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When ‘optimise’ beats ‘disrupt’

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These days, businesses need to search through thousands of bytes of data in order to formulate trends and build new business models based on these trends. However this analysis is moving away from disruptive innovation and more into a balanced approach.

Every 60 seconds, the world creates an average of 98 000 tweets, 695 000 Facebook updates, 11 million instant messages, 168 million emails and over 1,820 terabytes of data. The modern day business has to search through all of this to find trends to build products and services to respond to, so more and more, business analysis is moving away from the “disruptive innovation” fad and more into a balanced approach where business uses data and information to decide on whether to optimise the systems and models they already have, or to totally disrupt markets.

“We often view innovation from a funnelled perspective, where we perceive disrupting markets with new propositions as the only form of innovation. This is not true. Innovation should not simply always entail disruption, sometimes optimisation is the ultimate form of innovation simply because it looks to solve the core problem by fixing what is broken with it rather than replacing it all together,” says Dr Yudhvir Seetharam, Head of Analytics at FNB.

Seetharam believes businesses need to first have a deeper understand of how optimisation differs from disruption.

Disruptive innovations are defined as technologically straightforward innovations that are often not appealing to the mainstream market at that time. The first automobile was not mainstream as people back then were used to horse-drawn carriages. The telephone replaced the telegraph, the PC replaced the typewriter and Wikipedia replaced encyclopaedias, all these fit the definition.

“Businesses that survive and thrive need to understand what actually drives their business – demand and supply factors; and also be able to create customisable sales conversations to enhance customer experience. These all talk to optimisation. Disruption would then come in the form of extracting insights from data, combined with research to build new business models and enable experimentation of new ideas,” explains Seetharam.

Successful implementation of disruptive ideas often comes with viewing data as a flow of information as opposed to at a point in time – do not view each customer event as an isolated incident, but rather consider the entire lifecycle of that customer to enhance your next interaction with them.

Essentially, there needs to be a paradigm shift in the approach to the use of data in informing decisions. Disruption may not be the most ideal or cost effective approach, even though it is the current talk of the town.  What businesses may have to consider going forward is that the successful use of data and analytics relies on data not being considered an IT function, but rather a business function that requires IT input and support.

Once data is viewed as a function that can inform all decision making in a business rather than reserved to a single business function, a business will achieve a more practical approach to making business decisions.

“At the core of it all though is that business thinking needs to start moving away from using data simply to innovate through disruption. In most cases, the most effective way to innovate is to use data to understand what is currently not working and simply optimise that, ” concludes Seetharam.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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