Companies can no longer ignore the significant shifts playing out in the technology space and how these will impact the growth of their businesses, says Hannes van Vuuren, SWG Executive for IBM South Africa speaking at this year’s IBM Business Connect recently.
Progressive companies are tackling personalisation and winning customers over their competitors. “Social technologies are enabling us to engage our customers in a personal way, at the ideal time, for maximum impact. And mining data to generate deep insights means we can further personalise these relationships, “says van Vuuren.
Opportunity for businesses in South Africa to lead the way is ripe, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created daily across the globe. 25% of the earth’s population is now interacting on social networks, with 2.7 billion people online and an estimated 62% of workloads anticipated being on the cloud by 2016.
“The way we do business is being completely rewritten with the ubiquity of social, billions of mobile devices, these massive amounts of data and an elastic cloud infrastructure; companies need to seize the opportunity to step into this new era,” says Van Vuuren.
As local enterprises face increasing competition and the need to find a strong business case for new IT spend, they are also being challenged by the fact that control of IT has moved beyond just the IT department and across the enterprise.
An IBM Institute of Business Value study shows that 82% of business leaders are unprepared in terms of cloud readiness, with 78% being underprepared for the explosion of unstructured data.
“The reality is, businesses can grow without limit, marketers can better understand and shape their customers end-to-end experiences, finance can use insights to effectively measure and monitor business performance, reduce cost and manage risk. Security and risk managers can predict disruptions before they occur and Human Resources managers can measure, attract and retain top talent.“
The perception among many companies is that we are still far off, but technology is readily available to enable this shift quickly and seamlessly to ensure a competitive advantage. Van Vuuren urges companies to take stock of where they are on this path, and how far they have progressed to embrace new technologies.
Companies already on the progressive path have seen a huge impact on their businesses, French retailer L’Occitane, by deploying the right analytics on customer data uploaded to the cloud, boosted online revenue by a staggering 1700%. These same tools are available to exploit in our market for local companies.
“Gone are the days where we spent three months preparing to take a product to market, today it takes a mere three weeks, sometimes even hours to maintain the competitive advantage and responsiveness is key to success, with cloud seen as the enabler for all,” adds van Vuuren.