Design for Digital #3 – SMAC It Up

Although the drivers of Social, Mobile, Analytics (or ‘Big Data’) and Cloud all have powerful transformation impact themselves, the real breakthroughs are created by bringing them all together. In this powerful melting pot, the drivers amplify each other, creating something much more compelling than the sum of the parts. So whenever you consider a solution in one of these areas, systematically look in the other areas as a default for synergetic inspiration.

There is no doubt that when we consider the technology drivers that currently are an indispensible part of Digital Transformation we always encounter Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud, often put together in the acronym ‘SMAC’. 
And clearly, each of these four drivers create its own benefits:
–  Social is about carefully engaging with social media, managing the company brand and finding entirely new, more effective ways of reaching out to individuals and the communities to which they belong.

–  Mobile is nowadays the first communication channel we think of and rightfully so, as it often provides the best way to connect to customers, business partners and employees.

–  Analytics (or more accurately ‘Big Data’ creates usable insight – and thus business value – from large volumes of structured and unstructured data coming from many different sources and with differing dynamics.

Cloud not only brings cost-effectiveness but, more importantly, high levels of flexibility, scalability and speed to market of high-value solutions.
However, as appealing as all these benefits are, the real power will come from the carefully engineered combination of these trends.
Let’s see what the SMAC effect could look like. If you start to use the geo-localization of your customer smartphones, you may receive a big quantity of information that you have to analyze in real time: after all, you want to react based on the location of your customers, before they leave this location. You thus will have to invest in Big Data technologies to effectively manage this information and also process the volumes through a Cloud solution in order to avoid massive, up-front infrastructural investments. Also, you may want to relate the information you gather about individuals to the social networks they are part of, in order to increase the impact of the customer experience.
Come to think of it, by combining the SMAC drivers as much as possible, you enable your organization to deal with the typical characteristics of Digitally Transformed business: more real-time, usable insight (Analytics), better connected to both the outside and inside world (Social), utilizing all available channels (Mobile) and enabled by IT, rather than constrained by it (Cloud).

– So think and design SMAC right from the beginning of any technology-driven change. Don’t build trend silos or add different technology drivers as an afterthought.

– Make sure your company capabilities in each of the four areas are as much aligned as possible, maybe by bringing them together in one organizational unit or at least by creating a shared governance process.

– Assess your existing portfolio of innovation projects to retrofit it with the full potential of SMAC. See it as a checklist.

– Consider adding SMAC dimensions to your existing (possibly isolated) Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud business cases. Use it as a checklist again. You may find that your business cases will become more compelling to the business, deliver more measurable value and are easier to accept by stakeholders.

Let’s SMAC It Up!

This contibution by André Cichowlas 

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.