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IT must go digital – or drag the business down

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Technology is driving change at a rapid rate and business leaders are constantly being warned about digital disruption, but there is an enormous opportunity for organisations that are willing to digitally transform, says MARK GESCHKE, CEO of Xuviate.

According to a study by Capgemini Consulting and MIT Sloan, large enterprises that committed deeply to digital transformation were on average 50 percent more profitable than companies that were only in the starting blocks of their transformation.

Considering that there are so many technology driven start-ups that begin small and show huge success in no time, there is no reason to believe that mid-sized businesses would not see similar successes.

Mark Geschke, CEO of the digital transformation company Xuviate, points to Relevant IT as the solution to digital transformation. “Relevant IT is a methodology developed specifically for SMEs to provide a clear, actionable roadmap of the developmental steps that need to be taken to rapidly increase the digital business DNA.”

Key to this methodology is the understanding that information technology holds the promise to add significant business value along four different dimensions. Xuviate coined this ‘The 4 Value Propositions of IT’.

Geschke says to unlock the promise of each Value Proposition, old skills have to be brushed off and new skills need to be acquired. “A breakthrough of our methodology is that we have not only been able to identify the 15 most important business technology competencies we need to master, but also prioritised them in the exact order they should be worked on.”

Digital transformation should be seen as a way of doing things, creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure.

As with most maturity frameworks, organisations aim to get as high up the ladder as possible in the shortest amount of time. Transitioning from one level to the next usually requires major mind-set changes, but is usually accompanied by significant increases in productivity and business value gained from IT investments.

Digital businesses create value for themselves by effectively harnessing modern technology and focusing intensely on improving customer experiences across all points of interaction. They achieve this by systematically upgrading their IT maturity through the Value Propositions of IT.

Relevant IT ensures a well-managed IT platform with appropriate supporting IT processes and if delivered well, IT costs are under control and the business users can generally depend on the platform to be available, as and when they need it.

After having established a reliable and cost-effective IT platform, the framework addresses automation and optimisation of business processes across the organisation.

“Once the low-hanging fruit of business processes optimisation have been sufficiently exploited, new opportunities open up to leverage technology expertise and differentiate in the market. Coming in the form of marketing or product innovations and usually involves significant step-changes that improve the overall competitiveness of the organisation,” says Geschke.

Organisations that have reached the highest level of maturity understand that technology provides an effective toolkit for continuously reinvention at the business model level.

“There is a gold-mine of opportunities waiting for service providers who realise that most mid-sized businesses are clamouring for customised solutions to support them on their digital transformation journey,” he concludes.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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