The global market place is changing. It is becoming increasingly complex and uncertain and unlike previously, the customers have unmatched access to information. The competition too is on the rise. All these factors combined are forcing organizations to constantly look out for solutions just to help them maintain their market-share. The SMAC technologies is one such solution. It is a combination of Social, Mobility, Analytical and Cloud computing which enables organizations to connect with their target customers, understand their buying behavior and boost agility within the enterprise and in the market, leading to increased collaboration amongst the internal and external stakeholders. But the question remains, are SMAC technologies the real game changers? Let’s have a look.
S: Is your business Social enough?
An online retailer based in China has customers across the world. A novice pastry chef from India is learning new recipes from the best dessert chef based in France every week. A technology enthusiast is constantly up to date with the latest available tech in the market. A TV show buff feels connected to the characters of his favourite TV show. And the list can go on and on. What the take away is that this is the power of Social Media. Organizations and business houses are no longer limited by geographical boundaries. Because of Social Media they can reach 1.97 billion people at the same time. And hence it is imperative for organizations to be a part of this revolution.
Platforms such as Facebook, later joined by Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn can no longer be claimed as leisure sites. This is the new market place.
According to Social Media Examiner report as on May, 2017 Facebook alone has 1.94 billion monthly active users, with 213 million only in India.
Although veteran marketers have not established a direct co-relation between social media and their business, one cannot ignore its gigantic role in building an organizations brand. Through social media, organizations are able to connect with their target customers, enhance the brand image, educate their customers and essentially make their presence felt to grab the mind-share of their audience.
As per a KPMG report nearly 90 percent of top global banks use social networking to achieve customer engagement. Therefore, organizations absent on these platforms will slowly but surely lose their market to their peer who holds a bigger mindshare.
M: Keeping up with the mobile market
We’ve heard of coffee-on-the-go and food-on-the-go. But work-on-the-go? This is not only happening globally but it’s catching up in India too. Due to the intensifying competition organizations need their workforce to be more productive which is driving employees to access corporate information through their mobile devices. And with an increase in the implementation of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy this concept will soon become a norm.
As per a report by Nielsen, about 85% of Indians use mobile devices and over 40% of Indian organizations have a BYOD policy claims a CMR report.
Similarly, from the other end of the spectrum, due to the high penetration of mobile devices consumers are using it to drive their purchasing decisions. Businesses are releasing applications commonly termed as Apps to drive growth. Confused which restaurant to go to tonight? Click the Zomato app. Want to book a ticket? The Make My Trip app is there to help. Looking for a recipe? Check out the MasterChef app! Hence, enterprises must enter this mobility clan and ensure their business apps are mobile ready to increase the touch points with their buyers.
A: The power of analytics
Have you ever felt that the internet is really smart? Every web page you open, you see advertisements of the clothes you want to buy or exciting discounts on travel routes for your next holiday or technology to empower your business growth? Well, to burst your bubble it’s not the internet. It’s Big Data analytics. Individuals and organizations generate billions of gigabytes of data which, through analytics, organizations can understand their customer requirements better and provide them with the ideal products and services in real time to create a colossal competitive advantage for themselves.
Analytics can be adopted across industries. It can help retailers predict and influence their customer’s buying decisions, enrich the buying experience or help them manage their inventory better. Governments can use analytics to reduce the crime in their city, banks use it to enhance customer relations by understanding their customer’s habits amongst others. This is because organizations are realizing that through analytics they can drive organizational growth, reduce costs, achieve operational excellence, and take decisions faster. Businesses who fail to see the potential of this upcoming area in IT are bound to face business risks in the long run.
C: Be ahead with the Cloud
Cloud computing is undoubtedly the most popular arm of the SMAC technologies. 56% of global enterprises consider cloud to be a strategic differentiator. In India, too, the cloud market is expected to cross $1.4 Billion in 2017.
Unlike the others, Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud technologies change the IT foundation of an organization. Simply put, it is storing and accessing programs and organizing data over the internet instead of a computer hard drive. It is cost effective, improves collaboration, brings in agility within the business, and accelerates the overall business performance. This is why, IBM concludes that approximately 58 percent of enterprises spend more than 10 percent of their annual budgets on Cloud services.
Are they game changers?
I do not need to stress on how tough the market is today. Businesses are operating in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environment. In fact, Forbes suggests practicing leadership to thrive in an unsteady world.
Regardless of the industry, irrespective of the market – organizations are fighting to survive. In such circumstances, it is imperative for businesses to take advantage of the available technologies to have an edge – either over their competitors or customers. And Social, Mobility, Analytical and Cloud computing – the SMAC technologies undoubtedly aid businesses with critical information to help them have the competitive edge.
So yes, if SMAC is enabling organizations to understand their customers like never before, it is a game changer. If it helps businesses connect with its target audience efficiently and build their brand, it is a game changer. If SMAC facilitates quick informed decision making and minimizes costs it is a game changer. If it enables organizations to boost their customer experience it is a game changer. If it enables organizations to significantly increase in sales and profits, it is a game changer.
According to Gartner, organizations are making SMAC a priority. Some experts in the field have predicted that by 2020 SMAC will account for $5 trillion of the total spending by customers. IT service vendors in India too will experience an 8-10% annual revenue growth from SMAC. And organizations who fail to see the effectiveness of SMAC technologies will face the risk of trailing their peers.