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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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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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