Category Archives: Information & Communication Technology

Top 10 Technology Trends for Business for 2014

Today, all roads lead to digital. From business strategy to execution, digital technology has become the foundation for everything we do. As companies strive to bolster competitive advantage in a complex global environment, savvy business leaders are leveraging technology to accomplish their goals.

Digital technologies and always-on connectivity are ushering in extraordinary business opportunities. Yet, the proliferation of mobile apps, cloud-based data, and “anywhere, anytime” expectations are forcing leaders to approach IT in radically new ways.

Top 10 technology trends in 2014
Source: 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey, PwC

The 10 technology trends above seam to be on top of today’s executives. Ranked by current investment levels, the findings provide a part of PwC’s  6th Annual Digital IQ Survey.

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Knowledge Management and Virtual Teams Management (Romanian)

Today I talked at ZF Live about Knowledge Management and Virtual Teams Management. The show was triggered by an online training I have delivered for Mediafax Group which was recently launched. The training is available at www.zfelearning.ro and you may find the recording of the TV show below (NB: both of them are in Romanian only):

SaaS, PaaS and something to consider

SaaS revenue comes from a utility computing environment in which unrelated customers share a common application and infrastructure managed by an independent software vendor or a third-party service provider that typically owns the code or intellectual property. The model provides access to and consumption of software and application functionality built specifically for network delivery and accessed by users over the Internet.

SaaS revenues do not include software deployed internally by the customer or any packaged software for which a license fee and a maintenance fee are paid. The myriad ‘as a service’ (APPaaS, PaaS, IaaS) offerings—including business application services, databases, software development tools, high-level storage services (backup
and archiving), testing as a service, and security as a service—are all included in the category of SaaS.

A company might come to market with something it broadly calls SaaS, when in reality one business unit is doing SaaS and the other is doing PaaS. But each model functions differently. With SaaS, prices typically don’t go down but vendors keep offering premium features that add value and cost extra. With PaaS, however, prices do usually drop over time as more customers come onto the platform.

Most companies today don’t seem to be taking that into consideration. More details in the Global 100 Software Leaders report.

Communications industry concerned about keeping up with technological change

Communications alliancesCommunications industry CEOs are concerned about their company’s ability to keep up with the speed of technological change. And they’re looking to strategic alliances or joint ventures to propel growth, as shows the recently released CEO Survey.

Innovation still on top of CEO’s agenda

Communications industry CEOs know they need to innovate. Product/service innovation was selected by 41% of communications respondents when asked what they see as the main opportunity to grow their business (as compared with 35% of respondents from the global sample). And 49% of Communications industry CEOs said developing an innovation ecosystem that supports growth is a priority over the next three years.

 Restructuring is top priority

In the last twelve months 62% of Communications industry CEOs entered into a strategic alliance or joint venture, compared with 34% from the global sample. More activity is on the horizon: 54% of Communications CEOs say they plan to enter into a new strategic alliance or joint venture in the coming twelve months.

Planning time horizon

When asked “what is your current planning time horizon?” 56% of communications industry CEOs answered “three years”. The industry is changing too quickly to predict what will happen in just five years.

 Still confident on growth

72% of Communications industry CEOs are somewhat or very confident about their company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next twelve months. However, when asked about their confidence level about their company’s prospects for growth over the next three years, a stunning 90% said they are somewhat or very confident.

Considering the conclusion of this report, here are some cross-industry questions that would help us plan for the future:

  • What  does the “right” innovation strategy for my own business look like? Do we want to keep everything in house? Create an incubator? Develop a JV?
  • The control-oriented management style that’s well suited for traditional connectivity services clashes with the fast-paced decision-making requirements of innovation today. So how can we best organize the business to foster innovation?
  • The market’s expectation of “anything, everywhere, anytime” combined with shifting profit pools across the content, application, services, and network value chains requires an examination of relevance in this rapidly evolving ecosystem.  What is our response to these market changes?

From “mass media” to “my media”

The last Global entertainment and media outlook produced by PwC revealed some interesting insights. As media consumption fragments across devices, consumers increasingly want personalised experiences: their content on their chosen devices when they want it. This move to ‘my media’ can be seen in ‘cord-cutting’ where consumers abandon their pay TV subscriptions and instead access the content they want via cheaper, Internet-based content services. The cord-cutters are now being joined the ‘cord-nevers’, a younger generation who would never think of paying for TV. A further manifestation of ‘my media’ is consumers’ growing use of the ‘second screen’smartphones and tablets to comment on and share the experience of TV content with friends, often via social media.

Understanding new consumers is key

Over the next five years and beyond, all E&M businesses will increasingly engage with a new and more diverse global customer base, with different needs and expectations. According to the OECD, by 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will be ‘middle class’, with a daily expenditure of US$10 to US$100. This new middle class will appear primarily in Asia Pacific-and the E&M industry needs to understand its needs and motivations to capture its spending power.

Economic growth + new middle class + mobile = ongoing digital growth

Economic studies in emerging markets show consistently that rising mobile and broadband penetration boost economic growth. But fibre networks and next-generation mobile broadband services demands heavy investment. So telcos will have to partner with one another to reduce network costs, and collaborate with ‘over-the-top’ content players to roll out new services. Going forward, the E&M companies that seize a profitable position in the new digital ecosystem will be those with the speed, flexibility and insight to engage and monetise an ever more diverse global base of connected consumers y delivering personalised, relevant, and ultimately indispensable content experiences.

