Stephen Chadwick, managing director EuroNorth, Dassault Systèmes, looks at the business value of hyperconnectivity and offers some guidance on its deployment to achieve sustainable enterprise-wide innovation.
An abundance of mobile devices, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled businesses to transform themselves and their customer’s experiences on the cloud. Companies, organisations and communities can now collaborate, innovate and develop new relationships that deal with challenges and develop new business and social models. Understanding hyperconnectivity is the first precept to taking the right actions to capitalise on the business benefits that it offers.
Moving to Cloud
Hyperconnectivity offers companies competitive advantage by linking all parts of the value chain. The result is a world in which physical assets have become unnecessary for some of the most successful hyperconnected businesses. For example, Uber owns no cars but is the world’s largest ride-for-hire company while Airbnb has become the world’s largest accommodation provider – without owning any rooms.
Companies today are faced with the challenge of a complex and ultracompetitive global market. Strong competition from emerging economies coupled with increasing costs of innovation make product and brand differentiation a challenge. For these companies to thrive globally they need to speed up internal decision making throughout their value chains because it allows them to better respond to market demands with more innovative products.
At Dassault Systèmes we see that one of the compelling benefits of the cloud is that it serves as an integration backbone for enterprise collaboration allowing data to be exchanged at any time and from anywhere using any smart device. This enables more confident decision-making based on accurate and current data which in turn efficiently drives innovation within a networked and connected enterprise.
To accelerate the move to sustainable innovation and more efficient business practices companies need to think strategically, not project by project. This is because everybody within and beyond the enterprise needs to be included through data access rather than creating islands and silos of data that are not or cannot be universally shared.
Companies must be willing to replace current systems and processes in order to use data in better ways. And companies that do use big data have been found to generate higher revenues that those that do not, often through developing entirely new revenue streams based on the data that they hold.
Further business value can be derived from cloud-based connectivity because it facilitates information availability on any device. This means it can be easily shared among team members, partners, suppliers and customers. Organisations can become more agile because new team members have instant access to the platform with no requirement for IT skills.
Many of the companies that we work with capitalise on digital data to become market disruptors. This is achieved by rethinking the business model around data rather than current procedures. By developing a portfolio of options that look long term at the commercial landscape, companies can build networks of partners and customers that interact to create mutual value. This involves aligning the value chain towards common goals so that new opportunities to address and enhance market demands and experiences can develop.
Successful hyperconnectivity depends on technology, people, process and companies that promote speed, risk taking and experimentation based on all the company’s knowledge, and that of its ecosystem, rather than a subset that does not reveal the complete picture.
Is it Safe?
For many companies, security concerns are a significant barrier to hyperconnectivity through the cloud. They believe that on premise data is more secure than hosting on the cloud. However, evidence shows that the opposite is true and that professionally managed cloud data is safer because according to industry followers around 43% of security breaches come from within organisations. The technology deployed by cloud hosting companies that governs data access is as robust as any achievable on premise. This means that hackers on the outside will face state of the art security, and those on the inside are likely to be discovered immediately.
While security is a constant threat to all enterprises, version control and change management are crucial for product designers and manufacturers. Expensive errors and wasted effort occur when people are working on wrong or non-current data sets. When the constraints of using numerous data sources are removed and all data is integrated, current, and its usage tracked, there is only one version of the truth and it becomes impossible to access or use the wrong data.
Because companies that deploy hyperconnectivity on the cloud are able to engage directly with their customers via social networks, business models are changing fast. To accommodate this move, old systems are being replaced with a unified platform on which to operate any business paradigm. Because no-one can accurately predict the future or know what businesses will look like in years to come the platform must be future proofed. In the case of Dassault Systèmes customers this is achieved by deploying a platform that, rather than restricting data access, allows it to become a useable, useful and profitable business asset irrespective of how it is accessed. The only route to this level of business innovation is to adopt unified cloud hosting to reveal and release the sustainable business benefits of hyperconnectivity.