Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Digital Enterprise - Part 1 - Basics

All over the world, the way business is getting done, is changing at an unprecedented rate. The major disruptive forces, contributing to this change, are
  • Social Media Adoption
  • Big Data
  • Mobile Devices
  • Cloud

These four factors are being popularly referred to as "Digital" - as a concise way to describe the digital revolution that is sweeping enterprises world wide.

Let us briefly consider the factors, contributing to "Digital Enterprise".

Social Media

The exponential increase in social media adoption, at a personal level, in last few years, is fairly evident. But what is really driving relevance of social media, at the level of enterprises and businesses is the fact that businesses and enterprises are becoming completely "customer - centric". 

Ok. Good businesses have always been customer centric :) but till last decade, the channels for knowing your customers were quite limited and conventional. With huge social media adoption, now, the channels for understanding your customer, their preferences, their needs, their likes and dislikes, habits, etc are much more easily accessible.

Businesses are using social media to engage with customers and conversely, customers too are expecting, websites and softwares to get customized, personalized to their likes, preferences and needs.

Typical use cases include
Businesses getting noticed by customers in social media context >> Customers, logging into product's or service's social pages, to see who amongst their friends and acquaintances recommend the product >> Customers expressing interest through likes, get quotes, etc

We can broadly categorize the "digital" initiatives in this area as being related to

  • Customer Analytics - insights into the customers themselves
  • Engagement Analytics - insights about how effectively our engagement tools are working
  • Brand Promotion / Marketing


Big Data

The volume, variety and velocity of data being generated and made accessible is at an unprecedented levels. In order to analyse this magnitude of data, conventional batch processes are going to be following woefully short.

The ability to analyse such structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, so as to be able to derive business value from it, is going to need new tools and technologies that are distributed and can scale linearly with increasing data volumes.

Big Data platforms are definitely going to play a critical role in enterprise level business intelligence.

Mobile Devices

The explosion in the usage of mobile devices like smart phones, tablets, netbooks, etc has clearly transformed the way business is being done. The @anywhere - @anytime demand is being placed on enterprises not only from their customers but also from their internal staff.

Due to the ubiquitous use of mobile devices, business processes are getting transformed and new use cases, based on modern device capabilities like the ability to receive instant notifications or broadcast geo-locations, are transforming business processes like never before.

Mobile apps are changing customer engagement models and customer expectations of support and service levels are also being redefined in the context of these advancements in technology.

Cloud

Finally, the emergence of cloud computing and related technologies could not have been at a more opportune time. For example, in order to support the thousands of mobiles devices and mobile apps, which are going to access your IT Services, extremely scalable, performant and reliable infrastructures are a need of the hour. 

Elastic scalability, 24x7 availability and operational efficiencies are required to host the business applications of the digital enterprise. These can only be provided with a cloud infrastructure. Public, private and hybrid clouds are playing their part to support the digital enterprise, without a doubt.


Summary

The need of the hour is for enterprises to think of all the above factors - mobility, social media, big data and cloud, that contribute to a digital enterprise holistically, rather than trying to implement any one strategy piece-meal.


In the ensuing series of articles, I will be taking a deep dive into areas of interest related to digital, while trying to firm up concepts, solutions, tools, frameworks and technical designs and implementations.


Cheers !


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