How to Rewire the Organization for the Internet of Things

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Success in the IoT requires new levels of speed, agility, and flexibility, not just from the systems delivering IoT services but also from the people charged with making those services happen.

Hyperconnectivity, the concept synonymous with the Internet of Things (IoT), is the emerging face of IT in which applications, machine-based sensors, and high-speed networks merge to create constantly updated streams of data. Hyperconnectivity can enable new business processes and services and help companies make better day-to-day decisions. In a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 6 of 10 CIOs said that not being able to adapt for hyperconnectivity is a “grave risk” to
their business.

IoT_Isbel_QA02IoT technologies are beginning to drive new competitive advantage by helping consumers manage their lives (Amazon Echo), save money (Ôasys water usage monitoring), and secure their homes (August Smart Lock). The IoT also has the potential to save lives. In healthcare, this means streaming data from patient monitoring devices to keep caregivers informed of critical indicators or preventing equipment failures in the ER. In manufacturing, the IoT helps drive down the cost of production through real-time alerts on the shop floor that indicate machine issues and automatically correct problems. That means lower costs for consumers.

Several experts from the IT world share their ideas on the challenges and opportunities in this rapidly expanding sector.

qa_qWhere are the most exciting and viable opportunities right now for companies looking into IoT strategies to drive their business?

Mike Kavis: The best use case is optimizing manufacturing by knowing immediately what machines or parts need maintenance, which can improve quality and achieve faster time to market. Agriculture is all over this as well. Farms are looking at how they can collect information about the environment to optimize yield. Even insurance companies are getting more information about their customers and delivering custom solutions. Pricing is related to risk, and in the past that has been linked to demographics. If you are a teenager, you are automatically deemed a higher risk, but now providers can tap into usage data on how the vehicle is being driven and give you a lower rate if you present a lower risk. That can be a competitive advantage.

Dinesh Sharma: Let me give you an example from mining. If you have sensored power tools and you have a full real-time view of your assets, you can position them in the appropriate places. Wearable technology lets you know where the people who might need these tools are, which then enables more efficient use of your assets. The mine is more efficient, which means reduced costs, and that ultimately results in a margin advantage over your competition. Over time, the competitive advantage will build and there will be more money to invest in further digital transformation capabilities. Meanwhile, other mining companies that aren’t investing in these technologies fall further behind.

qa_qWith the IoT, how should CIOs and other executives think and act differently?

Martha Heller: The points of connection between IT and the business should be as strategic and consultative as possible. For example, the folks from IT who work directly with R&D, marketing, and data scientists should be unencumbered with issues such as network reliability, help desk issues, and application support. Their job is to be a business leader and to focus on innovative ideas, not to worry for an instant about “Oh your e-mail isn’t working?” There’s also obviously the need for speed and agility. We’ve got to find a way to transform a business idea into something that the businessperson can touch and feel as quickly as possible.

Greg Kahn: Companies are realizing that they need to partner with others to move the IoT promise forward. It’s not feasible that one company can create an entire ecosystem on their own. After all, a consumer might own a Dell laptop, a Samsung TV, an Apple watch, a Nest device, an August Smart Lock, and a Whirlpool refrigerator.

It is highly unrealistic to think that consumers will exchange all of their electronic equipment and appliances for new “connected devices.” They are more likely to accept bridge solutions (such as what Amazon is offering with its Dash Replenishment Service and Echo) that supplement existing products. CIOs and other C-suite executives will need to embrace partnerships boldly and spend considerable time strategizing with like-minded individuals at other companies. They should also consider setting up internal venture arms or accelerators as a way to develop new solutions to challenges that the IoT will bring.

qa_qWhat is the emerging technology strategy for effectively enabling the IoT?

Kavis: IT organizations are still torn between DIY cloud and public cloud, yet with the IoT and the petabytes of data being produced, it changes the thinking. Is it really economical to build this on your own when you can get the storage for pennies in the cloud? The IoT also requires a different architecture that is highly distributed, can process high volumes of data, and has high availability to manage real-time data streaming.

