer journey, honing its strategy at every touchpoint to provide a better, more tailored customer experience.
  • Data monetization — The startup world in particular is rife with examples of companies tapping into existing data sources to offer new products and services. Check out the Bike Data Project, which aims to make cities better for bikes. They’re collecting data — with permission — from users of apps like Strava and Runkeeper and distributing it to city planners and transportation departments to develop modern infrastructures that are more eco-friendly and sustainable.
  • Competitive advantage — The factors outlined above are just a few examples that illustrate the clear competitive advantage of a data-driven company and culture. To achieve these and other benefits, however, organizations need an underlying BI and predictive analytics platform that connects all their data sources, allowing them to truly unleash the innovation potential contained in their information.

Henry Ford is reputed to have said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

While our industry can draw many parallels to Ford’s innovation, this is where the similarities end.

Customers in Ford’s era may not have clamored for horseless carriages, but today’s consumers are increasingly expecting to interact with digitally mature businesses. Those companies that can capitalize on their information and make it accessible throughout the organization are those that are best primed for success in this new era.