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Decoding Smac

Convergences of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) represents an unprecedented wave of disruption that is expected to transform business-technology ecosystem in the coming years.

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Introduction

Convergence of disruptive technologies is changing the way enterprises do business. One of such convergences is Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC), which represents an unprecedented wave of disruption that is expected to transform business-technology ecosystem in the coming years.  

The convergence of these individual technologies builds an ecosystem that allows businesses to enhance operations and get closer to their customers with less resources and effort. Increased usage of mobile devices, social media, and website browsing have created massive volume of structured and unstructured data which are leading to new business models built upon this user generated content. Synergies created by SMAC technologies together are expected to create significant competitive advantages for businesses. 

Four elements of SMAC: Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud

Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud are four elements of SMAC.

Social Media

Social Media refers to mobile and web-based applications that transform one-way communication into an interactive dialogue. This has created online social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn etc., which people use for everything and anything, to illustrate – seeking advice on what to buy, where to shop and also what organizations they want to work with.

Like print and television, these networks have created a huge medium for enterprises to connect to their customers and other stakeholders. The massive data generated on preferences and relationships with other people in social networks can be used to provide meaningful insights, based on which enterprises are now developing strategies to grow business.

According to industry estimates, active social media users reached 2.2 billion in August 2015, representing a year-over-year growth of close to 9%. This also represents a penetration of just 30% indicating a massive growth potential.

Mobile

Proliferation of mobile devices has changed the way people communicate and access digital content. Smart devices including smartphones and tablets have brought digital content to the fingertips of consumers allowing them to browse, compare and buy products. This advantage has enabled customers to access applications anywhere and anytime.

Industry estimates suggest that global mobile subscriptions reached nearly 6.9 billion in 2013, equivalent to 96% of the worldwide population. And this was primarily led by robust mobile adoption in China and India. Asia Pacific accounted for 52% of the global mobile subscribers which is expected to reach over 54% in 2016.

Also by 2016, Africa and Middle East are expected to overtake Europe and become the second largest region for mobile subscribers. Similar growth is expected in the smart devices and tablet personal computers (PCs) market.

Today, employees in several businesses are using mobile devices such as smartphones/tablets to conduct their business on a day-to-day basis. This led to the emerging concept of enterprise mobility, which refers to the shift in business practices, where employees work from outside office and access secure corporate data to conduct daily tasks through a smart device.

The robust growth of smartphones and laptops has led to a growth in mobile applications (apps) and web-based applications (web-apps) respectively. Several apps ranging from simple consumer apps to complex enterprise mobile apps have caught the imagination of consumers as well as business users. Mobile apps help enterprises to automate workflows, streamline discovery of content and build knowledge over time.

Analytics

Analytics is an interdisciplinary scientific approach that examines any kind of data to describe business issues, prescribe business solutions, and also employed to predict business outcomes. Every year, companies and individuals generate billions of gigabytes of data. The right analysis of data can therefore provide a substantial competitive advantage to organizations.

For instance, analytics can now allow retailers to predict buyer insights and decisions of shoppers. Continued growth of data in the digital universe would create a huge challenge for traditional IT systems which must store and manage information. To address this, IT departments are focusing on acquiring new technologies, building newer applications and managing information in an insightful manner. Alternatively, they are also seeking the help of specialized analytics firms, presenting them in turn with a big opportunity.

Cloud

Cloud computing is a computing infrastructure model that enables convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources, including networks, servers, storage, applications and services. It is a term commonly used for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet. Cloud services comprise three different service models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Cloud computing has been increasingly gaining traction as it enables organizations to reduce expenses like upfront royalty or licensing payments, investment in hardware infrastructure and other operating expenses. It also provides organizations with an opportunity to improve efficiency of business processes, communicate better and increasingly share knowledge, improve productivity, and supply information in a consistent manner across enterprises.

The global IT industry is rapidly shifting towards cloud computing due to its cost effectiveness. By leveraging cloud computing technologies, enterprises can change the role of IT from a custodian of IT assets to a provider of business services. This service oriented approach requires the companies to transition to a demand-driven operating model, which provides additional flexibility and enables the IT sector to effectively grow businesses.

Evolution of SMAC architecture

Consumer technology models have been penetrating rapidly and are beginning to transform corporations in a significant way. Emergence of SMAC Stack, a new IT architecture comprised of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies, is enabling the creation of advanced platforms that address several issues, ranging from sales to customer service to new product development to even improved management process.

SMAC technologies which dominated the consumer experience for the past several years laid the foundation for a new master corporate IT architecture. In the earlier years, four master corporate technology architectures: the mainframe, the minicomputer, client/server and the internet have driven higher business productivity. SMAC Stack, which represents the fifth wave of corporate IT architecture, managed to successfully disrupt several traditional business models of enterprises in the last few years.

