Agility From Buzzword to Business-Critical

A CIO recently shared a story about a conversation between him and his CEO, which, for me, perfectly sums up the challenge IT departments are facing today. The conversation started with the CEO stating that ‘all things digital’ was his biggest priority for the next four years, to which the CIO posed a question: “what does that look like?"

The CEO took a few seconds, then responded: "Well, I don't know exactly, but there are three things I want to do. Firstly, I have some broad ideas about how I want to use technology to broaden and extend our network, but I haven't fully fleshed them out yet. Secondly, whatever we go live with, I want to get lots of real-time feedback so we can adapt and improve it. Thirdly, whatever we do, I want it to happen as quickly as possible."

After recounting this story to me, the CIO whispered: "VK, this is the exact opposite of how my IT department is structured."

The majority of business leaders - just like the CEO in the story above - understand the importance of agility to their organization’s success. Established companies are nervously looking over their shoulders at disruptive start-ups like Uber, Airbnb and Netflix who have turned their respective industries upside down with innovative business models and delivery platforms. They are also racing to serve a new, tech-savvy, mobile-first class of customer that expects their service to aggressively evolve and adapt to their individual needs.

IT departments acknowledge this changing tide too but are left with a challenging dilemma: how can we deliver the agility the business requires, with an IT department built for a different era?

Embracing cloud-based platforms that enable your service to change 'on-the-fly', is critical in today's 'always-on' world. People will no longer tolerate a message that reads - 'we apologize, our service is temporarily suspended for essential maintenance work' - or shrug and smile at the Twitter 'fail whale'. If you examine the Amazon.com website, you'll see that even if a particular part of the web page is broken - say, the pricing for instance - the rest of the page still loads. Amazon has effectively eliminated the interdependency of each section of the website; a complex idea but with agility right at its heart.

Agility has moved from buzzword to business-critical, and an organization’s ability to constantly change quickly and decisively based on feedback, is almost as important as the changes it actually decides to make.

Vikrant Karnik
SVP - Head of Sales - Enterprise Cloud Services

Read five ways cloud platforms are extending sales effectiveness

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Born in the cloud

Why are enterprises recognizing the importance of platforms as part of their strategy? Marc Gardette, Cloud Strategy Director Microsoft France and Jeroen Kila, Cloud Business Development Director, Microsoft share their view.

 

Platforms: competitiveness and disruption

Platforms have long been part of the main assets that support the business. But now, platforms are a key to either gain a competitive advantage in your existing industry or to become an industry disrupter as a non-conventional competitor.

In the current connected economy, the agility, stability and scalability of a solid platform improves competitive. How is this possible? The main advantage of the platform model is the ability to build on externally.

Winning platforms are those adopted in wide scale by external partners that willingly build value on the provided core platform. There are many examples of successful open platforms of these kind such as app stores, content platforms like youtube, advertising platforms like doubleclick. The concept is moving also to other industries like Nike+ Accelerator, a partnership program designed to connect Nike with industry leading companies.

Closer look at an industry: Telecoms

Platforms could save Communication Service Providers (CSP) who are having a very hard time. Competition is squeezing their revenue and capital investment remains high as consumers continue to demand faster, high-quality bandwidth. CSPs now realize that they need to look at adjacent market services to expand their revenue streams.

Platforms can play a key role in this. They can help CSPs develop, deliver and manage new services and charging models. In terms of new revenue opportunities, some of most promising areas for new services are M2M (machine-to-machine), cloud computing, digital media, and mobile advertising.

CSPs should not be put off by established players like Google when it comes to mobile advertising platforms. The 100 billion market potential proves too attractive and we are already seeing moves being made by some CSPs such as WEVE. Safer bets for CSPs can be to build platforms for the M2M world, even if the platforms are less mature in respect to the ones built by established internet players in their domains.

Opportunities are everywhere. Look to see how platforms can help you disrupt the next industry.

Hovsep Avagyan
Business Development Manager
and
Fabio Moioli
Head of Telecom & Media

Read about Platform N° 3 from the TechnoVision 2015 series

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The Prosumers are coming and they want your platform

I’ll admit, I’m a technology agnostic and I don’t believe in traditional business models. So what’s the solution for becoming a Digital Master and how can platforms play a part?

