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How Transformers movie can guide digital transformation

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By Monique Williams, regional manager at Hyland Southern Africa

There are parallels that can be drawn between the requirements for true digital transformation and the story of the “Transformers” – the characters who can convert from ordinary objects into powerful robots, or sentient beings sent from outer space to save our planet. As technology professionals, it is our responsibility to continue to push business forward and transform to stay relevant and ensure business revolution.

A content strategy that includes using document management tools, file shares and email, things that were revolutionary 20 years ago, might still be functional. However, a strategy based on those tools alone might no longer offer a competitive advantage because they are no longer the powerful, efficiency-increasing tools they once were.

Creating an organisation vision for managing related digital content, where companies are merely storing content for the sake of storing content, is no longer a valid concept. Instead, you must deliberately and intelligently connect and present content in a single, complete view.

In the Transformers story, there are three signs for the young protagonist, Sam, that Bumblebee, the dusty old Camaro, could transform into an intelligent, world-saving robot. First, the car began to drive itself; second, it could intelligently speak or play music to express its mood; and third, it finally transformed its entire appearance.

IT professionals should look for the same signs when interacting with their content to determine whether they have completed true digital transformation. Here’s what you should look for:

1. Content that drives itself

When you have fully transformed your content and information management strategy, the content will start to drive itself throughout the organisation. Once captured into a central repository, it will find its way to the appropriate personnel, wherever they might be, with specific business criteria automatically pushing it through its journey.

At this stage, any “human questions” should be answered digitally by technology. For instance, in the case of an invoice, this includes questions like, “Was this an approved order?”, “Did we receive what we ordered?” or “Do we qualify for early payment discount?”. These are business conditions stored somewhere, and if everything checks out then the payment can be automatically processed, without human intervention.

2. Content that speaks to those who need it

When you automate content flowing through an organisation, it will talk to you. In an organisation that is digitally transformed, systems should send notifications to the appropriate employees or audience when something has changed, such as someone submitting a form. Moreover, as someone needs to review or act on a piece of content, that content should find its way to that user through email notifications that give them all they need to complete the task at hand, including all related content.

For instance, during a hiring process, after the initial checks and balances have been put in place, prior applications have been gathered, and a recruiter has verified an application, the hiring manager for that position receives a notification that there is an applicant to review. Upon clicking the link, they will not only see the application but they’ll see all the contextual content, including notes from the HR recruiter who performed a phone interview. Perhaps most importantly, through automation in the systems, an applicant can receive regular updates with regards to the application through email or text message.

3. The content transforms in appearance

Digital information is not digital transformation. That transformation is only complete when the experience of users interacting with that information has completely changed. It might seem like a small difference when you look at the words, but the rubber hits the digital transformation road when users have instant access to the digital information they need, when and where they need it.

Just as important, the technology you utilise should provide views of information that help put context around content, through visuals like dashboards and maps. Users should have a clear picture of information that helps them immediately make decisions instead of needing to analyse individual pieces of content in separate locations.

Just like there’s an army of Transformers, it’s important to realise that this evolution can involve an army of multiple technology solutions. And, like the army of Transformers, it is critical that as you digitally transform, you make sure all your systems are integrated, ensuring you have truly connected your business-critical content and information.

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Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets

Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds

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Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.

South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.

Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds. 

The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact

The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users. 

These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person. 
  • Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school. 
  • Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides. 
    • People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services. 
    •  There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education. 
    •  Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information. 

These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report. 

Read the full report at https://www.pewinternet.org/2019/08/22/in-emerging-economies-smartphone-and-social-media-users-have-broader-social-networks.

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Nokia to be first with Android 10

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Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range. 

“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”

HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.

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