Kathy Gibson is at IDC CIO Summit in Chartwell -The speed of technological advancement can catch CIOs unaware: while they are deploying systems they are already obsolete.
One way to circumvent that is through autonomous application development, says Jon Tullett, research manager: IT services, Africa at IDC.
There are three transformative technologies that companies have to consider today, says Itayi Mandonga, cloud champion at Oracle SA.
They are Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
“On their own, these technologies can all transform the business,” Mandonga says. “But together they offer an unprecedented opportunity to become innovative, profitable and agile.”
Studies show that there will probably be 50-billion IoT devices by 2020, generating 8 zettabytes of data and representing an investment of $3-trillion.
“But what is key is to look at how they are transforming our personal and professional lives; the companies we work in, the way we do business, and what we do in our social lives,” Mandonga says.
“And the backbone that allows these technologies to do anything is the cloud. It empowers technologies that can transform business while lowering the cost of IT operations.
“Importantly, cloud has become a great equaliser. It has opened up the market to small players, who can now use the same technology as this big guys.”
In the era of cloud computing, Oracle believes the technology will provide self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing services.
He explains that the new Oracle database meets these criteria, without the need for human intervention.
“We talk about autonomous cloud services; and we are there; they are available now.”
Becoming autonomous won’t help companies if they simply take bad processes and digitise them.
“There are big expectations from customers,” says Stefan Jacobs, applications head at Wipro Africa. “They expect to do things faster.”
In fact, studies show that customers are willing to pay more if they can get a guaranteed experience, Jacobs says.
“Digital disruption is already happening,” he adds. “First Amazon changed the way people sold books. Now Amazon has opened a brick-and-mortar store that is so digitised it is changing the rules again.”
Banking is a good example of where disruption is happening now. “As CIOs we need to enable the business. If the business doesn’t go on the journey, they risk being disrupted by new entrants.”
The goal of all digital efforts is to provide a delightful service to the customers, Jacobs says. This has to happen at speed, and must offer customer value.
“If you add customer value, your sales will rise,” Jacobs points out.
Autonomous systems are the next step in the digital journey, he adds.
“We’ve gone through the Internet era and the social media era; now we are in the collaborative economy age. The next step is the autonomous world.”
Jacobs describes autonomous as being a machine that does the work of a human being.
He adds that there has to be a balance between privacy and autonomous services.
“Autonomous systems make decisions, they are intelligent and they can do things with no human interventions. To do this they use data.”
To get there, businesses need to understand what the end goal is. “You can only know how to get there if you know where you are going,” Jacobs says.
The right team has to be place, Jacobs add. These teams would include older people, youngsters, data scientists and more.
“There are various ways to get to the summit, depending on the technology you choose and the teams you put in place,” he adds.
Among the technologies that will play into this include autonomous software, Internet or Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
“There is a perfect storm of technology that is becoming available now,” Jacobs says. “We may fail, but we can fail fast and succeed faster and get to the pinnacle.”
When business and financial executives protest at the cost of digital transformation, Jacobs points out that the implications of not doing it, of not making the investments, could result in the business dying.