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Digitalisation demands digital down to the core

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As digitalisation continues to entrench itself as a strategic direction, it’s important that organisations understand what true digital transformation should address, says QUINTON PIENAAR, CEO of Agilitude.

“In order to make digital transformation a reality business should pay careful consideration to the overall process and how these will need to be adapted to suit a digital environment. In addition, how will applications be changed to allow for a new digital process,” says Pienaar.

The description of today’s environment as ‘being the age of the customer’ is an apt one considering that the modern customer is a digital being with high expectations of the digital experience they receive. Pienaar notes how those same high expectations apply to the digital experience organisations deliver.

“Often a digital transformation will migrate central work teams to distributed work that happens right where the customer is. This means applications need to be available outside of the firewall, designed with the customer in mind and allow for an enjoyable experience.”

Allowing for an enjoyable customer experience means that all touchpoints should harmonise with solutions that offer a unified view of the customer journey while also minimising IT challenges and improving collaboration. “Keeping the customer in mind applies equally to every channel the business engages across, delivering the right content via the right application at the right time. Doing this well becomes a competitive advantage,” he says.

According to the World Economic Forum’s white paper titled Digital Transformation of Industries released in January this year, becoming a digital enterprise requires far more profound changes than merely investing in the latest digital technologies. The research notes that a key challenge will be to reinvent applications strategies that align with the new digital reality, while at the same time supporting the innovation businesses will need to remain competitive.

“Going forward, businesses will differentiate themselves based on how well they meet the challenges of handling complex application strategies, including packaged applications, analytics, customer applications, cloud-based applications and mobile apps. Done well, each application environment should deliver a seamless results and a compelling customer experience,” Pienaar adds.

Truly digital enterprises will have to continuously work to create more dynamic business processes, connected platforms, analytics and collaboration capabilities, while simultaneously bearing in mind the need to meet the customer where they are. “While there are several key factors to keep in mind while evaluating an organisation’s core applications, it’s crucially important to understand what digital transformation should address. Knowing the desired outcome will ensure smoother processes, and ultimately the freedom to focus on delivering value rather than the technology itself,” Pienaar says.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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