CIOs Must Rethink IP Secrecy

One of the intriguing things about IT is that it sometimes presents situations that are entirely counterintuitive. For example, business secrecy has long been a critical issue. An organization’s ability to protect intellectual property has determined whether it soars or stumbles.

Conventional wisdom tells business and IT leaders that sharing intellectual property with others is risky–and it could “jeopardize their competitive differentiation and business opportunities,” according to Sami Luukkonen, global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics & High Tech industry group. But in today’s digital environment, and with the Internet of things rapidly moving into the mainstream, less conventional wisdom is often wiser, he contends.

In fact, clinging to a culture of secrecy may stifle innovation and make a business more vulnerable, Luukkonen said.

“To gain competitive differentiation, serve customers more effectively and drive higher revenues and profits, companies need to collaborate more openly and broadly by sharing more intellectual property,” he said.

Within this emerging order, CIOs and others must recognize that digital connections are not limited to employees and customers. They must stretch the boundaries. An enterprise must evolve to become part of a global network of businesses, individuals and things from around the world–essentially a digital “ecosystem.”

The IoT ratchets up the stakes.

“No one company produces all the pieces of the Industrial Internet of things and the Internet of things ecosystem such as devices, sensors, data, services, applications, networks and more. Companies need to work together to synchronize and share data collected among all the devices. When they do, they expand revenue-generating opportunities for each of them,” Luukkonen said.

Data sharing also spawns sharper product development and customer insights. However, enterprises must approach the task intelligently and sync their efforts into the ecosystem, Luukkonen said. “Companies need to be shrewd and selective about what they share and with whom. With their core trusted business partners, they should be more open than ever. They need to be more selective, however, about information they distribute to companies with whom they have not worked.”

Finally, there’s a need to embed security through the ecosystem through a collaborative approach. Otherwise, Luukkonen said, companies wind up attempting to run “high-integrity applications on what they don’t realize are low-integrity environments.”

The end goal? Provide frameworks and models to support the business goals and objectives while protecting privacy, critical assets and services, and giving other businesses insights they need.


Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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