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Innovations disrupt established markets
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 06:14
Written by Admire Moyo
Innovations that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago are changing the competitive landscape, disrupting well-established marketplaces, and opening up new possibilities in the eyes of consumers.
So said Andi Mann, VP for strategic solutions at CA Technologies, in his keynote address at the CA IT Management Symposium Africa 2012. The symposium took place earlier this month at the Sandton Convention Centre.
“We are living in an age of innovation – innovation driven by technology,” Mann pointed out.
As an example, he explained that cloud computing can deliver amazing amounts of computing power at a fraction of the cost of what it would have been a few years ago.
“The proliferation of mobile devices means you can interact with your customers in new ways and around the clock. Social media is providing an opportunity to listen to your customers as they interact with your services, while also crowd-sourcing ideas,” he added.
Further, Mann said big data and advanced analytics are enabling more customised services and marketing approaches.
Mann said the opportunity to leverage the power of technology to transform a business and market it, and the way organisations interact with customers and services, is being increasingly recognised.
For IT to make this transformation and truly help drive business innovation and growth, Mann said, innovation needs to become a pervasive mindset.
He said there are three fundamental challenges getting in the way of IT’s ability to drive business innovation.
The first challenge, he noted, is that innovation is being delivered to market too slowly. Secondly, he said, IT infrastructures are too expensive to sustain and maintain. Finally, Mann stated that security risks are increasing exponentially.
To overcome these barriers, Mann said, CA Technologies believes there are three essential strategies that are necessary to drive business innovation – accelerate your pace of innovation, transform your infrastructure to allow for innovation, and secure your online business.
Echoing Mann’s views on the speed of innovation, Dion Chang, an IT trends analyst, says the faster a business is to get technology out to the market, the more competitive edge it gets.
Chang believes the year 2012 is a threshold of change, adding that, in the past three years, he has seen tried and tested business templates – print media, advertising, hospitality – completely washed away or simply proved inappropriate for the ‘new world order’.
“If there is a pattern to this, there is actually no pattern. The most valuable insight is that we are in a time of chaos. So I want to start with the altered state of where your consumer is and contextualise what has really pushed this new consumer view.”
Also speaking at the event was Marcel den Hartog, senior principal product marketing for CA Technologies’ EMEA mainframe business.
Discussing mainframes, he says far from becoming obsolete, mainframes are becoming more relevant in the cloud and mobile era.
“Cloud services have raised the issue of big data – where the data resides, how you crunch it to extract information to deliver to a cloud service, real-time manipulation of critical data.
“The mainframe guys’ attitude is: if I go down, the company goes down. There’s a powerful work ethic. When cloud services go down, people shrug and live with it.” The battle-hardened mainframe professionals tend to understand the inner workings of the business better, and are often best positioned to innovate, but are often overlooked, Den Hartog says.
Performance is a huge concern for many organisations, Den Hartog says. “Mobile apps are making things worse. Simple interfaces need much more complex data. A single banking app can need dozens of data sources per page – one European bank rolled out an iPad app and the load on the mainframe ballooned immediately. They lost thousands of customers in just three or four days.”
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