Friday, June 27, 2014

Exploring the area of Mobility and the tremendous opportunities it presents for businesses today

We are living in an age where most of the people around us use a mobile phone and even smartphones to communicate on a day to day basis. Such is our interaction with Mobile today that we would be lost without it. We use mobile in our day to day lives to make calls, access Internet, play music, do photo sharing, access Whatsapp, Games and the list goes on.

Hence it is not surprising that businesses today see mobile as one of the favorite medium to reach out to their customers. According to Nasscom, the global enterprise mobility market is estimated to grow at USD 140 billion by the year 2020. Such is the impact of mobile that organizations are increasingly using mobile technologies to not just reach out to consumers but also as part of their organizational processes like accessing travel and expense data, mobile banking, dashboards for different processes on mobile.

In fact some of the companies are also revamping their business processes to be more mobile driven. Adoption of mobile in organizational business processes would mean adopting technologies like cloud, analytics and mobile driven dashboards for faster access of information and faster decision making. Management today is looking at information readily available to take quick decisions, save time, improve efficiency and in turn maximize profits.

As a result it is now common for major enterprise application software companies like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft to launch mobile applications of their enterprise systems like ERP, CRM or HRMS. Managers can access their SAP data over a mobile smartphone or a tablet using mobility solutions. Marketing Managers can see their days schedule, plan meetings, analyze budgets and derive insights using a CRM application built on mobile technologies.

A cloud model or online Software as a Service (SaaS ) model is seen as a common mode of delivery of mobile solutions, making them more affordable and easier to implement in companies. One of the key is to identify a business process in an organization which could be revamped or made much more efficient using mobile technologies e.g the education industry is now delivering course content on mobile as a service thus increasing their customer base and also delivering value to their consumers.

If you ask me I would say mobile is definitely a disruptive technology innovation facing companies today. One must leverage this innovation and put it to the best of use where it can minimize effort, improve processes, create better accessibility, save time and cost and in turn increase profitability. I am certain more and more companies would revamp their business processes to adapt mobile technologies as a part of their changing business model.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Analytics and Big Data, and how it has started helping organizations today

When we say big data, the thing that first comes to mind is huge volume of data. Yes, in a nutshell that's true, it is huge volumes of data, but consider this as organizational data with volumes of both structured and unstructured data. This could be data from different databases, shop floor data, marketing data in excel or other formats, data coming in from social media or any other source.

With ERP applications now being adapted widely by organizations, companies have their day to day operations streamlined. Managers can get specific reports to view data as per their needs. However churning out a report from an ERP system is often a time consuming affair. ERP applications are extremely complex transaction processing systems and most of the ERP systems are great at getting data in rather than getting good information out.

Most of the reports pulled in from ERP systems are static reports considering a certain set of parameters. However a dynamic change in request of parameters or some other information is to be seen then considerable time and effort is spent by IT staff to compile and create the report which would fulfill the specific information request.

So in reality you have huge amount of data available, but it becomes cumbersome and at times difficult for top management to get a birds eye view of the data to make intelligent decisions. Management wants to spot trends say in production, quality related data, or want to spot trends in sales of a particular market over a period of time, which of the product line is performing best, which product is low on sales, how to spot trends to reverse this and boost sales. Most of this data is present in the organization, but there is no intelligent system showcasing this data in a visual format with the flexibility to choose parameters on the fly and correlate them with other parameters to spot insights and trends.

This is where the gap in information can be filled in with a good business intelligence and analytics solution. Most BI solutions provide a single platform to extract and prepare the data for businesses to create intelligent visualizations and analytics on the same. Irrespective of the data source, a robust BI solution implementation would involve creating a multidimensional OLAP based cube which forms a base to handle complex business queries and churning reports within a matter of seconds.

An organization can then create personalized dashboards suiting to the day to day information needs of managers from different departments and also for the top management. As we live in an information age where most of the information around us is available on our fingertips, then why should businesses not use the technology if it is available to create intelligent, fast, ready information to make the right business decisions, reduce costs and improve profitability.