Managing Disruptive Technologies in the CloudBy Jane Griffin Print
Three disruptive technologies—advanced analytics, social data and mobility—are the start of a technological wave that will change the way business is done.
Social Data and the Cloud
The disruptive phenomenon of social media lends itself to leveraging the cloud for competitive advantage. Over the past decade, social media applications data have mushroomed. Where once there were only blogs and a few teen-oriented applications, such as Friendster and MySpace, there are now virtually countless social media and concentrated blog sites where literally hundreds of millions of people interact and—more importantly—voice their opinions on innumerable issues.
However, the social media world—and the data it produces—is vast and varied. It is almost impossible to monitor all relevant social media sites and conduct other business, but that’s exactly what companies should consider to be able to fully understand their customers’ desires and aspirations. Again, the cloud provides an approach.
Vendors offer social media monitoring services—based in the cloud, with their own customized cloud communities—that help companies follow and engage in social media activities with their customers. Companies use the information they glean to analyze customer sentiment and turn that data into actionable insight to address customer needs, develop new products, and enhance and customize customer experiences.
With a social media monitoring service, companies can subscribe to services that help them monitor social media sites—such as Twitter, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Facebook and countless others. They can simply monitor the sentiments and make decisions based on their analysis, or they can actively engage customers in online cloud communities, as well as RSS-fueled sites like blogs and newsfeeds.
Using social monitoring, coupled with analytics, companies can make choices about which conversations actually require them to take action. This ability to ferret out and choose actionable targets for further action helps companies use their resources effectively and mitigate problems before they spread across the Web and become brand‑killing issues.
Mobile Solutions and the Cloud
Speaking of more effective use of resources, the final disruptive technology, mobility, has spawned an entirely new definition of two of the most basic resources: space and time. Offices are passé. Road warriors rule. In some instances, it’s not practical to do business from a desk, and it hasn’t been for many years.
One obstacle to doing business anywhere, anytime, with any customer is a centralized IT infrastructure housed within company walls and the concomitant need for all the company’s IT resources to be uniform and tied to that infrastructure in particular ways.
The increase in mobile computing challenges everything—connectivity, security, flexibility, applications and services on demand. Mobile computing requires agility. The time it takes to build and deploy large centralized IT staffs and infrastructure can make it difficult to keep pace with a mobile workforce and customer base.
The data generated by mobile devices and the applications delivered on mobile platforms represent an important shift that is driving analytics for the mobile worker. For example, social media use and mobile computing are creating vast amounts of data, collected at millions of points. If it takes months to incorporate this data into an existing data warehouse, or build an application to respond, the opportunity to capitalize on this data can be lost.
Vis-à-vis customers, it’s critical to sense the location and mobile interaction of clients and deliver appropriate services or interactions. This activity can be driven by integrating and deploying analytical applications into a mobility strategy.
Again, the cloud comes in very handy. By collaborating with a cloud vendor, companies can outsource the cost and maintenance of multiple device access for their workers. They can provide their workers with a secure virtual desktop that presents a standardized interface and application set, no matter the device or location.
This ability fosters true mobility and worker autonomy, as well as virtual collaboration. Workers can be in practically any location, using virtually any approved device, and still be able to perform analytical activities, as well as other tasks that help them work smarter and interact with and deliver services to customers more efficiently.
These three disruptive technologies—advanced analytics, social data, and mobility—are expected to be the beginning of a wave of technological changes that are anticipated to change the way business is done over the next half decade and beyond. New technologies emerge on a daily basis. Many companies, no matter how large their IT budgets are may find it hard to ride the crest of that wave.
Instead, many of these companies are anticipated to turn to the cloud for help. They will be able to collaborate with cloud service vendors to design and deploy customized solutions to help them deliver analytics, social media, and mobility services to the enterprise. The cloud, via its flexibility and ability to handle the ever-increasing volume of big data and analytics capabilities, can help make the delivery of these services cost effective and efficient. Companies that leverage the cloud can realize these benefits. Those that don’t? Well…
Jane Griffin is Americas Leader of Deloitte Analytics. With more than 30 years of IT experience, she focuses primarily on information management, business intelligence, data warehousing and master data management. She assists and advises her multi-industry clients in designing, developing and implementing technology and processes to efficiently leverage their information. Griffin (@janegriffin) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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