By Alakh Verma, Director, Platform Technology Solutions, Oracle
The year 2011 saw a dramatic leap in Cloud, Social and Mobile technologies and the emergence of some key trends. In today’s ever changing technology-centric world, we are witnessing consumerization of IT and more participation of consumers in the business. Easy to use, highly mobile, and social are the mantras of the new generation of IT. Let us examine some key emerging trends as below.
- Cloud Computing
More than 50 percent of business leaders Sand Hill interviewed, implemented game-changing Cloud solutions in the last twelve months. The survey uncovered the fact that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are already realizing benefits from Cloud solutions. Nearly 70 percent of the surveyed software executives indicated that SMEs are the source of their current revenues. Moreover, 85 percent said that smaller companies with revenues less than $500 million account for the highest revenue today. The reasons why Cloud adoption currently is faster and deeper among SMEs are many. The two most prominent characteristics driving them to the Cloud are:
• SMEs are less tied down by historical investments in infrastructure, massive data files, and organizational obstacles to adoption
• SMEs’ lack of access to a large reservoir of capital and resources
- Mobility-Smart Devices and Tablets
In the past decade, we witnessed a smart revolution in mobility. The number of mobile devices has increased fivefold from 1 billion to 5 billion, with a resulting escalation in the number of connected people from 400 million to over 2 billion. This growth of connectivity is creating an overwhelming range of new possibilities, and tapping, swiping, locating, pinging and socializing are quickly becoming part of normal human behavior. Technology is starting to change people and these people, whether consumers or employees, will change our culture and way of doing business. New applications, widgets and other digital gadgets are taking technology into a whole new direction. They are driving innovation and are actively transforming our business from “Systems of Record” to “Systems of Engagement”.
- Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business
Mobility with smart devices on fingertips has accelerated the use of social networks to communicate and collaborate. McKinsey and Company has reported that the revenue growth of social businesses is 24% higher than less social firms and data from Frost and Sullivan backs that up across various KPIs.
This new paradigm shift has defined the new level of customer engagements.
The Six Layers of Customer Engagement
a) The Web: When companies moved to the Web, they asked customers to be self-sufficient with regard to product information, customer service and ordering.
b) Social Media: The social Web opened up possibilities of public, two-way conversation.
c) Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter: These are the Internet for many people, and they handle all of their communication, with friends and companies, through the world’s largest social network.
d) Mobile: With a phone in every pocket, customers are now looking for information that they can consume on their mobile devices.
e) Augmented Reality: Digital information can now be placed on top of the real world.
f) The Game Layer: This builds on the mobile layer and lets businesses turn the world and their businesses into a game.
- Consumerization of IT
Consumerization of IT is associated with ease-of-use, attractive interfaces, intuitive functionality and low prices. In the corporate IT world, this move to "consumerized" IT has been described as the penetration of employee-purchased mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. This phenomenon is already growing and penetrating large organizations rapidly.
- Big data
Businesses are already facing greater challenges with large amount of data more than ever before, yet have surprisingly little access to it. The term “big data” was coined to describe new technologies and techniques that can handle an order of magnitude or two more data than enterprises are today. Big data offers the promise of better ROI on valuable enterprise datasets, while being able to tackle entirely new business problems that were previously impossible to solve with existing techniques.
Cloud, Social and Mobile computing are taking the mainstream in this paradigm shift and organizations would seek best practices to adopt and implement sooner than later.
People, Process and Technology and Cultural Shift
As with any business, people, process within the organization and the technology, play very important role and Social business will not be an exception to it. More importantly the change in people behavior and culture will also be significant to its adoption. The most successful companies are embedding social components into their business applications such as CRM, Financials and Talent Management. Oracle Fusion Applications has embedded capabilities of social collaboration with workflow integration. Real-time collaboration within workgroups would help in productivity and this is already in practice at Oracle for a long time.
Social Location and Mobility
Three hot areas of social business are social, location-based and mobility. Nielsen and NM Incite have created infographics with interesting figures in each area. Parents turn out to be big on social media. Nearly half of visitors to local deals sites recommend those sites. Smartphone users spend two-thirds of their time using their phones on apps, rather than talking.
Inclusive System Flexibility (Bring Your Own Devices-BYOD)
With popular usage pattern of Smart devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and tablets, Blackberry and Android devices among employees, organizations need to provide flexibility to integrate with their corporate systems to enhance productivity. Oracle has already provided apps interface and enabled access to the corporate network and apps with VPN access to manage and maintain security.
Top Down –Left Right and Center
Social is the human behavior and it has to be across the board within organizations. With the emergence of these trends, everyone within organizations should have Twitter, LinkedIn and Social media accounts and establish its network of trust and credibility. It is a major cultural shift that needs to be enforced at the top management and executed sincerely at all levels.