The First Paradigm – Age of Information (circa 1980 – 2000)
Information, coming in, captured the then market realities. It represented the collective market notions such as ideas, beliefs, etc. for a given time period. The Information Gradient (IG), the rate at the which a given information changed – proven, disprove etc. was fairly linear. In other words, the market behaviour was within the predictable limits of Organizational Think-tanks (OT).
The Second Paradigm – The Rise and Fall of Real Time Information (circa 2000 – 2012)
The changing market dynamics brought new problems to these OT. The IG lost its linearity. It became a victim to unforeseen market forces, and thus became more skewed. The Information captured did not convincingly represent the market notions.
It was then time for the next paradigm shift – the Real Time Information (RIT). But, RIT never represented information at all. It was a screenshot of the market notions at any point of time. It allowed the OT to ‘trust’ the market forces before taking any strategic decision.
It worked well for a while. Until RIT started losing the ‘realness’ of the information. As the real-time capturing of information peaked, companies started becoming more aspirational. They wanted information created a moment ago. While the technological advancements made it possible to capture and deliver information real-time, these companies found it difficult to put this information into perspective. For a vital component of the information made no sense – how useful is this piece of information for the immediate decisions to be made and its integrity for long-term strategic decisions.
The era of RIT came to end.
The Third Paradigm – The Age of Acformation (Present)
RIT is dead. How could a piece of information captured a minute ago make sense? More so, when information captured a minute ago will not be the same as the information that is to be captured the next minute. Especially in an industry such as Apparel or Footwear where the fashion trends are changing.
RIT lacks a continuity, in terms of aiding the business in taking market decisions.
Acformation was born. It stands for Actionable Information.
Acformation is radically different. It does not capture or represent information at all.
Acformation, in essence, represents the rate of change of information. In other words, it represents IG. IG is a meta-information, i.e. information about Information. It provides the much need context for the information, and is thus, Actionable.
Understand your company’s Information Structure
As a retailer, you need to understand the Information Structure of your business.
Primary Information (PI)
What do you have? How much of it do you have?
What has been sold?
How much of it has been sold?
Secondary (or Meta) Information (SI)
What did this customer buy?
How much did the customer buy?
What is the Customer Profile?
What is the customer buying history?
Miscellaneous Information (MI)
Accounts and Balance.
Actionable Information (AI)
Given the PI, SI & MI levels, how disposed is the customer (or a group of them) to buy in the future?
How likely will the purchase be made?
How frequent will this happen?
Will there any change in their preferences as result?
How resources is your shop in making this happen?