Blending high-touch engagement requirements of today’s Omni-channel customers with a service-centric approach to everything a company does yields the perfect recipe for achieving dramatic and seismic-level shifts in business performance - the kind that fuels the creation of new innovative products and services or surprises customers by delivering capabilities that far exceed their expectations.
From the redefinition of an institution's overall business strategy to the integration of Cloud solutions with smart-devices, technology is driving the transformation of traditional businesses to deliver new value in a digital era. All of this is bringing about a significant rethinking of how to transform a business to deliver everything 'As-a-Service' and achieving realtime connections with customers.
The new generation customer requires a level of interaction never before envisioned. The implications of this for a company's business processes, application portfolio, and IT infrastructure are significant. The security risks are considerable and there is no margin for error.
By combining our strategic perspective with hardcore technology expertise, we help companies rethink and transform their underlying business processes and technology strategy to ensure an instantaneous customer experience across channels. We help set priority, innovation level and spend.
TRANSFORMING THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
TRANSFORMING THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
We are a privately held company formed by seasoned executives with deep industry experience. Our primary goal is to achieve breakthrough thinking in how to engage with customers. We believe that achieving this level of breakthrough thinking requires a different way to approach work and more importantly a different way of working together. Above all else, we want to find out the best way to interact with customers, deliver a unique customer experience and turning these customers into advocates. Solving problems, be it internal efficiency challenges or finding better ways to engage customers or business partners requires open and honest communication of every situation always keeping in mind that the end goal is to achieve excellence and world-class execution.
To achieve this, requires independent thinking and innovation, recognizing that independent thinking generates disagreement and innovation requires making mistakes. Therefore great ideas are born at all levels of a company. We foster this, we encourage this and we want every one of our professionals to feel that they have a responsibility to constantly contribute to the ongoing rethinking of how our clients deliver services and the value that we contribute to their bottom line. This is what separates us from the rest.
To achieve this level of involvement and innovative thinking means that we maintain an environment of radical openness. We encourage everyone who works with us to be both assertive and open-minded in order to build their understanding and discover the best path to exceed our customers’ expectations. In certain cases, we may even help our customers rethink their value proposition within their individual value chain always pushing for excellence and constant improvement. This is what makes our customers loyal advocates.
The types of disagreements and mistakes that are typically discouraged elsewhere are expected at at our firm because they fuel the learning that helps us maximize the value we bring to our customers and the societies within which we operate. It is through this unique culture that we produce meaningful work and meaningful relationships.
This Year's Critical Trends
This Year's Critical Trends
In 2015, companies experienced all types of disruptions. Cloud computing became mainstream and a critical element of any company’s IT strategy whether in a private, hybrid or public mode. Existing providers, to startups continued the trend to build Mobile and Web Apps that run in the Cloud, driving many businesses to rethink their core IT infrastructure and application eco-system.
The battle for the public Cloud became a battle between three giants; Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft Azure while others shifted their focus on bringing new offerings to the table that focus on hybrid and managing the private enterprise Cloud. These companies rely on a mass of commodity servers and storage devices interconnected in global datacenters. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon toped profit estimates, as they became sellers of computing power to a growing number of businesses of all types.
Equally, Social media and Omni-channel customers continued to push for the dramatic rethinking of how companies do business, their value and how they consistently engage with customers. With that, the role of the CIO also dramatically changed while new roles such as the customer experience officer (CXO), digital marketing officer (DMO) and others continued to proliferate. The introduction of the Apple watch and similar devices marked the beginning of the next wave of smart, location aware, context sensitive devices and applications.
Streaming analytics also took center stage in 2015 as companies drove greater competitive value by rapidly adopting tools and methods to assess consumer and market trends and driving intelligent actions across global supply-chains.
The year 2015 was also marked by various mergers and acquisitions, notably Dell’s acquisition of EMC. This trend is likely to continue in 2016 as the Tech industry continues to consolidate and startups of the past mature both in structure and service offerings.
