N. Jayantha Prabhu, CTO, Essar group
To achieve sustainable competitive advantage, providing a superior customer experience and at the same time be cost conscious, companies have transformed themselves to become very ‘agile’ (very dynamic to change), ‘context aware’ (about the industry, customers analysis), ‘connected’ (with customers, trading partners, suppliers) and more importantly ‘insight enabled’ (from internal and external data from social media and other data sources) leading to a very focused strategy on SMAC – Social Mobile Analytics and Cloud.
Every once in fifteen years or so , the IT industry has undergone a dramatic transformation and witnessed new innovations in the way IT services are delivered to the customers or clients or to the end users in general. There was the mainframe era, and then came along the mini-computing era, personal computer or client server era, the “Web era” and now as we believe we are experiencing the fifth wave of IT revolution. The recent IT trend or so to say, IT architecture, encloses social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies-collectively known as SAMC. It wasn’t surprising for some companies to find ubiquitous rapid adoption of "smart" mobile devices by both consumers and employees. This was coupled with the increase in bringing your own device (BYOD) in the work environment which was placing significant challenges to meet a broader set of requirements. As more and more smartphones, tablets and other devices find their way into the hands of employees, the demand to use them at work will intensify. This trend will only accelerate in the years to come, and more and more enterprises are adopting a formal ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policy. In few diversified scenarios, it was also important to have a very effective collaborative tool and social engagement platform to make that connect happen which should also lead for higher productivity and faster decision making abilities.
There is no doubt today that SMAC is an inevitable natural force that has to be embraced quickly. Hence various initiatives should be taken by IT teams of few enterprises to embrace this important change. Some of the important initiatives include, Enterprise Mobility, Collaboration with Social Media, HR - Success factor on cloud deployment, Live Chat, VOIP Video, Conference Solution on every device – Video on the go, Mass SMS/ Mass Mail solutions, Lync 2013, Exchange 2013, Wi-Fi Solution, Board Book, Contract Labor Management, GIS Mapping, Digital book library, F&F Settlement Process, Vehicle Tracking dashboard, HR Dashboard, Mobile App for leave processing etc., all pointers taking them closer towards enabling effective SMAC environment. Considering Enterprise Scenario, Security also played a major role and had an important say in the overall SMAC strategy. Based on it, should deploy security mechanism that includes Next Generation Firewall, Secured Wi-Fi Connection through ISE, Web Content and Email Spam Security Solution, Virtualization, Databox, E Print Solution, Two factor authentication, SBC – Secured Session Border Controller, Secured VOIP and collaboration and SSL VPN Solution for remote users etc. This created a perfect environment to make SMAC a “Reality” in an effective and secured way.
SMAC must not be working in silos. It means they need to be related and collaborated to each other in such way that one gets enhanced business value out of it. Required services and tool should be available within a single window and a click. It should be guaranteed that this is available on the mobile as well so that users need not be carrying traditional devices to make use of this easy-to-use service. There are some fantastic examples to note here. Features like Poll and forums, in true way gives employees democratic freedom. It can help management to take many crucial decisions such as working 5 days a week at non-plant offices. By taking online voting, senior management realize the real voice of ground level employees and make changes in the policies with lot of ease through true and real time data.
Success Factor deployment on Cloud can bring much needed integrity and scalability for various HR processes. The rising presence and reach of the internet, coupled with the prolific growth of smartphones, tablets and related technologies, has provided consumers with unmatched access to information on the go, thereby helping them make informed decisions. Hence there is no doubt that SMAC is bringing a major transformation in industry standards, as well as it is enhancing the future for IT Enterprises.