02/13/2013 03:15 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

The Future of the Enterprise Is "All-In" on Big Data, Mobile, Social and the Cloud

The volume of data is growing and getting bigger every day. Big data is really big. IBM says that every day, we're creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Everything is moving to the cloud. Mobile (and tablets) are everywhere and getting smarter by the minute. Everything is (almost) social -- brands are social with their consumers, consumers are social with each other, and employees are collaborating more and more on social platforms.

There's a huge amount of start-up activity in big data analytics, storage, content integration, and more directly related to industry, government, and education. Converting this in to actionable intelligence will be the next brass ring, once a company is 'all-in.' A side note: I'm already hearing whispers about data graveyards because companies don't know how to harness all this new data. That would be an absolute shame. And unforgivable. What's called for now is vision and leadership to skillfully guide companies from last century into the present and beyond.

At IBM Connect last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Alistair Rennie, the GM of IBM's Social Business division. His expert team is charging full force into creating a social culture internally and guiding their biggest customers with social business strategies that work. He also commented on how the recent acquisition of Kenexa is laying the foundation for a smarter workforce for both IBM and its customers. Clearly, when IBM is 'all-in,' that speaks volumes about the future of the enterprise in general.

I also had the opportunity to present at the conference with Sandy Carter, VP at IBM in Social Business Evangelism. We discussed the trends that are moving industries from banking to insurance, retail, health care, government, automotive, telecommunications, transportation, education in to social, mobile, and cloud applications. These industries are learning quickly that social business offers smart ways to evolve the workplace and serve their customers better. From there, predictive analysis of big data will provide the competitive edge needed to compete in a globally connected world. Being 'all-in' at this stage of the game is a wise move.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and the author of Business Meets the Power of Social Media. She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension. Email her at