In the evolution from a traditional manual enterprise to a self-running enterprise, business leaders need to self-assess to first understand what phase they are in before developing digital change initiatives to bring them closer to their internal objectives.
At the lower end of the scale, the Manual Enterprise sees humans execute all tasks with no technology support. Transactional enterprises have systems that provide business information and guide processes, with humans defining what those processes should be, while a Digital Enterprise sees humans control systems that provide live data and rich analytics. All these enterprise models can be classified as non-learning enterprise systems.
Where organisations need to start moving toward is to the self-learning enterprise systems. The Intelligent Enterprise is driven by systems that assist in all core business activities, with humans directing activities and ensuring all the components of the Intelligent Enterprise are running optimally. Thanks to the immense power of modern AI and machine learning algorithms, enterprises may soon become entirely self-running, with systems that run certain functions autonomously while humans merely supervise.
The core of the Intelligent Enterprise
Sitting at the core of the Intelligent Enterprise is next-generation enterprise resource planning systems that integrate various traditional and exponential technologies into a single system built on powerful cloud platforms. SAP S/4HANA Cloud sits at the centre of a range of industry and line-of-business -specific solutions including procurement, human capital management, travel and expense management, transactional, business planning and financial reporting systems.
What makes the Intelligent ERP different is how hands-free, intuitive user experiences with digital assistance and instant insights deliver value-adding experiences to workers, while AI and predictive analytics automate for greater efficiencies in a range of tasks. These next-generation processes are also forcing a reinvention of business processes, with best practices built on the latest innovations enabling business leaders to reimagine entire business models.
This is posing distinct challenges to how people are sourced, managed, motivated and retained.
Human capital management in the Intelligent Enterprise
By 2025, millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce. This generation of workers is markedly different than any before and will have immense influence over the way we think about work and employment. Attracting, engaging and retaining talent is already a top C-level priority, especially where scarce digital skills are involved.
Contingent workers – part of the so-called Gig Economy – are already disrupting human capital management in the digital age. At the end of 2017, nearly half of the global workforce were contingent workers. Effective management of a diverse and geographically dispersed employee base is one of the defining challenges for exponential organisations.
Enabling effective human-machine collaboration
The disruption posed by the entry of the millennial workforce pales in comparison to the seismic shift that AI and automation will bring to the world of work. Nearly every occupation in every industry will feel the effects of automation, as routine physical and cognitive tasks are automated. While this does offer workers an opportunity to elevate the work they do by freeing them up from mundane, repetitive tasks, a period of uncertainty and change is inevitable.
Workers of the near future will need to learn how to interface with technology at every step of the work day. Robots are sure to replace some jobs, but for the most part job roles will evolve to prioritise human-machine collaboration.
Here, the Intelligent Enterprise plays an anchoring role: by combining Intelligent Cloud ERP with a digital workforce, businesses enable a Digital Enterprise where human workers interface with robotic process automation, AI and machine learning, and predictive analytics to conduct higher-value tasks.
Digital change checklist for COOs
Managing the transition to a digital workforce enabled by an Intelligent Enterprise will challenge organisational leaders’ change management abilities. Successful digital change management is built on four cornerstones, namely:
- Ensuring digital leadership – By developing a compelling digital vision, business leaders create a sense of urgency for digitalisation and ensure top management act as role models for the rest of the organisation.
- Fostering a digital mindset – Business leaders need to identify digital champions internal to the organisation and empower them to promote digitalisation initiatives. However, they do also need to ensure they track and assess the impact of digitalisation.
- Establishing digital governance – By aligning KPIs to digital adoption and tracking progress, business leaders are better placed to adapt the formal organisation to the new digital vision.
- Building digital skills – The time of the learn-work-retire career model of old is over. The new approach to learning and work is one of constant upskilling and regular change. Business leaders need to provide skills development opportunities that enhance internal digital skills and competencies. Integration with AI, machine learning and robotics is critical for the future of work, which is strongly favoured toward human-machine collaboration.
Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?
Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.
Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.
Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.
Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.
Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.
Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?
It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.
However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.
The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.
One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.
It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.
The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.
They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.
Not enough firsts? There are a few more.
Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
IoT set to improve authentication
By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto
As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.
And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.
Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.
According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.
Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.
Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.
And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.
Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.
And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.
So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.
This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.