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Innovation can drive commercial growth

The global economy has consumers challenged, following the fiscal downturn of 2008. A financial environment of this nature pressures how users achieve growth in any business. It can consequently also encourage new innovation and process improvement as organisations seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
This is according to Ravi Bhat, executive for Software Group at IBM South Africa.
Today, the driving force behind corporate evolution is technology. High level executives across the globe are beginning to embrace new services and offerings as gateways towards enhanced productivity, internal best practices and customer service.

While the concept of using technology to rethink business strategy is inspiring, the practicality of knowing which emerging trends are yielding the best results could make the difference to a company’s growth.

Insights from data

The first trend to note is how technology is increasingly being put to use to turn information into insights. By implementing analytics engines which are able to examine seemingly disparate organisational data and deliver useful insights, organisations can alter faulty processes or improve lacking service areas before experiencing a decline in sales.
Enterprise content management systems are fast gaining traction as dynamic information banks which, when interfaced with business analytics, are able to facilitate a much deeper view of the business, its competitors and customer behaviours.
Gaining agility
Market shifts favour the most nimble and creative of businesses. In the face of escalating customer expectations companies are tapping into information across the entire network to resolve problems and better service customers. Using technology to enable the agile organisation is the second trend.
Here the focus is on using business process modelling and related innovations to automate and connect previously separated processes with the intention of unifying internal structures and encouraging rapid response to customer requests.
Moving to mobile
The third, and perhaps most ubiquitous, is the emergence of mobile platforms within the enterprise. According to a recently conducted IBM 2011 Global CIO study, CIOs across the globe are allocating significant resources towards empowering an instrumented workforce.
Although this holds numerous productivity and cost saving benefits, organisations looking to utilise mobile technology should ensure that employees accessing sensitive corporate information via remote devices do so in a secure manner.
Doing more with less
The fourth area that technology is making an impact on is on optimising business IT infrastructure. Usually this is the starting point for most cost cutting exercises in the organisation but interestingly optimising is about more than cost cutting.
Innovative services such as automated asset management and enhanced management of enterprise data volumes are allowing businesses to operate more profitably by facilitating the allocation of capital to other departments.
In every region, business sector and focus area, technology is empowering organisations with new ideas and approaches to old problems. Innovation is the life blood of success, and will undoubtedly continue to support growth no matter the economic situation.
Technology is more than a useful tool for business. Used in conjunction with foresight and vision technology becomes the means to overcome challenging economic situations, the engine for innovation  and the means to grow in today’s market.