Mastering the art of business transformation

Cloud, analytics, mobile and social have all done the rounds but it's their combined power that's the real game changer for organisations.

Every so often, the IT industry gets swept up in the hype over different technologies. Cloud, analytics, mobile and social have all done the rounds but it’s only recently that people have begun to view them collectively as a game changer for organisations. While the industry is used to change, these waves of innovation reflect changing social adoption of technology, not merely the changing business economics of previous innovation waves.

Each of those trends individually have brought about profound changes to the enterprise technology space but it is the combination of cloud, analytics, mobile and social (collectively known as CAMS) that is kicking off an evolution of how businesses operate as a whole in the digital era.

To break it down; social entails the use of social media platforms within an organisation to share best practice and knowledge; mobile relates to using powerful mobile devices to expedite processes; analytics is for sieving through data and gleaming actionable insights for the business; and cloud allows for the power of IT to be accessible almost anywhere and lowers the total cost of ownership for a company’s IT infrastructure.

The aggregation of these technologies is so powerful that organisations are finding it hard to ignore the opportunities CAMS present. The reasoning is simple: how would a mobile strategy bring appropriate insights to a process without the integration of analytics? How can your social campaign move at the speed demanded by the consumer without the flexibility of cloud? These initiatives complement each other to deliver consumer-relevant experiences at speed.

Some organisations already leverage one or more of these technologies. According to IBM’s Under Cloud Cover study, 69 percent of organisations are either Pacesetters or Challengers when it comes to cloud deployment. These companies have already deployed cloud solutions in their businesses using it as a platform to run analytics, social and/or mobile projects. 

These powerful technology combinations are driving  strategic reinvention of customer relationships and facilitating deeper collaboration between business units. But a number of organisations have yet to explore how a CAMS stack can potentially overhaul their traditional business models. For companies that have a long history, their business processes and corporate models are likely to be outdated, stifling their ability to innovate and gain a competitive edge in their respective markets.

For 20th Century businesses, the cost of communication was expensive, employees usually worked in one central location, and the flow of information was controlled. Fast-forward to the modern day, all these things have been turned on their heads and the advent of CAMS is a clear sign businesses need to evolve with dynamic changes occurring among their employees, customers and competitors.

This new technology stack doesn’t just affect how IT departments deploy technology to the organisation; CAMS is breaking down the walls between business units, empowering them with unbridled access to technology to perform their jobs in innovative and expedited ways.

IBM's Era of Smart report provides evidence that Australian enterprises will need to adapt, change and take advantage of key technologies to lead in the digital economy and compete in what IBM terms the era of “smart”. The era of “smart” is a time when success will be driven by how effectively enterprises can harness the power of new technologies including cloud, analytics, mobile and social;  to deliver unique value to customers and citizens with the speed, efficiency and ubiquity they demand.

With CAMS, there is an opportunity for larger organisations to innovate at the rate of start-ups, allowing enterprises to embrace change quicker and enabling them to ‘test-and-learn’. This means businesses can deploy a solution, learn from their mistakes, and progressively implement better offerings that respond to evolving consumer and employee sentiment.

It is easy to brush off CAMS as just another industry buzzword, but the technology stack is going to have a greater impact on businesses in the coming years. Organisations that begin to embrace CAMS now will have a head start against rivals that still have their heads buried in the sand. Indeed, the Era of Smart report forecasts that significant gaps will open up between major Australian enterprises that actively transform their operations for the coming digital economy and those that stick to business as usual.

Will Duckworth is Consulting Services Leader at IBM Global Business Services