The Weakest Link In Making History Again

05 Aug 2015
  • To transform, enterprise leaders must first script their company's digital strategy, and a key point is identifying the main stakeholders in the Enterprise Smart Transformation process, says Priyadarshi Mohapatra
Ten thousand years ago, we learned the secrets of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques, paving the era of new habitats for human beings in groups of houses and hence the creation of villages. With food surplus, people turned to other specialized trades which led to the creation of cities. Fast forward to the mid 1700s and the industrial revolution had just started; it changed cities to the way we know them today. The need to evolve cities' infrastructure and create public services such as police, fire and sanitation departments arose. Road networks were built, electricity distribution became the norm, and other "modern" municipal services started to appear due to the rise in urbanization.

In 2008, the UN's Economic and Social Council Ambassador Leo Merores, said in public forum in Bahrain that "for the first time in history the urban population will equal the rural population of the world and, from then on, the world population will be urban in its majority". This inflection point turned the attention of analysts to "slum" prevention and environmental sustainability. John Wilmoth, Director of UN DESA's Population Division thinks that "Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century", and that building sustainable cities is a key success factor in urban planning.

The history of the creation of cities, and developing its services as we know them today, is intriguing; but what's exciting is that we are now part of the third major milestone in cities' evolution, making history as it happens, a natural response to the increased urbanization, a paradigm shift in the way humans live their lives, it is the creation of "Smart Cities".During his last visit to India, Mr. Kevin Kennedy, President & Chief Executive Officer of Avaya, addressed India's CXO community recently and said that India is undergoing a digital transformation, and ensuring last mile connectivity in a country with population of more than 1.7 billion people is a humongous task. It's a large scale transformation which not only requires support from the government and its initiatives, but also from every individual and organization, to make this transformation a success.

Empowering a city technologically is not a new concept, but to earn the label "Smart City" is much more than just upgrading the city's ICT infrastructure. Wise leaders are looking at the bigger picture, setting goals to improve the efficiency of their city's services, with the purpose of offering quality and equal lifestyle for the city's citizens, and to drive economic growth.

But who owns the "Smart City"? NO one, and EVERYONE! It is true that governments are producing digital strategies for their Smart City transformation, but what about the city's enterprises? Would a city be smart if its citizens don't have capable smart phones? or if the service providers do not have the performing city wide infrastructure? or real estate firms don't  integrate technologies into their newly built buildings, or retrofitted their existing buildings with sensors and smart connected equipment?or if there is no demand for smart and connected home appliances? orif schools don't adopt a digital connected educational platforms? orif Banks, health care institutions, safety and security departments don't go that route also? A Smart City is like the Internet, every content, website, service provider and end user's home network is part of building and maintaining it.

While IoT (Internet of Things), social, mobility and cloud are the tools to enable a Smart City; the world of smart has three main building blocks: Smart Governments, Smart Enterprises and Smart Citizens. If one of those is not ready, then the city's transformation is not complete. What most visionary politicians and civic leaders have achieved in the smart space is very ambitious and daring to say the least, and the journey continues. However, enterprises must follow and should do that quickly for long-term survival: the enterprisereadiness for Smart is an essential building block in the formation of the Smart City, without which the smart ecosystem will not be complete and will never deliver on its promises.

To transform, enterprise leaders must first script their company's digital strategy, and a key point is identifying the main stakeholders in the Enterprise Smart Transformation process: employees and customers. The slow adoption of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies and mechanisms as well as the old communication platforms have inevitably led to increased shadow IT (enterprise employees getting IT solutions without the IT department's consent). An Infinite Computer Solutions survey (a publicly listed IT services company) found out that almost "70% of companies are concerned about employees using third-party messaging and chat apps to communicate and send documents internally" and that "59% believe that currently available third-party messaging tools are insecure for enterprise communication". On the other hand, a research done by IDC (a market research company) revealed that "Enterprise Mobility is the number one technology area of implementation for middle east CIOs (Chief Information Officers) in 2015, while cloud has been at the center of CIO discussions for the past few years". A solid digital strategy must include mobility, communication and collaboration as key elements for employee to employee, enterprise to employee and employee to customer relationship platform.