Social media in HR

Social Media Week 2012 SP
(Photo credit: Fora do Eixo)

The Internet has changed fundamentally since 15 or 20 years ago. Web 2.0 is now the magic word: information no longer flows in one direction from the sender to the receiver; instead users now generate their own content. This has created new opportunities that can also add value for HR departments. For example, stay-in-touch programs make it possible to maintain contact with former employees via social networks. And students can keep their fingers on the pulse of companies they’re interested in thanks to the Twitter newsfeed.

A recent PwC study clearly shows that, if social media are implemented correctly, they can add value in the field of HR.
Nevertheless, a well thought-through decision-making and implementation process is needed to ensure success. The results also bring to light which hurdles and stumbling blocks an HR team may encounter while trying to successfully implement social media, and what they should pay particular attention to.

There are a few actions which are of use for every HR department, irrespective of sector or focus:

  • Get an overview of the platforms and their possible uses so you can find the most suitable platform for your purposes. Your company may already be represented or being discussed on certain platforms – perhaps among customers, perhaps among (potential) employees.
  • Create space so that your company can gather experiences with social networks. Don’t try to ban social networks and online communities from the workplace – thanks to smartphones, you’ll never succeed anyway. 
  • Develop a strategy for using social media. Set rules so that social media are used consistently throughout the company. Don’t only consider HR, but work closely with your PR, marketing, production and compliance departments as well. Don’t set your strategy in stone, otherwise you won’t be able to respond to short-term developments. 
  • Set clear boundaries for the use of social media. It’s time-consuming and therefore costly to update social media. Concentrate on the platforms that are relevant for you – that way you can make more out of less. 
  • Make use of the know-how within your company, hold training and brainstorming sessions and allow your employees to feed in their personal experiences with social networks. You’ll be surprised how much knowledge you already have within the company. 
  • Provide sufficient human resources and equip staff with the necessary skills. It takes time to keep content up to date and communicate with users. Employees entrusted with these tasks need to be able to process input from outside the company quickly and flexibly. 
  • Integrate social media into your existing HR processes. The new media shouldn’t be managed in isolation, but should be actively linked to onboarding, development and alumni processes, for example. This helps create a consistent and uniform experience.

How IBM’s analytics for Wimbledon 2013 have been performed

In this video, IBM explains how reams of data are collected by a team of 50 junior tennis professionals, who log the key aspects of every point. All this data flows into the Operations Bunker, where it is combined with historical data to provide the Wimbledon Information System for broadcasters.

New this year has been the iPad app, which joins Wimbledon’s other digital platforms to provide an even richer information experience for fans. This year, IBM is also tracking social media and analyzing positive sentiment for each player. To illustrate this wealth of data, IBM has been using 3D printers to create a trophy for each player who tops the performance and social media rankings.

Delusions of Safety: Getting to grips with today’s growing cyber-threat

“Delusions of Safety – The Cyber Savvy CEO: Getting to grips with today’s growing cyber-threats” video addresses a serious cyber security issue, using a fictitious scenario.
It illustrates why leadership by a CEO who truly understands the risks and opportunities of the cyber world, will be a defining characteristic of those organisations, whether public or private sector, and will realize the benefits most effectively.

This video can be used as supporting material for a Crisis Management exercise or Security Awareness program.

Interview with Stephen A. Elop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia

You may find below the interview with Stephen Elop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia conducted as part of PwC’s 16th Annual Global CEO Survey. In this video, Stephen shares his insights on technology as a driver for growth, Nokia’s corporate culture, and planning for disruptive events.

How does the books market look like?

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

Europe’s challenge from a publishing perspective is that it consists mainly of small markets that lack the volume of readers and investment needed to build expensive pan-European eBook platforms and apps that can compete with Amazon and Kobo. Spanish is the only European language apart from English that has a big reach outside its country of origin. This means that most publishers are confined to selling books within their own borders.

The European Commission, which is driving the harmonisation of EU business markets, has become so alarmed by the lack of integration between European publishers that it has issued a ‘books without frontiers’ declaration, arguing that there should be no national barriers to buying eBooks. The Commission has also proposed a neutral value-added-tax regime for books (in the UK, printed book sales are VAT-free, but eBooks are charged at the highest VAT rate of 20%).

The Commission has called for open standards: at present, eReaders such as Amazon’s Kindle use digital-rights-management software to keep readers within its ‘walled garden’. Brussels wants any book bought to be transferable between devices.

According to a PwC study launched today, Western Europe’s eBook market is fragmented along national lines and struggles to make up 6% of the total book market in 2012.

Market shares for eBooks fluctuate between countries where they have taken hold, such as the Netherlands (5% of all books sold) and Spain (4%), and territories such as Germany, Europe’s biggest single market, where eBooks have only a 3% share. Norway has the highest share with a 20% market share.

So, what figures are we talking about?

The study shows that the market for consumer and educational books in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) generated revenues of US$37.4bn in 2012, down from revenue of US$38.1bn in 2008. Revenue is forecast to be flat between 2012 and 2017, totalling US$37.0bn in 2017.

EMEA is the largest region for sales of consumer and educational books. Germany is the biggest individual territory, accounting for nearly 25% of all books sold and posting revenue of US$8.9bn in 2012. EBooks is expected to account for 17% of all sales in the region in 2017, up from 5% in 2012. Consumer eBooks may show the most growth, with revenue rising by a CAGR of 28.2% to US$5.0bn in 2017.

Educational books will continue to account for over 30% of the market in the next five years. The sector is expected to grow by a CAGR of 0.2% to be worth US$11.4bn in 2017, compared with US$11.3bn in 2012. Sales of printed educational books, though, could fall by a CAGR of 1.3%, to US$10.2bn, in five years.

For more details see the Global entertainment and media outlook: 2013-2017