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16 September 2016

The Half-Life of Knowledge

By Michael Toedt - Managing Partner and CEO at TS&C GmbH

Never before has change been so omnipresent like today. And never before has it been more important to stay up-to-date and to expand ones knowledge. Such statements can be seen a lot. And they are true! Big Data, the hot topic of the past months, confirms this.

In 1965, Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, postulated that processor speed would double every 18 months and network capacities every 9 months. Back then, only a few people understood what this meant. More than 50 years ago, Gordon Moore already predicted how fast our world would change. This means that, if the development continued at the same speed, computers will be 64 times faster than today by the year 2026! It is hard to imagine the possibilities this would bring.

Big Data: See light at the end of the tunnel and go with the flow!

In 1997, the ASCI Red was the fastest computer. It was about 150 m² in size and cost US$55m. Back then nobody could imagine that only 9 years later the Sony Playstation PS2 would outperform this computer.

Two anniversaries in 2015 and 2016 impressively show the speed of change. In 1995, the commercial Internet was born. It was the year Google, Booking or Amazon have started their businesses. This also means that only 21 years ago, companies have started to accumulate ever-increasing amounts of data, which is foundation for Big Data. But only 20 years later, managers come to see the value of data. Data is the driver for companies such as Uber or AirBnB, which today have a higher market value than many long-established companies.

History shows that such a delay is not unusual. When James Watts developed the steam engine in 1769 no one thought that this invention would initiate the first industrial revolution. It took 30 years until engineers discovered the power of steam and its potential. Today, the same is true when it comes to data. It has taken quite some time to understand the value and potential of data.

In 2016, the Smart Phone celebrates its 20th anniversary. First devices already came out in 1996 but only the iPhone, which was launched in 2007, has changed nearly everything. In only 9 years, it has revolutionized the telecommunications market. Big players such as Nokia, Siemens, Blackberry or Ericsson have lost their market shares. Nobody thought that flagships of this size could be kicked out of the market so quickly. One of the reasons is the half-life of knowledge, which has never been so short!

Managers of bigger companies sometimes feel too safe. This could explain the bankruptcy of Kodak in 2012. Because management has failed to foresee the consequences of digitalization, only 7,000 of the formerly 145,000 employees are left.

The hospitality industry faces a lot of mergers and acquisitions lately, such as Starwood and Marriott, or Accor taking over Fairmont, Swissotel and Raffles. One driver is the liquidity flood on the financial markets, another one need to increase power over the mighty Online Travel Agents. History has shown, however, that size does not guarantee survival.

The hospitality industry has to adapt to the changes. Still today, technology innovation for the majority of hoteliers means sending out newsletters and building a website. While the OTAs focus on the customer and provide personalized service, many hotel managers still believe that new bathrooms and bigger TV sets would bring new guests. Only a few have understood the importance of guest data. This can also be seen when comparing individual hotel websites with that of an OTA.

Nowadays, size will definitely not guarantee survival. It is the motivation to change, which makes the difference. And change is often more difficult for bigger companies.

CRM has be become a huge topic again. In a Big Data world, CRM should be part of a holistic approach. Today, data also belongs to operations (Customer Relationship Optimization, CRO) and is the basis for intelligent analyses (Customer Relationship Analytics, CRA).

TS&C offers the most comprehensive Central Data Management (CDM) solution for the hospitality industry. Our dailypoint™ solution comprises CRM, CRO and CRA. Profit from Big Data by centralizing and connecting your data. Be part of the change and not part of the problem. Please contact us for more information!

Michael Toedt

Dr. Michael Toedt is the founder and CEO of Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH, a leading Big Data Marketing and CRM company. Operating at the intersection of business and technology, he helps hoteliers with the software dailypoint™ to use the tremendous increase of data in order to become data-centric. Dr. Toedt has over 25 years of experience in operations, technology and marketing. He is the author of several books (among others “Big Data – Challenges for the Hospitality Industry” (2013) and “Data Revolution – How Big Data Will Change the Way of Doing Business” (2014) and his articles are published by journals on a regular basis. Dr. Toedt holds a doctoral degree in management science. He is assistant lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences of Munich for the subject “Customer Relationship Management in Tourism” and as guest lecturer at various universities such as the University of Applied Sciences of Bad Honnef, Kempten or NDS Hôtelleriesuisse. In the past, Dr. Toedt was regional vice president of SANSORA INTERNATIONAL, a subsidiary company of the Schoerghuber corporate group and accompanied many hotel associations during the production of their central customer and marketing data base. He was raised in his parents’ hotel and after completing a mercantile apprenticeship he graduated as cook to be employed in the 5-stars restaurant Hotel Koenigshof in Munich. 1995 he began his business economics studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. During this time he visited the Cornell University, NY and is now President of the German Chapter.

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