Every business tries to improve its performance and deliver better value to its stakeholders. There is a plethora of technologies that are available today, using which organisations try to stay ahead in the race. But there is always the problem of deciding when a technology is good to invest in and if the investment will yield the desired business results.
Besides, in today’s world, there is a range of applications that have been created and used by Enterprises world-over. So, what is new that upcoming technologies will yield?
Beyond Enterprise Applications
One of the important understanding that we have today is that no enterprise exists in void and can act alone in furthering their stakeholders interests, all by themselves. Enterprises or part of Supply / Value Chains which we can generalize as the ecosystem in which they exist. and, as with any chain, the strength of the entire chain (read as cost/operational efficiencies or customer experience etc.) is only as strong as the weakest link.
For example, there could be a great Logistics Provider with the most sophisticated applications but, if they have to deal with transporters and truckers with less sophisticated IT, they my not be able to use the fancy features of their applications!
A conclusion, one may draw from this is the fact that it is important for Enterprises to ensure that the ecosystem in which they operate is also primed for efficiencies. One can see that Enterprises will have to use the new technologies to invest in their ecosystem. This is what I would like to call Digitization of Business.
Here are some examples to explain what I mean….
We all know that the cost of pertoleum products is subject to fluctuations. The production of crude oil is also subject to fluctuations. When we look at an oil and gas company’s operations we realize that the crude oil is in various states of processing / refinement and is in warehouses and in the process of being transported to refineries, warehouses and to dispensation pumps. In other words, the material in transit is impacting the profitability of the business because of price-volatility. It is also subject to hoarding if adequate regulatory checks are not in place. We can thus see that it is important that this ecosystem, from oil-wells to refineries to distribution warehouses to pumps works efficiently and business analytics is available in real-time for taking any corrective actions as an ecosystem.
Another example: In Health-services, we see an ecosystem of practitioners, healthcare providers, diagnostic centres, insurance companies, research institutions, drug companies, patients and patients’ minders that have to work together and effectively.
And, I can think of numerous more examples from banking to retails to logistics management and manufacturing that will require an ecosystem to function efficiently rather than focus on the individual Enterprises efficiencies alone.
Abstracting It To A Concept
When we abstract the principles that would glue an ecosystem together, we realize that the following principles are essential ingredients for their efficiency.
- Connectivity: This refers to the interconnection across individual players in the ecosystem to each other established in a cost effective manner and capable of providing the basic bed-rock for other aspect of the ecosystem to come together.
- Point of Presence: This refers to the ability of applications to be accessible with ease to all players; in other words a convenient point of presence for the applications
- Positioning of Intelligence: This refers to the pin-pointed availability of data about the functioning of the ecosystem to enable ecosystem players to take corrective actions.
- Sharing and Elascticity:This refers to the ability to share applications across multiple players in the ecosystem and perhaps have a model to grow resource allocated per player based on real-time demand
- Security: This refers to privacy protection mechanisms, data protection within and without the ecosystem, as well as, other policy decisions to protect the integrity of the ecosystem and individual constituents
From the description given above, one can see that Digitization to be achieved, we need services that can typically be obtained from ICT Service Providers, who could provide and integrate communication services, develop mobile applications to create an easy front-end to business applications, business intelligence & analytics, cloud computing solutions and security solutions.
To address the Digitization of Ecosystems, ICT providers, on their part will have to have strong Verticalization strategies that will enable them to bring out solutions targeting specific needs of the industry ecosystem.