The pace of change in the world of IT is phenomenal; every three months, new trends and technologies emerge that change the way people live and work. Keeping up with ongoing technological revolutions and further applying them to solve business problems has become a daunting task.
This according to Hamilton Ratshefola, sales director for IBM South Africa, speaking at a gathering of more than 400 CIOs and IT managers at IBM Business Connect 2013.

Technological innovation, followed by application innovation, is what has the capacity to set one business apart from their competitors, allowing them to bring better products to market faster, and meet consumer needs before consumers are aware they have those needs. Innovative thinking also solves complex business problems with solutions that streamline operations and improve efficiencies.

“Ultimately, the ability to innovate will determine who operates most effectively and holds the greatest market share,” says Ratshefola

For every innovation that begins with the question: “What can we do with this?”, there are numerous possible applications. Determining which new solutions can be employed to deliver what business innovations requires supremely innovative thinking. This is where a partnership with professional innovators is called for.

IBM has the world’s biggest ‘war chest’ of patents and is a veteran innovator of 100 years’ standing.

“IBM is in the business of revolutionising technologies for the purpose of problem-solving. Of the 450 000 global staff, more than 150 000 are in research, software development and business consulting to deliver smart solutions to business problems. In addition, in order to remain at the cutting edge of innovation, IBM has constantly reengineered itself for over a century, pioneering strategies and solutions it now passes on to business.

“We believe that wherever there is a system of operation in society, government or business, technological innovation has the power to improve it. This is why IBM has long moved beyond its role as a hardware giant.

“It is now also the world’s third-largest software company and a global consulting powerhouse. IBM’s consultants around the world are delivering advanced solutions to the most complex problems, spanning departments and capabilities, both in the public and private sector,” adds Ratshefola.

Innovation has a knock-on effect. By innovating in one area, we are able to apply the innovation to multiple other areas. For example, the chips developed by IBM for gaming consoles. Due to the demands of gaming, these chips are capable of running multiple processes simultaneously, in nanoseconds. Now, they are also in use in banking mainframe computers for fraud detection.

Because they are capable of complex processing, they support advanced analysis to detect transaction anomalies instantly, which the actual transaction is taking place. There are numerous commercials applications for them too.

But it is beyond the scope of the average enterprise to track hundreds of thousands of new patents, assess their capabilities, and determine which of them could be applied to solving business challenges. It’s more necessary in today’s economic climate to seek the advice of expert consultants who not only understand the potential for the new technologies, but who actually invented them.