It is no secret that the digital age promises a data deluge. But there's no benefit in having huge volumes of data; instead, it's what organisations do with it that matters. "Organisations today need to be cognitive businesses, which leverage cognitive computing to gain insights - or even automate insights - to make better and informed decisions," said Richard Wilkins, CTO, ASEAN, IBM Corporation.
To help organisations do so, experts at IBM's SolutionsConnect in Singapore this year provided advice on how IT leaders and professionals can help their organisations become innovative and cognitive 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, blockchain and the Internet of Things (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.
Some organisations have responded well to these new customer demands. For instance, some brick-and-mortar retailers allow its customers to place an order on their websites and pick up their orders from the physical stores within the same day. Nulf explained that this allows such retailers to compete with online stores by catering to customers who want to receive their goods quickly since online shops usually take days to deliver an order.
Nulf also provided the following tips to encourage innovation in organisations:
- Use design thinking to create better user experience
- Launch microservices with frequent feature updates
- Adapt cloud-based delivery for easier growth
- Leverage customer insights by connecting existing system and data
- Empower employees with real-time mobile analytics
- Build an ecosystem of partners large and small.
The need for blockchain, beyond finance
Even though blockchain is mostly being talked about in the financial services industry, its potential extends beyond that. "Blockchain can potentially solve a range of problems for various industries as its key value lies in establishing trust, accountability and transparency within the business network while streamlining business processes," asserted Alan Lim, SG Software Client Architect Leader, Senior IT Architect, IBM Software.
"Businesses do not work in siloes, but in a network. Suppliers, governments, banks and regulators are connected by different agreements, permissions and ledgers that are often disputed or changed. Blockchain infuses trust into that equation," he explained.
Blockchain creates digital ledgers of transactions that can be shared across a business network. According to IBM, the network will be private to the parties concerned, and secured using cryptographic technology to ensure that participants only see the information they are permitted to view. All transactions against the ledger will require consensus across the network, where provenance of information is clear and transparent. Transactions are also unchangeable and final. Besides that, blockchain enables smart contracts, in which business rules are embedded in the blockchain and executed in a transaction, said Lim.
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