While 2015 was an exciting year you can bet that 2016 will bring about even greater innovations especially in the areas of Digital transformation, IoT, Mobility and most notably artificial intelligence – “the dawn of intelligent business machines.” Fueled by the need for growth and differentiation, many businesses will be stepping up investments in innovation, while others will be clamping down on investments. A strong U.S. dollar, potentially less than stellar performance in the equities markets, characterized by stagnant earnings lead us to predict that IT spending, will likely be experiencing slower growth than previous years, ranging on average about 2 to 3 percent.
When selecting our predictions for 2016 we focused on technology breakthroughs that will dramatically disrupt businesses as we know them today. However, more than just giving out 10 predictions, we sat out to map four key drivers for change.
At the heart of these drivers is the notion that your customer will continue to increasingly control and influence your business more than ever before. They will continue to shape your brand 24/7/365. More than ever, customer sentiment, engagement, the ability to dynamically predict demand and supply and manage risk will make or break a business. Interacting with customers will continue to evolve from a transaction to an engagement model.
Increased Mobile commerce will also continue to reshape companies as they restructure themselves to deal with massive Social scale. At the same time, real-time analytics coupled with intelligent M2M (machine-to-machine) execution is starting to dynamically manage supply chain flows and a company’s entire order-to-cash cycle.
Taking these four drivers into consideration, we’ve identified our favorite top 10 trends for 2016:
Hardly a word in the English dictionary, we believe companies will adopt the “Uber” model (shared, on-demand), which is transforming the transportation industry and others. The ability to deliver everything as a service on-demand, hand over control to customers to select their service agents and levels while enabling them to provide instant customer feedback by grading the level of service received is applicable to a wide range of industry verticals. We believe this trend will continue in 2016 and drive a fundamental rethinking of how companies do business and deliver value.
We predict that IT organizations will spend more than a third of their budgets on risk, security and compliance. Leaders will extend privacy from a risk and legal consideration to a position to win customers. Companies who relegate security and privacy as an afterthought will play defense and face the risk of losing customers and suffer great reputation damage due to data theft. In 2016, top management will require all business departments to provide extensive plans that delineate their risk management posture with a clear definition of personal accountabilities as part of their ongoing operations.
The majority of CIOs identify security as one of their top concerns, especially taking into account the increased number of security breaches and data theft. To protect themselves proactively businesses will have to adopt predictive modeling tools supported by big-data analytics. Playing defense is no longer an option. Having it as an afterthought invites greater issues and potential for breaches. As businesses increasingly embark on Mobile, Web and Social media environments, leveraging information identified through analytics will provide valuable insights into impending risks. Companies will therefore largely invest in adaptive security architectures.
The continued rise of Mobile payment solutions will also likely drive up the need for businesses to further tighten network security. Hiring and retaining key security staff in this area will be a critical challenge for the year.
To an increasing extent, artificial intelligent (AI) systems (supported by advanced Inference engines) will take center stage. These systems supported by vast neural networks, will not only collect data through Big data analytics, but also learn from the process. Machines, elevating the analysis in the process, will be increasingly doing much of the analysis that typically required human involvement. What is enabling the dramatic growth of advanced machine learning and AI is the availability of powerful and affordable computing power, which will continue to move from being prohibitively expensive to relatively cheap. The end business result will be the ability to dramatically process large quantities of data to further drive real-time decision-making and flipping Michael Porter’s five competitive forces on its head.
Not surprisingly we predict a dramatic increase in the potential for intelligent machines to continue to surpass humans in their ability to undertake human tasks – not just routine ones but also key decision making actions.
The creation of relevant key performance indicators and their use in management will continue to be a key topic. More importantly, businesses will use analytics as a competitive asset to deliver “real-time personalized services” across human and digital touch points that dynamically morph based on user interaction patterns. Continued advances in semantic tools such as graph databases and other emerging data classification and information analysis techniques will start to bring order to the massive data collection chaos. Data analytics will be embedded in most critical Mobile and Web Apps enabling contextual understanding and driving automated smart decisions and actions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved from concept to reality and is rapidly becoming the third major Internet wave. Lower cost of sensors and processing power and cheap ubiquitous connectivity to connect devices are enabling billions of devices to come online every day, while Smartphones are becoming personal gateway to IoT solutions.