On-premise systems aren’t really made for these challenges, whereas the public cloud is built for autoscaling. The hardest part is connecting all the sensors and securing them. Cloud providers, however, are bringing to market IoT platforms that connect the sensors to the cloud infrastructure, so developers can start creating business logic and applications on top of the data. Vendors are taking care of the IT plumbing of getting data into the systems and handling all that complexity so the CIO doesn’t need to be the expert.

Kahn: All organizations, regardless of whether they outsource data storage and analysis or keep it in house, need to be ready for the influx of information that’s going to be generated by IoT devices. It is an order of magnitude greater than what we see today. Those that can quickly leverage that data to improve operational efficiency, and consumer engagement will win.

Sharma: The future is going to be characterized by machine interactions with core business systems instead of by human interactions. Having a platform that understands what’s going on inside a store – the traffic near certain products together with point-of-sale data – means we can observe when there’s been a lot of traffic but the product’s just not selling. Or if we can see that certain products are selling well, we can feed that data directly into our supply chain. So without any human interaction, when we start to see changes in buying behavior we can update our predictive models. And if we see traffic increasing in another part of the store in a similar pattern we can refine the algorithm. We can automatically increase supply of the product that’s in the other part of the store. The concept of a core system that runs your process and workflow for your business but is hyperconnected will be essential in the future.

qa_qPrivacy and security are a few of the top concerns with hyperconnectivity. Are there any useful approaches yet?

IoT_Isbel_QA03Kavis: We have a lot less control over what is coming into companies from all these devices, which is creating many more openings for hackers to get inside an organization. There will be specialized security platforms and services to address this, and hardware companies are putting security on sensors in the field. The IoT offers great opportunities for security experts wanting to specialize in this area.

Kahn: The privacy and security issues are not going to be solved anytime soon. Firms will have to learn how to continually develop new defense mechanisms to thwart cyber threats. We’ve seen that play out in the United States. In the past two years, data breaches have occurred at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The brick-and-mortar retail industry responded with a new encryption device: the chip card payment reader. I believe it will become a cost of business going forward to continually create new encryption capabilities. I have two immediate suggestions for companies: (1) develop multifactor authentication to limit the threat of cyber attacks, and (2) put protocols in place whereby you can shut down portions of systems quickly if breaches do occur, thereby protecting as much data as possible.

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Highest ROI in e-commerce? Email remarketing and retargeted ads

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Digital marketers know they must measure and optimize all of their efforts, with the goal of increasing sales. They must also be able to prove a positive return on their investments. That said, digital marketers are constantly on the hunt for the latest technologies to help with both.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails Report Highest ROI

The highest ROI reported is from shopping cart abandonment emails. This shouldn’t be a surprise — 72 percent of site visitors that place items into an online shopping cart don’t make the purchase. Since they did almost purchase, cart abandoners are now your best prospects. And, a sequence of carefully timed emails will recover between 10-30 percent of them.

It’s these types of recovery rates that propel shopping cart abandonment emails to the top. They generate millions in incremental revenue for only a small effort and cost.

Retargeted Ads Complement Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

The second most successful technique is retargeted advertising, a fantastic complement to shopping cart abandonment emails. Retargeted advertising works in a similar way, by nudging visitors to return to a website after they have left. And while retargeted advertising works across the entire funnel — from landing to purchase — the biggest opportunities lie where there is some level of intent to purchase, such as browsing category and product pages.

While the two techniques deliver a high ROI, they are definitely not the same. For example, brands using SeeWhy’s Conversion Manager to engage their shopping cart recovery emails average a 46 percent open rate and 15 percent click-through rate. Retargeted ads, by comparison, average a 0.3 percent click-through rate.

See the difference?

The real power comes when you combine the two techniques together — using retargeted advertising when no email address has been captured and email remarketing when it has.

Don’t “Set ‘Em and Forget ‘Em”

To achieve the highest possible ROI combining cart abandonment emails with retargeted advertising, you should plan to test and tune your campaigns. It’s dangerous to go live with your new campaign and then ‘set it and forget it.’ Testing and tuning your campaign can double or triple your revenues. SeeWhy tracks more than $1B in Gross Market Value ecommerce revenues annually and analyzes this data to understand what factors have the biggest impact on conversion.