While the first key stakeholder in the Enterprise Smart Transformation is the employee, the equally important stakeholder is the customer. If employees are not engaged, enjoying their work and collaborating efficiently, chances are even if you have the best smart channels, customers willnot have the experience they expect, so priorities must be set right from the beginning.

Customers nowadays know about an enterprise's products and services more than ever, and expect to find these throughoutall contemporary channels; including social, web, mobile, video, chat as well as the legacy telephony channels and more.Other recent technologies that leverage the mobile and wireless world (for example: beacons) are bringing customers even closer, more than ever, to the enterprise. A company's digital strategy will reinforce the customer experience journey in all of its digital channels, engaging the enterprise's customers; contributing to the overall happiness of the citizens.

Adopting open standards as opposed to proprietary is the key, to allow for agile integration between different solutions while protectingearlier investments. Security is a big concern: if not managed and factored in well in advance, because if not, then consequences can be disastrous. But above all, the belief of the importance in the place of the enterprise as a major building block in the Smart City vision is what will drive the Enterprise Smart Transformation.

By simply enabling new technologies alone, however sophisticated or solid, will never transform an enterprise into being Smart. Smart is a cultural capability, adopted by the enterprise leaders, whose main responsibility in their company's smart transformation is breaking the silos. Enterprise Smart Transformation must be built on the concept of adapting to agility, serendipity and employee's sociability.

Being part of the third milestone in the history of city development can be taken for granted by many,but only those who embrace it, lead it and become part of it will always be remember. At this point in time in the human history, citizens and governments have made their choice, and enterprises should not be left out and become the weakest link.Smart cities can provide benefits to all, only if created by all.  Remember, if we think about technology alone, technology often fails, and Murphy's Law will hit hard. - See more at: http://www.businessworld.in/companies-markets-construction/weakest-link-making-history-again#sthash.LeJA5Ddk.IWkX258a.dpuf
Ten thousand years ago, we learned the secrets of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques, paving the era of new habitats for human beings in groups of houses and hence the creation of villages. With food surplus, people turned to other specialized trades which led to the creation of cities. Fast forward to the mid 1700s and the industrial revolution had just started; it changed cities to the way we know them today. The need to evolve cities' infrastructure and create public services such as police, fire and sanitation departments arose. Road networks were built, electricity distribution became the norm, and other "modern" municipal services started to appear due to the rise in urbanization.

In 2008, the UN's Economic and Social Council Ambassador Leo Merores, said in public forum in Bahrain that "for the first time in history the urban population will equal the rural population of the world and, from then on, the world population will be urban in its majority". This inflection point turned the attention of analysts to "slum" prevention and environmental sustainability. John Wilmoth, Director of UN DESA's Population Division thinks that "Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century", and that building sustainable cities is a key success factor in urban planning.

The history of the creation of cities, and developing its services as we know them today, is intriguing; but what's exciting is that we are now part of the third major milestone in cities' evolution, making history as it happens, a natural response to the increased urbanization, a paradigm shift in the way humans live their lives, it is the creation of "Smart Cities".During his last visit to India, Mr. Kevin Kennedy, President & Chief Executive Officer of Avaya, addressed India's CXO community recently and said that India is undergoing a digital transformation, and ensuring last mile connectivity in a country with population of more than 1.7 billion people is a humongous task. It's a large scale transformation which not only requires support from the government and its initiatives, but also from every individual and organization, to make this transformation a success.

Empowering a city technologically is not a new concept, but to earn the label "Smart City" is much more than just upgrading the city's ICT infrastructure. Wise leaders are looking at the bigger picture, setting goals to improve the efficiency of their city's services, with the purpose of offering quality and equal lifestyle for the city's citizens, and to drive economic growth.

But who owns the "Smart City"? NO one, and EVERYONE! It is true that governments are producing digital strategies for their Smart City transformation, but what about the city's enterprises? Would a city be smart if its citizens don't have capable smart phones? or if the service providers do not have the performing city wide infrastructure? or real estate firms don't  integrate technologies into their newly built buildings, or retrofitted their existing buildings with sensors and smart connected equipment?or if there is no demand for smart and connected home appliances? orif schools don't adopt a digital connected educational platforms? orif Banks, health care institutions, safety and security departments don't go that route also? A Smart City is like the Internet, every content, website, service provider and end user's home network is part of building and maintaining it.

