5 Ways SMAC Drives Business Technology

5 Ways SMAC Drives Business Technology

Big data, cloud computing, social business and mobility are causing digital disruption across many industries. Social media and mobile technologies have shifted the balance of power and influence to the consumer. Engaging effectively with the ecosystem to drive ROI requires a shift in both technology and culture.

The next wave of IT through Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) will drive the digital transformation in the next decade. Forces such as cloud, social, mobile, big data, digital business, smart machines and the Internet of Things (IoT) jeopardize long-held assumptions about operational best practices and how to best engage with value chain partners.


Let’s look at some global advantages.

  • Retailers the world over are trying to leverage the power of mobile applications, for example, to enhance store associate productivity or to implement mobile point-of-sale terminals.
  • Consumer goods vendors are keen to leverage advanced consumer analytics to understand demand signal from consumers and improve agility in their product development and launch processes.
  • Transportation sector is growing, and we can already see that a fleet of autonomous, shared vehicles – connected to the road infrastructure, to the Internet and to a broader network of public transit options – will create incredible value.
  • Insurers are looking to leverage the power of social media to keep their customers engaged.
  • Banks and financial institutions are looking at big data analytics for operational risk management.
  • Small- and medium-size businesses across industry sectors are looking at cloud applications to help them get started with minimal capital expenditure on their own data centres and software infrastructure.
  • Smartphones were formerly a critical business tool, but they are now on the cusp of becoming the primary device interface for corporate contacts, applications, databases and workflow processes.

The Importance of SMAC

  1. Application Transformation: Thanks to digital disruption and consumer adoption of digital enablers, organizations are applying SMAC technologies to reform and re-align to digital value chains. You’ve got to go through an application modernization process to make that happen. It may just be in a new type of infrastructure that allows you to more easily direct connect to these third-party platform apps. But that’s where application modernization and application transformation come together.
  2. Transforming IT Infrastructure: The next wave of IT through SMAC will drive the digital transformation in the next decade. Forces such as cloud, social, mobile, big data, digital business, smart machines and the Internet of Things (IoT) jeopardize long-held assumptions about operational best practices and how to best engage with value-chain partners. SMAC will transform enterprise's traditional computing environment plagued with poor utilization and high total cost of ownership to better align with business goals and drive top-line growth and improve customer experience.
  3. Transforming Use of Data: Digital organizations are agile. They test innovations in real-life conditions. Once a feature is complete, go live with it and measure its effectiveness. If it does not yield the expected results, be ready to pull back – revert to the previous version, remove the option, try something else. There was a live case of Miami University and Accenture in the south coast. This intricate exercise involved classifying, sorting and normalizing data for the 32,000 unique supplier references, representing $250 million in spending on goods and services. Once the data was processed, the team consolidated all references to a supplier so that officials could quickly see the total amount spent on each provider and in which categories. And whenever possible, test different alternatives in parallel to see which one works best.
  4. Transforming Processes: Customers need solutions, not specific products or services. Business transformation needs to be aligned with customers’ needs—in fact, it needs to anticipate them. Bearing that in mind, use what you see and know to communicate your plans and explain your decisions to your workers clearly, plainly and openly. Amtrak had a more- than-century-old process for collecting and punching paper tickets on trains, before having them validated and being able to recognize revenue. The company wanted to move to electronic ticket processing and immediate revenue recognition. AT&T Business Solutions worked with Amtrak on an end-to-end solution that includes cellular, Wi-Fi, satellite, cloud capability and mobile application capabilities. The result is electronic ticket scanning with an iPhone, digital check-ins and revenue recognition. The main challenge was figuring out how to combine cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite capabilities to ensure coverage everywhere along the train routes, from rural areas to train stations.
  5. Successful Transformational Change: You may be the best of the best at what you now do. Instead of priding yourself on knowing more or performing certain tasks better than anyone else, start feeling pride in your ability to pull people and ideas together brilliantly. I recently met with the senior leadership team of a large technology company that had been successful because one unique product constituted 90% of its sales. When competitors started developing a less expensive version of the product, it became clear that they could not survive as a one-product firm. As a result, the CEO launched a transformation strategy with the goal of figuring out a more sustainable business model. It included a number of major “must-do” initiatives: get more immediate revenue from the current product, create a leaner support organization, shift from internally-focused to externally-partnered product development and ramp up the search for acquisitions and adjacencies. The transformation also called for a new set of cultural principles and a revised performance management approach aligned with these initiatives. Whether you're amazing at sales, finance or product development, you'll need to transition from being a topical expert to being an excellent manager.

No longer do we have to wake up our smartphones and open an app, wearables allow us to be connected at all times. And with that connection is a constant flow of live data that is an opportunity for the most forward-thinking companies to create new technologies, services and even entirely new industries. Though the SMAC concept formed within the past couple of years, this new area in data warehousing and data analytics grows and improves daily. IT leaders should include SMAC technologies in their strategy and planning, identifying the areas where these capabilities will deliver the most value to the organization. SMAC is growing stronger and smarter every day.

Article written by Raj Kosaraju
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