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IBM SolutionsConnect: Technology leadership in the cognitive era

Zafar Anjum | June 6, 2016
Technology giant IBM organized a one-day thought leadership conference in Singapore and shared with its partners and customers the possibilities of exploiting disruptive cutting-edge technologies such as hybrid cloud, cognitive computing and blockchain to radically transform businesses for future success.

We are living in the digital age in which anything that could be digitized is being digitized. Also, because of the mobile revolution, there has been an exponential growth in the number of connected devices. Both these trends have led to the explosion of data and devices. According to one estimate, the numbers of devices will reach 75 billion by 2020. And about ninety percent of data created in the last two years was because of this proliferation of devices.

The impetus for disruptive innovation

This wave of digitization is causing a great disruption to businesses. According to Brett Micheal Nulf, Business Unit Executive, MobileFirst Platform & Analytics, Asia Pacific at IBM Corporation, the advent of new technologies - such as cloud, cognitive computing, blockchain and IoT - is forcing organisations to rethink their business frameworks. Customers today expect businesses to deliver better user experience, insights, social network and ecosystem, as well as address markets that may not necessarily existed before.

Nulf was speaking at the IBM Solutions Connect event on 2 June 2016, held at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore.

Citing examples of how technology-driven disruptions had decimated many traditional leaders in various industries in recent years, Nulf emphasized the importance for enterprises to stay vigilant in order to avoid getting devoured by the competition.

Nulf said that we have entered the era of cognitive computing, which is transforming digital organisations into cognitive enterprises. Nulf showed how more than seventy percent of companies have dropped off the Fortune 500 list, with the "Unicorn Club" of privately-funded startups reaching US$1bn in value becoming increasingly crowded.

He cautioned that although the Fintech arena is currently seeing the most disruptions, other industries are also prone to technology-driven disruptions, such as in manufacturing, healthcare, and even traditional sectors with a long history - such as consumer packaged goods.

The good news is that new disruptive businesses can leverage the confluence of analytics, IoT and cloud to create new applications, putting them ahead of incumbent leaders entrenched in legacy technologies. To succeed in this competitive race, enterprises must be nimble and creative. In order to do this, winners need to accelerate innovation by evolving a progressive technology mindset, mastering technologies such as hybrid clouds and integrating into the API economy.

Speed matters in innovation

An interesting phenomenon that Nulf described was what he called the "Uber syndrome - where a competitor with a completely different business model enters your industry and flattens you".

One key reason why these disruptive newcomers do so well is the speed with which they move and innovate. Nulf observed that, in general, they move six time faster than their traditional rivals whose infrastructure is too heavy and therefore saddle them with too much inertia when it comes to change and innovation.

 

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