Back to the Future: Basics Matter

By Minal Shah, Senior Director, Competitive and Market Intelligence, SAP Corporate Strategy Group.

Digital transformation is at the fore-front of C-suite priorities. Machine learning, artificial intelligence are no longer just buzz words as investments are focused on how do businesses weave in these technologies into their business processes supporting cloud deployments, mobile and social capabilities, big data and analytics.

Every company in the world is becoming a ‘technology’ company as digital transformation is disrupting business, or even entire industries. New business models, often coming from outside the traditional industry, is the top CEO concern. E.g. new use cases are emerging with creative deployment of combined digital technologies, such as intelligent assistant systems and service bots, smart cars/homes. These digital initiatives will impact industries leading to proliferation of specialized applications.

For IT, this implies consumerization, creating transformative pressures on customer engagement models for the organization and/or LOBs. Purchase discussions would be centered around customer insights, operational intelligence and new monetization models

Role of CIOs

Amidst this digital plethora, the role of CIO remains critical, holding the largest IT budgets, varying between 56% for matured markets like Australia to 85% in emerging or platform-centric markets like Indonesia and Korea.

The basic principles around IT governance still remains within CIO gamit, but their role is undergoing shift with focus towards I3C, i.e. Integrate, Incorporate, Innovate and Collaborate.

For CIOs, as the budget shifts from operational IT to digital IT, top priorities center around

  • Seamless integrationas top concern as hybrid IT remains the norm, and there is need for unified apps across the systems.
  • Unifying business data will gain prominence, as customers seek building out data economies.
  • Intuitive apps that need no training and have assistive conversational style, demonstrating consumability
  • Technology infrastructure that is purpose built, ready for use in their industry, and supporting changing business models
  • Robust tools & platform for multi-cloud management services/ products as new innovation accelerators join in (note: Usage of cloud apps is exploding, e.g. on average, 340 apps are being used per APJ organization)

 Building, operating, and managing cloud environments, especially multi or hybrid cloud, would be a challenge, and may risk projects.Strong consulting-led approach with a unified IT architectural and enterprise services will lead a long way.

New Emerging Technologies 

A peek at the some of the key themes that are shaping the technology market suggests that markets are maturing with more use-cases and vendor offerings.

a) Cloud Platforms are now a viable option across all geographies for deploying for customer-critical applications due to rapid access to innovations through APIs, accelerated resource provisioning, financial flexibility, and scalability

b) Dawn of intelligent applications is on the anvil, with vendors embedding machine learning across all aspects of enterprise software.

i-applications will enhance the technology value proposition by moving from record management to intelligent systems that learn from exceptions and adapting business rules. Users will be able to predict and plan for outcomes based on system recommendations.

Its broader adoption will drive automated decisions to optimize business efficiency while elevating customer experience with integrated data, IoT interfaces, and other information to become “intelligent”

c) Assistive Customer Experience supporting changing business processes.

Quality of the user experience will emerge as the major differentiator between intelligent applications. E.g. assistive user interface will be key to transform the knowledge workers of today to the digital knowledge workers of the future

Customer engagement has moved beyond operational efficiencies to form the foundation of company’s customer experience strategy. businesses must embrace technologies such as AI and IoT to leverage all contextual data, and engage using the communication channels preferred by customers, such as messaging apps and chatbots.

d) IoT and Blockchain will see real-world industrial use-cases and venture into mainstream adoption.

IoT is evolving – combining connectivity, intelligence, and data – to provide insights about the system performance and operation, while Blockchain is a technology that securely processes and stores transactions across decentralized networks, with data replicated across all nodes.

For businesses, connected and intelligent products could dramatically expand opportunities for differentiation, translating ‘insights’ to empower businesses.IoT networks powered by Blockchain also have the potential to disrupt traditional centralized IoT scenarios creating a multiplier advantage.

e) Adaptive security rules supreme in the digital world

Most organizations are moving to “clouds”, opting for multi-vendor cloud approach, bound together by hybrid implementations. Arising “digitally connected” technologies (IoT, edge computing, cloud computing) also opens avenues for sophisticated security breaches. There will require a rethink on IT security strategy, as the requirement moves beyond traditional security methods to a more intelligent, proactive, and adaptive security that can pre-empt and respond to ever-evolving threats, and deeply embedded in the technology portfolio.

In summary, disruptive technologies will continue to prevail.Hallmark of successful players would be quick adaptability, digital savviness, and embracing innovation to create or hold competitive advantage.

Courtesy Credit: SAP Competitive and Market Intelligence team

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