SMAC Effect/Application

Following are some of the benefits that SMAC technologies can provide:

  • Maximize efficiency while boosting business effectiveness
  • Flexible choice and source value chain elements from anywhere and highly adaptable strategies according to market demands
  • Optimize and modernize business processes
  • Effectively manage and analyze a vast volume of complex data turning customer knowledge into business growth

SMAC Stack has been able to disrupt the traditional blueprint of value chains and managed to create virtualized business models in various industries. These technologies will provide enterprises an opportunity to move to higher-margin businesses by offering solutions that help businesses grow.

Real world scenarios

Sector: Retail

  • Mobile device of customers can signal store management while they’re shopping
  • Cloud offers customers to compare products, get information and redeem targeted offers
  • Advanced analytics allows companies right knowledge about the shopper so they can provide greater and valuable assistance

Sector: Medical Devices

  • Deployment of cloud-based mobility services that deliver reports via mobile devices allows clinicians c to provide instant remote care
  • Analytics allows personalized insights based on the patient’s response to treatment
  • Remote monitoring process minimizes office visits for both patients and clinicians

Sector: Banking

  • Social media provides insights into the likes and dislikes of their customers. This enables banks to deliver more targeted messages, ultimately boosting customer loyalty
  • Mobile technologies allow customers to engage in transactions anywhere and anytime, increasing convenience for them and reducing branch costs for banks
  • Data analytics technologies enables banks to gain a more granular understanding of their customers’ preferences and serve the customers based on these insights
  • Cloud technologies allows banks to collect and deliver data anywhere and anytime, at a global scale and transform fixed costs into variable ones

Furthermore, SMAC technologies can be applied in several business functions to derive value. Combining SMAC with process work provides newer opportunities to innovative service models. For instance, by applying SMAC Stack technologies, an enterprise can standardize and automate process work activities at its shared service centers, while at the same time deliver greater value to its stakeholders.

Similarly, applying SMAC technologies in human capital management processes can allow enterprises to hire the right people at the right time.

Application of SMAC in Talent Acquisition

Social Media
  • Leverage Social tools to stay ahead by winning competition for talent
Cloud
  • Cloud-based delivery of software applications help companies consolidate disparate talent management systems
  • Moving applications to cloud can streamline maintenance and cut cost for IT
  • Cloud consolidation can help normalize business processes across systems
Analytics
  • Predictive analytics provides deep insight into the business’ recruitment needs
  • Recruitment function can use data modeling to analyze and understand the factors contributing to employee attrition and then act preemptively to build mitigating factors into competency profiles for new roles
  • Organizations can use qualitative and quantitative information to build a detailed map of the supply of talent into a particular locale, in order to better visualize talent pool availability and employability; talent pool size and fresh graduate supply; and trends and forecast reports for future supply expectations.
  • Using predictive modeling, employees can match the right candidate to the right job by identifying the traits that distinguish high performers

Challenges in the Field

Although SMAC provides several benefits to grow businesses, there are challenges bracketed with it:

  • The processes and software to implement SMAC is complex and hence an organization needs to make sure the results justify the cost.
  • SMAC is not standalone. Various processes in an organization need to be converged effectively to realize the actual benefit.
  • Seamlessly integrating SMAC technologies into existing business-IT processes and culture could pose a big challenge as it may disrupt their current IT systems or business models.
  • Consumers and enterprises create massive amount of data on a daily basis. Analysis of this structured and unstructured data in order to gain meaningful insights may confuse analysts and lead to unpredictable results.

Conclusion

SMAC Stack technologies are already transforming business models and the processes underpinning them. Slower adoption of such disruptive technologies is making stakeholders worry due to the disruptive nature of these technologies, which has the potential to throw an organization out of business. Furthermore, integration of SMAC technologies into process work is rapidly changing core enterprise work. SMAC creates an imperative for IT and process architectural change as stakeholders recognize the three major realities

  • Anticipating and analyzing the growth in the volume of social data could be modeled and monetized by organizations
  • Capturing, storing, searching, sharing, transferring and analyzing data that business processes generate is the new gold rush
  • The internet has evolved into the cloud. The once transport protocol is now a development environment and management platform

Identifying and quickly responding to the above realities will therefore allow enterprises to effectively adapt to SMAC Stack and realize benefits offered by these disruptive technologies.

References

http://wearesocial.net/tag/statshot/

http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/SMAC-social-mobile-analytics-and-cloud

http://www.cognizant.com/SiteDocuments/dont-get-smacked.pdf

https://mobiforge.com/research-analysis/global-mobile-statistics-2014-part-a-mobile-subscribers-handset-market-share-mobile-operators

http://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/cloud-computing/4037

http://www.infosys.com/industries/retail/white-papers/Documents/big-data-big-opportunity.pdf

http://www.cognizant.com/InsightsWhitepapers/SMACking-Talent-Acquisition.pdf


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