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Where digital and creativity meet

WAYNE HULL, Managing Director for Accenture Digital South Africa, emphasises that businesses have a new opportunity to capitalise on the rise of digital capabilities, with it set to act as a growth catalyst across a broad range of industries, both B2B and B2C.

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On one hand, changes to the market have been consumer-driven. Consider everything from online shopping to banking apps to IoT-enabled wearables – in the new experience-driven landscape, users demand both personalisation and the most sophisticated, intuitive digital interfaces. Liquid expectations mean, moreover, that the benchmarks continue to rise – the best-in-class, hyperpersonalised experiences offered by the digital giants lead consumers to expect equally seamless offerings everywhere else.

Moreover, there are deep drives around integration. Promotion, service, purchasing and advertising were once siloed concepts – no longer. Today, end-to-end consistency is what drives consumers’ immersion in products and services.

On the other hand, increasing volumes of data, decreasing costs of storage, virtually unlimited cloud computing power, open source platforms, machine learning and more have also caused far-reaching ripple effects. These capabilities have not only led to the digitisation of more and more business areas, but the creation of entirely new business models – consumption is becoming dematerialised; ownership decoupled from both service provision and production.

According to Accenture research, the result is that many executives face a dilemma: investment in digital has become a clear business priority, yet a large number in the C-suite unsure of where, specifically, to invest to promote growth. This is despite the fact that 54% of executives cite digital technologies as the direction they would most likely reinvest cost savings. (Digital is followed by launching new products and services, at 46% and expanding into new product or service lines or customer segments, at 45%.) Yet, new routes to realising today’s digital imperatives are opening up. For consumer-facing industries, for example, tapping the capabilities of experience architecture is coming to redefine not only customer interaction, but the entire purchasing process.

One part creative agency, one part business consultancy and one part tech powerhouse, experience architects focus on integrating specialist skills across once-isolated domains spanning user interface, design, data and machine learning. The result is the ability to provide creative, engaging content of an agency standard backed by the data and artificial intelligence capabilities that only specialists embedded in digital are able to provide.

Recent Accenture research underscores the need for a rethink – particularly when it comes to marketing. The numbers reveal that a mere 18% of the consumers CMOs reach through digital and traditional channels are actually in-market. As such, less than a fifth of people reached by a marketing message are in fact the right people for the product or service on offer – four-fifths of marketing budgets are wasted spend.

Consumer-facing industries are not the only ones being remade. Other industry-specific solutions are also developing in both sophistication and ubiquity. Consider financial services institutions, for example, many of which now make use of a host of anti-money laundering, finance and risk tools. The communications, media and technology (CMT) space has seen growth through the rise of omnichannel customer service optimisation at the levels of both B2C and B2B. Within the resources space, intelligent retail solutions, upstream corrosion management, fuel retaining and predictive asset maintenance are seeing increasing uptake, as are niche solutions in health and the public sector. Meanwhile, in manufacturing, growth is being driven by Industry X.0.

Essentially, Industry X.0 refers to the application of new technologies including blockchain, machine learning, autonomous vehicles and ‘digital twins’ within a manufacturing or industrial environment. Under this new paradigm, everything from high-tech wearables to consumer staples to the manufacturing process itself becomes dynamic, reactive and responsive.

This approach to production allows real-time data from consumers, the supply chain and more to create not only ‘smart’ products, but an entire intelligent industrial ecosystem, capable of predicting and reacting to changing consumer tastes and trends and optimising operations on the plant floor. Although many executives face certain barriers to sustainable execution of growth-oriented programs, many remain certain that reinvesting savings in digital is the right strategic move, viewing digital as an enabler for both growth and advanced operating models.

With c-suite alignment and a willingness to operate at the digital-creative edge, forward-thinking companies may stand poised not only to access the growth they seek, but to drive industry-wide innovation.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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