A SeeWhy study of more than 650,000 individual ecommerce transactions last year concluded that the optimal time for remarketing is immediately following abandonment. Of those visitors that don’t buy, 72 percent will return and purchase within the first 12 hours.

So timing is one of the critical factors; waiting 24 hours or more means that you’re missing at least 3 out of 4 of your opportunities to drive conversions. For example, a shopping cart recovery email campaign sent by Brand A 24 hours after abandonment may be its top performing campaign. But this campaign delivers half the return of Brand B’s equivalent campaign which is real time.

Scores of new technologies and techniques will clamor for your attention, making bold claims about their ROI and conversion. But if they aren’t capable of combining shopping cart abandonment emails and retargeted ads, the two biggest ROI drivers in the industry, then they aren’t worth your time.

@JovieSylvia @ITChamps_SAP

Take a look at our website: www.itchamps.com

Hosting SAP On-premise Solutions in your ‘Private Cloud’

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Partner managed cloud takes the private cloud and application management one step further and enables our customer to use the traditional on-premise SAP solutions through their private cloud on a subscription basis.

Providing customers all the benefits of a cloud consumption model –

  • Pay as you go economics
  • Rapid time-to-value
  • Low total cost of ownership
  • Scalability and flexibility in deployment

These features are coupled with fully managed, enterprise-class SAP solutions that traditionally were only available on premise.

ITChamps, who are trusted SAP partners will be the One Stop Shop for this service and will provide customers get the high end solution they want without having to incur capital expenditure.

How SAP’s Partner Managed Cloud (PMC) works ?

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Partner Managed Cloud enables savings of 30% over a 5-year TCO lifecycle

Primary drivers for the TCO reduction are the combined result of key SAP’s Partner Managed Cloud (PMC) components:

Economies of scale from Cloud-based infrastructure

  • Scalability–increase/decrease system usage on demand without wasted or underutilized systems for backup, development, and Quality Assurance
  • Flexibility–business process changes can quickly be reflected in IT infrastructure
  • Speed–Fast deployment and provisioning speeds time to value and lowers wait time, improving productivity

Lower costs from application management services

  • Pooled Resources –Expertise is spread across multiple customers, thereby making it cheaper on a per customer basis than if customers staffed dedicated SAP resources
  • Automation / Standardization –Combines automated processes for provisioning, management and monitoring with virtualization across customers, along with standardized packages for implementation, upgrades, and patches

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Based on TCO bench-marking data for over 4,200 SAP customer deployments

Click To Know More from Our Experts

Good Advice on Giving Good Speeches

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Longtime readers of my blog know I find ideas for blogs everywhere, from psychology experiments to work events to the origin of words and phrases. Lately, however, books have become my primary source of inspiration. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to have multiple blog ideas after reading a book.

That was the case when I read Seymour Schulich’s Get Smarter: Life and Business Lessons. Earlier this year, in How to Make Better Decisions I blogged about a simple, but practical, extension to the traditional two-column pro/con decision list. But there’s much more in the book that’s blog-worthy. For example, Schulich provides good advice on giving good speeches:

  • Be brief
  • Try to communicate one main idea
  • Create a surprise
  • Use humour
  • Slow it down
  • Use cue cards and look up often
  • Self-praise is no honour
  • Never speak before the main dinner course is served
  • Reuse good material
  • Use positive body language

Most of this advice is self-explanatory, except the self-praise line. Schulich means you should never introduce yourself; instead get someone to tell the audience why you’re important. That way they’re more likely to pay attention to you.

Considering the digital age we live in, Schulich is not really advocating we present using cue cards. Instead his goal is to ensure presenters don’t read speeches and get out from behind the podium. This forces us to give up our safety nets and increases the likelihood we connect with the audience.

While you can’t always control when you present, it’s important to recognize the most difficult slot is right before meals. No matter how good a presenter you are, remember the old adage:

Never get between people and their food.

Any presentation tips you want to add?

What is Going to be the future of Documents?

Remember when closing an agreement meant that your team had to go through each page of a paper contract with a client, have them initial or sign by hand, then scan and email it back and forth? Thanks to the emergence of e-signature software, those days are gone.

