IBM's blueprint for a smarter business

Matt Candy, IBM (Brian Ngobese)

You have to digitally reinvent yourself otherwise your business stagnates.

“What is good for customers is good for business,” said Matt Candy, GM and global leader IBM iX, “which is why companies are not just simply offering products; they are also creating digital experiences that link the relevant product to the specific customer in both a personalised and responsive manner.”

Cognitive enterprise

The goal, Candy told his audience at the IBM Think 2019 summit in Johannesburg recently, is to become a smart business or cognitive enterprise, where organisations not only meet customer needs, but exceed their expectations.  

“Over the past decade we moved into the world of digital business as the internet transformed the way we connect with customers. But now there’s a new journey beginning which is creating an exciting phase of digital reinvention, with organisations building a business platform based on the data they have from customers.

“In achieving this, business will not only collect data, which they are good at doing, but will need to learn how to interpret the data, using it to make informed, intelligent business decisions.”

This, he added, will create a picture of what the architecture for the cognitive enterprise will look like, as the latter brings a layer of understanding to the data.

Next generation

Supported by the next generation set of enterprise applications, organisations will now have to start thinking about the micro-service layers it needs to wrap around its legacy applications. “Here we start thinking about cloud native applications in supporting the building of new products and services, along with the sales and marketing processes underpinned in a secure, hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure.”

According to Candy, this is fuelled by data, as organisations create value in bringing consumers and producers together, shifting from simply providing goods to also providing services linked with these products.

Citing John Deere as an example, Candy says the company no longer just sells farming machinery; it’s now also a software company that's created an ecosystem of products to assist the farmer in gaining insights into how they can manage their farms more productively. “Through its software it can inform the farmer on the right combination of seed and fertiliser when planting, to real time weather data and even advising farmers when to plant in order to improve their crop yields. It’s about developing new ways to realise and monetise value.”

“This is the shape and vision for the smart business, the cognitive enterprise of tomorrow, which is now becoming embedded in the products, giving customers the information they need before they realise they actually need it.”

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