Data as disruptor New business models and learning computers

Tomorrow is Today

Insights generated by big data can result in considerable optimisations for a company. However, tomorrow's technological innovations have a much greater potential. ”Data Analytics can bring down established business models,” says Jo Coutuer of Deloitte. ”Opportunities abound for anyone who is aware of the possible impact.”

The new generation of smart computers will not steal our jobs
but it will change them drastically.

Jo Coutuer, Partner at Deloitte

Data Analytics' disruptive potential is not always visible, but it happens more often than you think. For instance, consider what a company such as has done for the travel industry. Booking holidays online has become the norm. Or look at Spotify, Uber and Airbnb: all business models made possible by the evolutions in Data Analytics which have all upended established industries.

”If optimisation and even redefinition are no longer enough to give an organisation a permanent raison d'être, the result is disruption,” says Jo Coutuer, Partner and Analytics Leader at Deloitte. Disruption, as the preceding examples illustrate, can result in traditional models disappearing extremely quickly. But disruption is also possible in a more controlled fashion: an evolution from optimisation to redefinition, resulting in a radical change of a business model.

Take Qaelum, a spin-off of University Hospitals Leuven that measures radiation doses in mammography equipment. ”We want to understand what a scanner does in every patient. In a mammography, various parameters play a role, such as the density and the glandular tissue of the breasts,” says Jurgen Jacobs, founder and CEO. “That is why we came up with an analysis system which develops models based on Big Data to determine the right radiation dose.”


Qaelum is an optimisation for both the hospital and the patient. For the patient, because a high radiation dose can induce cancer and a low dose can result in an unclear image. For the hospital, because the use of scanners can be optimised based on the data. But the new Qaelum data product has also redefined the sector. If every patient receives unique and special monitoring, this changes the relationship between the patient and the radiologist. Because which patient will accept standard treatment when he or she knows there is a better, individualised alternative?

Big Data and Analytics can turn sectors on their heads - that much is clear. But what we see today is just the tip of the iceberg. More than 80 percent of all the data companies and administrations possess is visual or textual, not in the form of figures. As soon as we develop the ability to also use this 80 percent of data usefully, combined with the 20 percent we are already able to process at increasing speed, entirely new opportunities will be created and old ones will be under threat.

Artificial intelligence

”The next step in Data Analytics and artificial intelligence are smart systems,” says Coutuer. ”Computers that understand texts and can teach machines to do things. “The opportunities offered by these ‘cognitive systems’ are immense. Take the example of a call centre. A computer that understands what the customer asks and knows the preferences and background of this customer, is perfectly capable of correctly answering the customer’s initial, superficial level of questions. Or look at lawyers. Young lawyers or interns sometimes spend weeks finding precedents to prepare a lawsuit. What if a computer were able to do this in a matter of seconds? ”This evolution would not make lawyers superfluous, but would considerably change the content of their work.”

But how should your company deal with the evolutions in Data Analytics and artificial intelligence? ”It is a matter of self-reflection,” says Coutuer. ”Realise that it can fundamentally change your business and meet the opportunities provided by all innovations as much as possible and as soon as possible. After all, tomorrow is today.”

De Tijd (19/3)


Inzichten uit grote hoeveelheden data kunnen een bedrijf verregaand optimaliseren. Maar de technologische innovaties van morgen hebben een nog veel groter potentieel. ‘Data Analytics kan gevestigde businessmodellen omgooien’, zegt Jo Coutuer van Deloitte. ‘Wie zich bewust is van de mogelijke impact, heeft de kansen voor het grijpen.’

Published: 19 March 2015

L'Echo (19/3)


Les enseignements tirés de grandes quantités de données disponibles peuvent permettre à une entreprise de procéder à des optimisations radicales. Pour autant, le potentiel des innovations technologiques de demain ne se limite pas à ces optimisations. « Les Data Analytics peuvent révolutionner les modèles d’entreprises établis », assure Jo Coutuer (Deloitte). « Ceux qui sont conscients de leur impact possible ont des opportunités à saisir. »

Published: 19 March 2015
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