E-signatures are already having a direct impact on the productivity of companies in a variety of ways. In fact, back in 2013, Ombud Research surveyed United Healthcare and found adopting a paperless e-signature process saved the company more than $1 million in administration costs. The provider-contract turnaround was also significantly reduced, going from an average of 32.5 days to only 2.

Others are seeing benefits, too. Salesforce declared in its annual 2014 report an average savings of $20 per document after implementing electronic signing.

As more businesses realize the benefits of document automation technology, adoption rates will grow, furthering development. Business leaders who don’t adopt this technology soon will be left behind with an outdated process that impedes growth.

To keep up, here’s what’s ahead in document automation:

1. E-signatures will become fully commoditized.

Since the passing of the Electronic Signatures In Global And National Commerce (ESIGN) Act in 2000, signing all agreements on paper is no longer necessary. Electronic signatures for e-commerce agreements are legally binding and protected by the same rights as ink on paper. E-signatures are already increasing in popularity because of their convenience, and in a few years, they will be widely accepted as a transactional commodity.

As adoption grows, the demands for functionality in e-sign tools will grow, too. Signing will move beyond even some of today’s e-signature software features, like uploading a saved image of your personal signature or converting your typed name to script. Eventually, signing won’t require any typing. You’ll be able to sign with a voice command.

2. The use of enterprise automation platforms will expand.

Research from Raab Associates predicted revenue from B2B marketing automation would grow 60 percent last year, reaching $1.2 billion. The adoption of enterprise automation platforms will continue to increase as more companies experience the benefits: faster sales cycles and streamlined collaboration.

In fact, 58 percent of top-performing companies — or those where marketing contributes more than half of the sales pipeline — have already adopted marketing automation, according to a 2014 Forrester report. As marketing automation grows, businesses will be able to process more documents quickly, enabling growth.

B2B growth affects the document landscape, too. Sales is most innovative and efficient when it comes to adopting new technology. In fact, high-performing sales teams are the first to embrace new tech tools to streamline the sales process, with 44 percent using offer management tools, according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Sales Report.

The rate at which sales grows will serve as a predictor of overall growth.

3. Document assembly will be entirely cloud-based.

Today, most sales documents are created and stored locally, either in PDFs or word processing programs. Creating and storing content in the cloud is a relatively new practice for many companies, but with the increased need to be always connected we’ll see a shift to cloud-based content, which can be accessed from any computer or mobile device.

Cloud-based office suites like Google Docs will be standard, almost entirely replacing word processing software. Compatibility will no longer be an issue, as it was with different versions of word processing documents, which will completely alter the day-to-day experience of people who work with documents. The ability to share and edit documents instantly will support tight deadlines and increase expectations for productivity.

4. Integrations will make projects seamless.

Bringing together data from separate systems that don’t otherwise talk to one another results in one complete view of the entire process. Several CRM integrations have already been developed among various document creation and storage platforms to import and keep track of customer data seamlessly.

Open API will continue to provide a vehicle for people to access and share data regardless of where or how it is stored. Extra steps of printing, signing, and scanning will be completely eliminated.

5. Processing and payment will be instant.

With the increased demand for integrations, there will be no need to upload documents into any system for approvals, payment processing, and storage; cloud-based app integrations will take care of that. Not only will it enable instant credit card transactions, but management approval will be simplified through automated requests managers can view and approve anywhere via mobile device.

Payments will be processed instantly within the document itself through integration with tools like Square andPayPal. Eventually, with the rise of virtual currencies like Bitcoin, smart documents will be able to accept payments, completely cutting out the middleman.

Once documents are processed, they’ll be automatically saved and uploaded right into the integrated cloud storage system of your choice. With a few keywords in the search bar, anyone from the team will be able to pull transaction and approval records immediately.

Even if you’re already using a document automation platform, think about areas of opportunity you could be missing. Many of the features that will be the norm in a couple of years are already available; they’re just not yet widely used. Look at how making some simple changes now might give your organization a head start on better sales efficiency.

What are some other changes you expect to see coming from document automation and e-signature software in the next few years?