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In data-driven business, people are now miners

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As a goldsmith can double the value of gold, so can skilled people turn data into insights or business models, says NIRAL PATEL, MD of Oracle South Africa.

Data, as a raw material with a recognised value, is often likened to gold.  Just as prospectors once crossed continents in search of gold, many companies today spare no expense in collecting as much data as possible to inform their decision-making. Like gold, data also has a market value even in an uncertain economy and just as gold must be mined and processed in order to be crafted into items of even greater value, so data must be collected, collated and analysed in order to present businesses with valuable insights from their ‘digital gold’.

At every stage of that process, people are crucial. Much is made of the volumes of data being created and churned by machines with huge processing power, but without people the value of data cannot be unlocked. As a goldsmith can double or treble the value of gold by turning it into a ring, so skilled people can turn data into insights, applications or whole business models with incredible value. To succeed in a data-driven economy, businesses need the visionaries who can imagine and explore the value that exists within their data. They need the inspirational thinkers who can plan a path to unlocking that value and they need the technical minds and problem solvers who can harness the full power of technology such as cloud to connect data and mine it for insights.

Any business planning to unlock the value of its data must not underestimate the role people play alongside data and machines. Every business needs to find the right balance of each; a ‘golden ratio’ where the right people are working with the right data, with the right tools at their disposal to deliver maximum value.

Consider the many businesses sitting on huge stockpiles of information from a growing number of sources. There have been a stream of predictions around how the Internet of Things (IoT) will change the way companies work, for example. But apart from a few major players, most industrial organizations use a fraction of their IoT data. Most are still only scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to analysing that information.

So what is holding companies back? They certainly have enough data and the technology exists to collect and analyse it. It is often the right people who are missing. People are at the centre of planning and decision-making and for all the advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, only people can ensure the business is working with the right data, asking the right questions of its analytics, and most crucially applying those learnings in the right way to address human needs and problems. In many instances, there are not enough people asking the right questions of their data, or using it in the right ways. Some businesses may think more machines and more data are the answer, but it is about striking a balance and that means having the right people.

There is undoubtedly a digital gold rush happening right now and it will favour those businesses with the right people in place; people who know where to look, how to mine their data and how to turn it into something far more valuable than the sum of its parts. People will be the gold miners and goldsmiths of the data-driven businesses of tomorrow.

* This is the first in a series of three blog posts

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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