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What it takes to be a digital disrupter

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Kathy Gibson reports from Fujitsu World Tour in Johannesburg – Technology is having a profound effect on how companies across the board are doing business now and into the future.
Although there have been waves of technology before now, this one is greatly accelerated, says Frederico Carvalho, META regional business director at Intel.
“This creates a number of challenges,” he says.
This digital disruption can been summarised in four areas: these include business efficiency and agility, trust, privacy and data sovereignty; innovation and new economy business models; and the macro-economic effects that are often beyond our control.
“In terms of business agility, all companies are now expected to adapt to more knowledgeable and informed customers, while the services we offer have to adapt quickly to changing demands.”
Customers move quickly and easily so companies need to be more dynamic to respond quickly.
In terms of data, many people treat this almost as currency, Carvalho says. Threats to data are real, with it taking a long time to find out about a compromise, and a long time to recover as well. Compliance is another big issue at the moment, with data at the centre of these concerns.”
“Why is data so important?” Carvalho asks. “It’s because it can be very easily translated into money. So keeping data safe and compliant is a priority.”
Meanwhile, a lot of traditional businesses are being disrupted by technology platforms that address the inefficiencies of some industries to create a new business model.
Carvalho points out that this is made possible by the sharing economy, which disrupts how we do business. “How we adapt our companies to address these opportunities is important.”
The macro economy is also being impacted by technology, Carvalho says. He points out that if Moore’s Law was just a little bit slower – taking place over three years instead of two – we would still be at 1998 technology levels.
Businesses are adapting and responding to the challenges. “We see it happening across all industries,” Carvalho points out. For instance, all automotive manufacturers are working on self-driving vehicles, and these will become reality soon, along with the possibility of new business models in vehicle ownership.
“A lot of the automotive companies are actually leading that disruption,” he adds. “It’s better to lead than to follow.”
There are six elements to becoming digital, Carvalho says.
All businesses are becoming data driven, with data coming from a number of sources, devices and sensors.
The smart word will become a reality, along with on-demand business models. The infrastructure to support these services needs to be agile and trusted, ensuring that data is protected and where it is coming from.
Customers will expect to have a connected experience, while the workforce will become more innovative.
Being data-driven, Carvalho says, is usually associated with big data; the smart world is usually associated with sensors and the Internet of Tings (IoT); on-demand would generally be delivered witih the secure cloud; being trusted is all about be secure; the connected experience relates to perceptual computing; and the innovative workforce has a lot to do with the design of the workplace and letting people work in a perceptive way.
“This mean the role of us I T is fundamentally changing. It’s not about managing the technology any more but about understanding how the technology can enable the business,” he adds.
“It’s about understanding how you bring all these elements together to support the company to be successful – orchestrating so the business can make sure of services and technology.”
Intel structures itself on enabling digital business by powering both the cloud environment and the word of things and devices.