However, most businesses are still struggling to create new value propositions for their customer that leverage a wide variety of data that is now available through Smart devices. While some companies are launching new products and services that leverage IoT as a driver for incremental revenue streams – whole new service industries are being created overnight. Others will continue to leverage IoT to improve productivity and reduce operating costs. Businesses in the manufacturing, transportation, retail, healthcare, consumer electronics, financial services and other sectors are creating complete new service models and Apps that leverage data that is now available from billions of devices worldwide. These devices will request support, respond to service requests and spawn entirely new service industries.
This year will likely also usher in an age of so called “predictive living’” where organizations can anticipate potential issues and problems in every aspect of our lives and act accordingly to create greater customer trust and engagement. IoT devices and solutions have the potential to redefine competitive advantage in every industry. This will drive the creation of new winners and losers who were slow to redefine their value proposition by launching new services in a connected world.
The IT, telecommunications, consumer electronics, Social media and entertainment will undergo further conversion. This will be driven by a significant shift in the economic, cultural and Social paradigms that encourage consumers to seek out new information, interact with each other on a Social level, use various media platforms to create new experiences and content both at the business and personal level.
This year will also be marked as the year that Virtual reality starts to take shape. Facebook’s past acquisition of Oculus VR signaled the first step in creating a major new trend. Virtual worlds will allow users to enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment. In 2016 we will see a whole new breed of immersive games. However, that is just the start. Virtual realty will make it possible for people across the globe to virtually meet both on a personal and business level, travel to far away places or create impossible adventures.
Streaming services, IoT, multi-media interaction, an ever expanding Social media phenomenon, and Virtual reality will drive telecom companies to dramatically grow their network backbones to deliver high quality ubiquitous broadband technology (and higher bandwidth levels) and services. Proactively expanding the Telecom, cable, and satellite infrastructures that carry traffic through broader Wi-Fi networks will be critical to avoid collapse. Addressing continued connectivity growth will require significant investments in infrastructure at a point where bandwidth pricing continues to experience downward pressures. Monetizing new and advanced infrastructures will be a key challenge for both telecom and tech companies for the foreseeable future.
This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Research shows that only about 25% of today’s businesses have a coherent digital strategy that maps out the customer journey and identifies how a company creates customer value as a digital business – and we are not talking just cool Mobile Apps or other customer facing technology. We are referring to the complete overhaul of a company’s order-to-cash (OTC) cycle to deliver new “As-a-Service” offerings.
We expect the percentage of businesses that are creating advanced Digital transformation initiatives to more than double in 2016 as these companies race to deliver new value through an Omni-channel services model leveraging analytics, and IoT.
B2B industries will start to close the digital gap to their B2C peers as they too are confronting rapidly rising partner expectations for closer connectivity. Companies that embrace end-to-end Digital transformation to redefine their value proposition will differentiate themselves from those that dabble in a set of digital services that are merely intended to augment traditional business models.
Companies will be increasingly faced with ensuring global interoperability of their various products and services; developing new Omni-channel solutions and services; building alliances to launch new technology-enabled products (i.e., IoT); platforms and market segment penetration strategies; and product analytics.
We will continue to see a trend where users interact and to some extent work solely via Mobile devices (instead of desktops). The implications for how sites are developed, maintained and secured will be significant. The reality is that without a sound Mobile strategy, many businesses will be left behind in 2016. Couple this with the transition from a “pull-based” to a “push-based” Web, its not hard to see that the model where your entire Mobile device screen is jammed with App icons is changing dramatically.
The current Web is "pull-based” – we initiate searches (assuming we know what we are looking for), and visit websites. Highly customized products and services are produced on-demand and delivered to consumers through one-on-one digital relationships. That version of the Internet is rapidly disappearing.
