While catchphrases such as cloud, mobility and big data are commonplace, and rapidly emerging as key trends within the consumer sector, not all enterprises are aware of what it takes to truly capitalise on these disruptive technologies – and the skills involved in implementing them.
It may seem that time is on the side of the enterprise when it comes to implementing a mobile strategy, but according to Patrick Evans, MD of Advanced Cloud Technologies, the lack of big picture thinking skills is already apparent locally and will have a negative impact on the adoption of these technologies within the enterprise.
“Specific skills such as coding are in high demand and the outlook from an IT perspective does not seem bleak, the opposite is true for the burgeoning cloud, mobile and big data sector, especially when you view it holistically,” says Evans.
The issue, which many are not necessarily aware of, is that mobility, as a disruptive technology, is not an IT issue.  Evans says most enterprises see mobility as a BYOD issue within an IT department, when in fact it is a business challenge and a tool that can enhance customer experience.  This immediately impacts the skills allocation and underpins Evans’ opinion regarding the lack of strategic big picture thinkers.
“The reality is that your customer has been undergoing a personal digital revolution for the past ten years and he might very well find how you do business utterly boring and ineffective,” says Evans “Take an average marketing manager. He may know how to use his mobile phone and possibly has a few applications downloaded, but that is where it ends. Mobility is seen as a fourth screen of advertising, which means he is completely missing the point of disruptive technologies and their collective role as a tool to improve communication and service to customers.”
He says that this kind of skill does not exist in South Africa: “All enterprise businesses should have a comprehensive mobile strategy and the necessary skill set to implement it.  It is a game changer, enables business transformation and is potentially the most influential customer experience enhancement tool to emerge this decade.
“Simplistically it is ‘B2B2C’, but to do this effectively requires skills in mobility, social media and big data with one person leading the mobile strategy and specialists within each of the respective fields,” explains Evans.
But he warns that the skill required is not what it seems at face value. He cites an example of using social media within an enterprise context and says it isn’t simply about blog, Twitter and Facebook interactions.  It is about integrating the entire digital experience that consumers are already familiar with into the workplace: “Think enterprise Facebook, enterprise Twitter, enterprise YouTube, enterprise gamification, enterprise crowd-sourcing.  This is where the skills deficiency lies.”
According to Evans finding these people is very difficult: “You need ‘big picture’ thinkers who know how to leverage these mega trends and can change the balance of power in business. We need to start developing the skill set required now, before it is too late and our evolution as an emerging market is hampered by a severe shortage at a critical juncture in enterprise business development.”