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How businesses are using IT to become incredible

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” wrote science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark in 1973. While IT may not make business magical, it can certainly create incredible results.

Today’s business world is incredible, as apps and the cloud have changed both markets and workplaces, the speed of commerce and the demands on management have dramatically increased. For IT departments helping manage such a volatile world is a great opportunity.

While that’s a challenging environment, businesses have the opportunity to meet those opportunities and becoming future ready by using their IT to deliver incredible experiences for their customers and staff. Salesforce’s Vice President for Strategic Research, Peter Coffee, describes this as “delighting the customer”

business“Shopping is sometimes a contact sport,” observes Nicola Millard, BT’s Customer Service Futurologist, “the fact we are comparing and contrasting, the fact we are challenging the physical shop. We’re now seeing those physical lines blurring.”

Millard sees that change happening within the workplace as well, Technology has also untethered the office, says Millard. “In the old days we had to go to the office at nine o’clock in the morning and leave at five in the afternoon. We didn’t have any other options – we had a desk, we had big technology and we had masses of paper.”

Harnessing the cloud

“Now we collaborate with people that aren’t necessarily in the same place as us. The office itself has become a collaboration tool.” Millard states, “we’re seeing the evolution of the office.” Cloud computing and the smartphone has changed how customers and staff work together.

A good example is the taxi industry where we’ve seen the model turned on its head as smartphone apps like Uber, the UK’s Hailo and China’s Didi Kuaidi have created a far closer relationship between drivers and passengers while changing the sector’s economics.

Most industries are now finding cloud services are taking over the business process, giving companies the ability to tap into resources they may not have been able to afford previously. This gives companies the ability to deal with demand surges and unexpected changes in the marketplace to quickly deploy future ready resources.

Just as the PC boom of the 1990s bought computing power to the desktop and changed the world of big and small businesses, an even greater shift is happening now that power can be accessed from people’s pockets and their wristwatches.

Optimising the business

Those devices though are generating data – lots of it. In that sea of information lies the kernels of truth that allows companies to increase their efficiency. GE, for instance, boasts their PowerUp technology can improve a wind farm’s profitability by up to 25%.

“In the next generation of wind turbines all this kind of software is going to be embedded in it from the design phase through to the operational phase,” says Bill Rue, head of the company’s software division. “It’s going to change how our customers are going to operate wind turbines.”

We live in a time where the technology in our pockets seems to be magical. Those businesses that invest in the skills, hardware and software of the new generation of computing will be the future ready ones delighting their customers, staff and shareholders.

 

Paul Wallbank

Paul Wallbank

Paul is a regular contributor to Business Spectator and IT News along with writing assignments for private publications. His published books include e-Business – Seven Steps To Online Success (published by John Wiley & Sons) and the Small Business Guide to IT (published by Allen & Unwin). Paul’s particular area of interest is how business and society is evolving in the connected economy. His other specialist areas include IT security issues, big data, cloud, business technology, the internet of things and the future of enterprise solutions.

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