It was very early for some of us. And cold too. But that didn’t stop us as we made our way to the Deloitte SA Tech Trends 2012 conference at 7:30 AM.
Kamal Ramisngh, Deloitte’s Technology Leader set the scene by introducing us to the morning ahead which would be mainly presented by Mark White, Principal US Consulting chief Technology Office.
Every year, Tech Trends runs to a theme and 2012’s theme is Elevate IT for Digital Business.
Mark began to explain how there are two broad categories: Disruptors and Enablers. The definition of Disruptors are :”technologies that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations and sometimes even business models.” the definition of Enablers are: “technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but which warrant another look this year because of new developments. Enablers may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the potential is there to elevate the business game with technology.”
Under the Distruptors category there are 5 trends that have a direct effect on business:
- Social Business
- Enterprise Mobility
- User Empowerment
- Hyper-hybrid cloud
Under the Enablers category there are 5 trends that have a direct effect on business:
- Big Data
- Geospatial Visualisation
- Digital Identities
- Measured Innovation
- Outside-in Architecture
Without regurgitating the entire report, these are the highlighted points that stood out:
Social Business is all about creating net-new connections between people, information and even assets (everything has an IP address). Connections are not about sales but about engaging and communicating. However, this is not just between Business and Consumer. Social can be used between Business and Business too.
Interesting to hear that 83% of brands will have a monitoring tool by 2012 that will monitor their Online Reputation. This is the “place” that only intelligence agencies used to “monitor” and now regular brands are deploying the same technology.
The secret formula for Social Business is:1. Choose a business objective. 2. Map a social graph 3. Choose the platform 4. Implement the software. Rinse&Repeat
Gamification: even though Mark wishes that another term was used, gamification is critical to a business. Whilst we tend to think of gamers as kids, the average age of a gamer is 37 & women make up 42%. Mark points out that this is the same makeup as the staff in an business.
Gamification is a process that is systematically embedded into business processes and thereby adding real value. An example of how gamification is used was with a Call Center whose agents are given Avatars and are rewarded with “points” when they complete takes such as answering calls in time, customer satisfaction, furthering their training etc.
There is a WARNING: You can do Gamification wrong! Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it HAS to be done. Gamification can backfire if it is not genuine & no buy-in from the management and staff.
Enterprise Mobility: in the first week of 2011 there were 1,2 billion apps downloaded. Companies are taking mobile apps very seriously and equipping staff to be able to better serve the customer. An example is Lowes DIY Stores in the US is buying 42 000 iPhones to equip employees to aid customers in buying experience. The next logical step is to give customer an app to help themselves.
User Empowerment: is getting customer to preform a task that makes their life easier AND enhances your business service. Its a classic “Win/Win” scenario. However, be careful not to get swept away by Apps. Who is the customer? Are they an app user or Mobi user? Does network support speed? As Mark heeds: Native apps aka “The Ego App” Build a mobile app to fit your customer profile, not your CEO. User want to help themselves in a meaningful way.
Mobile is moving away from customer engagement to proper empowerment by self service. Real value as they are used to – just better. An example of this is Amtrak’s 3rd attempt of automating conductors role worked as it was how they were “used to do thing” so user & staff adopted it.
Hyper-Hybrid Cloud: We used to talk about public cloud and a private cloud. Now cloud is a mixture of these services. Cloud provides you with information as a service. with cloud comes Big Data or “Master Data Management” which puts data to work with analytics for decisions & action. Most important is to remember to “ask the right questions” when it comes to Big Data. The results to the wrong questions will be technically correct but of little value.
Interesting point was made about Geospatial Visualization. If you present lots of analytical data most people are not able to conceive its meaning. However when data is laid on a map “people get it & Executives can make decisions on it”
So in summary:
Customers adopt new technology. They are not waiting on business to provide services to them and go through long testing cycles. If business can not engage with customers on their preferred technology platform and another business can, they will churn to where they are supported and catered for.
Do not be afraid of new technology. The “new young” people in the business should school the older executives in how the new technology can assist the business.
Look out: in the future we will have position like : CSO – Chief Social Officer & CME – Chief Mobility Enhancer
Combination of the above trends are power-arrows in your business quiver. Make sure you are armed.
Download the full report here
The Slides are available here