The future Web is "push-based,” - the Web is coming to us and is being transformed from a large repository of records to an intelligent engine that notifies us of what is happening or what is relevant to us. Content, products and services find you, rather than you having to search for them. Instead of visiting websites, customers are proactively notified of what is relevant to them and asked to engage. Considering that the Mobile platform is becoming the most prevalent gateway to the Web, its clear that this year we will see a whole new era of Mobile Apps that are “push-based.”
Companies that adopt a Mobile strategy will build systems that interconnect, have intelligence and leverage intelligent notification cards that enable full product experiences and independent workflows right inside the card. Apps will live in the background, pushing content onto our experience. Apps that are standalone and do not engage the user will likely not meet expectations.
CEOs can be expected to make significant changes to their leadership teams as hanging on to current leadership structures may limit transformation and growth in a new Digital world. This year most CEOs will have Digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy and will actively participate in the recruitment of the best software developers, as Mobile and Web Apps become key competitive differentiators. We see CEOs making a concerted effort to integrate various digital initiatives across the enterprise and create a clear digital roadmap that specifies how the business will deliver revenue generating digital experiences.
Businesses with a digital transformation strategy will deem it too critical for any one functional area to own and thus appoint an independent corporate executive to oversee the transformation. This position represents a great opportunity for the business-savvy CIO. The successful CIO will adapt to an increasingly market-facing role and partner with his/her peers in ways never before envisioned. CIOs will likely adopt an outside-in approach and make customer journey mapping and design thinking part of their everyday job.
Not surprisingly we predict that over 50% of IT resources will be spent on the creation of new digital revenue streams (through Mobility, IoT, and Analytics) while line-of-business executives will control a large portion of total IT spend. Regardless of who leads the Digital transformation agenda, CIOs have an opportunity to guide the process by engaging, collaborating, and innovating with a broader ecosystem of internal and external partners.
IT’s growing role within individual business segments to enable Digital transformation will likely marginalize the central IT organization but could also make it a true change agent and a transformation engine by helping to select best-of-breed products, defining architecture standards, consolidating expensive infrastructure and overseeing security. Enterprises will increasingly place business unit CIOs as embedded ambassadors for the corporate CIO and playing the role of major change agents.
Enterprises pursuing Digital transformation initiatives will more than double the size of their software development teams, focusing those developers almost entirely on digital initiatives. Mobile App development, analytics, and creative design are surely to be this year’s table stakes for successful IT organizations. Also not surprisingly most projects will shift to fast-cycle development efforts.
Corporate datacenter build projects will continue to be fewer in favor of third party Colocation and Cloud models. Several years ago Fortune 500 companies were still talking about building new datacenters. Those construction projects are all but gone. Datacenter space is at a premium and there are plenty of choices. For 2016, new Colocation providers will come onto the scene, and existing providers will continue to build new structures in more markets.
The software-defined datacenter (SDDC) will become a reality as virtualization of compute, storage and networks all become part of the corporate IT strategy for forward-looking companies. Historically, computing power was virtualized through servers. Subsequently storage virtualization came into play. What was missing was the virtualization of the network.
For an SDDC to exist, all of the main components (compute, storage and networks) must be software-defined (virtualized). In 2016, expect to see broader adoption of SDN-based approaches by large service and solution providers as corporate clients aggressively realize the benefits of a complete SDDC. This next iteration of the datacenter is essential to support many of the strategic initiatives that businesses are pursuing, such as Mobile, Big-data analytics and greater use of Cloud services.
We predict that this year at least 40% of IT spending will be Cloud based. The most functionally rich IT offerings will be found in the Cloud. Most businesses will use a Cloud access security broker and service orchestration engine to provision, meter, monitor and manage their use of SaaS and other forms of Cloud, instances.
While there will be continued consolidation in the public Cloud market, there will be rapid proliferation of industry Cloud platforms.