Know that the gloves are off - it’s down to you

Digital platforms have been facing fierce attacks from disrupting business strategies the last few years. From Uber to airbnb, new players seek to leverage the rise of The Prosumer. It’s been shaking down the taxi, hotel, film and banking industry.

The platform is no longer the technological solution from Microsoft or IBM. It’s the business strategy you pave out.

Focus on the digital customer experience

This will capture the Millennials that both consume and produce content.

Simply put, the more users that engage with a solution - the more profit the company stand to make. This holds true for not only technological natives like Facebook. Even complex ERP platforms and Healthcare records should be transformed. Don’t take no for an answer.

Tap in to the quickly erupting sharing economy

Supply platforms that let’s the user produce the content. Empowering them means a Mobile First approach, or even Mobile Only. Or Apple Watch only. Or… You get the drift? Just make sure it scales. If necessary.

Let your business strategy and user needs dictate your platform. The ones caught dragging their digital feet is about to have their Kodak moment.

The Prosumers are here.

Hogne Malum Gjersvik
Head of UX & Managing Consultant

Read how the power is shifting from corporations to platforms

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Case study:The Traffic Agent

Introducing the Traffic Agent app - a strategic crowdsourcing tool that pays attention to the end users’ actual needs. To improve road safety, 44.000 primary school children in Oslo were invited to report easy and challenging spots on their way to school.

This initiative is now disrupting the way the public sector in Norway gathers feedback from the community. It was showcased at Cannes Lions Innovation this year.

See the infographic and read the full story.

 

Travelling to future with Digital Platforms

No matter how well we plan our travel, there is a chance of something going wrong somewhere: flight delays, missed connections, managing hotels or taxis are so cumbersome. Imagine a travel assistant sitting on your mobile device, giving you updates and managing your schedules and rearranging your logistics on the go! Yes, such a thing is possible and already being implemented.

There were times when we had large monolithic platforms, which served only one purpose or possibly a couple. With the advent of Mobile and Digital, organizations are building customized platforms to suit their industry process and needs, delivering personalized and contextual information to their customers.

Going back to the travel example above, first platforms we saw were only for buying tickets. Today travel companies or even credit card companies are building custom platforms which can integrate with airline, airport, taxi, hotel, restaurants, logistics, city administration, government agencies, etc, to provide you with an end-to-end experience, customized for business or personal travel. Digital possibilities can monitor your movements in real time and can constantly analyze and think on your behalf to recommend the best possibilities for you, customized and personalized, seamlessly on any device channel.

“Google Now” is an experience that is achieving part of the expectations. Apple is also betting on contexts with its iOS9 announced “Proactive Assistant”. Traveling with the best possible customer experience based on your preferences is a reality with digital possibilities integrated end to end.

Systems and services are becoming “Digitally Aware” and enterprises are integrating the platforms that can enable collaboration between businesses. Platform technologies are available today to orchestrate between heterogeneous channels, systems and services.

Digital Transformation Platforms enable

  • Integrated service view of businesses and enable unified workflows
  • Incorporate elements of transformations like context, personalization, proximity seamlessly within the experiences
  • Constant learning and re-thinking of the customer behaviors that can act as future business assets
  • Real time decision making based on the business possibilities exposed by various systems
  • Safeguarding the user data, user context and user presence

Businesses are now passionate of the unique digital capability they want to give their customers. The innovative experience demands custom weaving of capabilities over unified services with orchestration platforms. Enterprises are indeed focusing on building customized platforms to suit their business processes, to delight their customers, consuming the existing capabilities and then creating a wider set of new capabilities for future. Today, these customized platforms can be quickly put together, by using readily available components and connectors, just like we put together Lego blocks! I am sure an evolving digital continuum will pave the way for a better and faster way to build these customized digital platforms that promises to take customer experience to greater heights.

Darshan Shankavaram
Vice President, Digital Service Line

Catch up on when the third generation enterprise mobile platform was already emerging

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Design to disrupt

Meet the authors

 

Hovsep Avagyan Business Development Manager

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Marc Gardette Cloud Strategy Director
Microsoft France

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Hogne Malum Gjersvik Head of UX & Managing Consultant

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Vikrant Karnik SVP - Head of Sales
Enterprise Cloud Services

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Jeroen Kila Cloud Business Development Director
Microsoft

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Fabio Moioli Head of Telecom & Media

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Darshan Shankavaram Vice President, Digital Service Line

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