TAG, Georgia’s “IT” for Innovation in the Tech Industry

I recently had the pleasure of representing Ketchum at the 2018 Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Summit. With over 1,400 attendees, it is one of the largest tech showcases in the Southeast. So large, in fact, that the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, kicked off day two by noting tech growth in the region has increased 14.68 percent over the past five years – three times the national average!

The growth is no accident. With a highly skilled labor market, low cost of living, diverse range of industries and top notch higher-ed institutions, it is no wonder why software and IT companies are flocking to Georgia as their new home base.

As part of the Summit, TAG honored the top 40 companies that are transforming the tech industry in the region. Of those 40, TAG highlighted the ‘Top 10 Innovative Companies’ during day one by giving each organization an opportunity to provide an overview of their respective businesses. From medical devices that detect cancerous tissue early in a diagnosis to data security platforms that use AI with facial biometrics, the Summit showcased incredibly diverse technology solutions in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Thematically, many speakers reinforced how the tech ecosystem will become even more connected in the coming years, (who isn’t talking about IoT?) but more interesting to me was the reoccurring theme that businesses need to get more intelligent about predictive analytics to better address market trends, target the right customers and use their own data to drive stronger ROI through predictive analytics. But, as you may have guessed, it is easier said than done.

The role of data analytics was the subject of several breakout sessions, with nearly all panelists in agreement that it’s critical for businesses to know their use cases before crunching data. That may sound facile but, according to the panelists, it is too easy for businesses to say, “We have lots of data. We will just figure it out somehow,” without thoroughly examining it. Instead, companies need to know what tools to use to ensure the data set is correct, and then find the right talent that can bridge the communication gap between data scientists and the business/sales teams to work more effectively.

For communications professionals, it means we need to pay even closer attention to the ways brands use predictive analytics for better business outcomes, learn how the technology works and then tell those stories across channels that make the most sense at any given time.

For instance, if a brand shares first-of-its-kind data on incremental industry growth by X percent, then perhaps they should then craft a flight of social posts linking back to the findings. If it is a deeper macro trend, like how the data points inform the increasing convergence of IT, marketing and sales in said industry, then it may be best suited for a thought leadership piece for media consumption or short form blog post on the company’s website. The session really stood out to me because many companies talk about data, but have challenges implementing it in intelligent ways.

While data was a big theme, along with bio-metrics and AI, a personal highlight for me was the session “The Future of Crypto,” which focused on demystifying blockchain technology and providing the business cases for crypto-currencies, specifically with international and e-commerce transactions. I’ll be interested to see how cryptocurrency evolves over the coming years – the corporate applications and adopters – and whether, just maybe, we’ll all be using a digital ledger instead of our debit cards in the near future.

As the resident TAG member in Ketchum South, I look forward to attending more of their events and sharing the wealth. More to come!

Check out TAG to learn more about the movers & shakers from the Summit.