While IoT (Internet of Things), social, mobility and cloud are the tools to enable a Smart City; the world of smart has three main building blocks: Smart Governments, Smart Enterprises and Smart Citizens. If one of those is not ready, then the city's transformation is not complete. What most visionary politicians and civic leaders have achieved in the smart space is very ambitious and daring to say the least, and the journey continues. However, enterprises must follow and should do that quickly for long-term survival: the enterprisereadiness for Smart is an essential building block in the formation of the Smart City, without which the smart ecosystem will not be complete and will never deliver on its promises.

To transform, enterprise leaders must first script their company's digital strategy, and a key point is identifying the main stakeholders in the Enterprise Smart Transformation process: employees and customers. The slow adoption of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies and mechanisms as well as the old communication platforms have inevitably led to increased shadow IT (enterprise employees getting IT solutions without the IT department's consent). An Infinite Computer Solutions survey (a publicly listed IT services company) found out that almost "70% of companies are concerned about employees using third-party messaging and chat apps to communicate and send documents internally" and that "59% believe that currently available third-party messaging tools are insecure for enterprise communication". On the other hand, a research done by IDC (a market research company) revealed that "Enterprise Mobility is the number one technology area of implementation for middle east CIOs (Chief Information Officers) in 2015, while cloud has been at the center of CIO discussions for the past few years". A solid digital strategy must include mobility, communication and collaboration as key elements for employee to employee, enterprise to employee and employee to customer relationship platform.

While the first key stakeholder in the Enterprise Smart Transformation is the employee, the equally important stakeholder is the customer. If employees are not engaged, enjoying their work and collaborating efficiently, chances are even if you have the best smart channels, customers willnot have the experience they expect, so priorities must be set right from the beginning.

Customers nowadays know about an enterprise's products and services more than ever, and expect to find these throughoutall contemporary channels; including social, web, mobile, video, chat as well as the legacy telephony channels and more.Other recent technologies that leverage the mobile and wireless world (for example: beacons) are bringing customers even closer, more than ever, to the enterprise. A company's digital strategy will reinforce the customer experience journey in all of its digital channels, engaging the enterprise's customers; contributing to the overall happiness of the citizens.

Adopting open standards as opposed to proprietary is the key, to allow for agile integration between different solutions while protectingearlier investments. Security is a big concern: if not managed and factored in well in advance, because if not, then consequences can be disastrous. But above all, the belief of the importance in the place of the enterprise as a major building block in the Smart City vision is what will drive the Enterprise Smart Transformation.

By simply enabling new technologies alone, however sophisticated or solid, will never transform an enterprise into being Smart. Smart is a cultural capability, adopted by the enterprise leaders, whose main responsibility in their company's smart transformation is breaking the silos. Enterprise Smart Transformation must be built on the concept of adapting to agility, serendipity and employee's sociability.

Being part of the third milestone in the history of city development can be taken for granted by many,but only those who embrace it, lead it and become part of it will always be remember. At this point in time in the human history, citizens and governments have made their choice, and enterprises should not be left out and become the weakest link.Smart cities can provide benefits to all, only if created by all.  Remember, if we think about technology alone, technology often fails, and Murphy's Law will hit hard. - See more at: http://www.businessworld.in/companies-markets-construction/weakest-link-making-history-again#sthash.LeJA5Ddk.IWkX258a.dpuf
Ten thousand years ago, we learned the secrets of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques, paving the era of new habitats for human beings in groups of houses and hence the creation of villages. With food surplus, people turned to other specialized trades which led to the creation of cities. Fast forward to the mid 1700s and the industrial revolution had just started; it changed cities to the way we know them today. The need to evolve cities' infrastructure and create public services such as police, fire and sanitation departments arose. Road networks were built, electricity distribution became the norm, and other "modern" municipal services started to appear due to the rise in urbanization.
 
In 2008, the UN's Economic and Social Council Ambassador Leo Merores, said in public forum in Bahrain that "for the first time in history the urban population will equal the rural population of the world and, from then on, the world population will be urban in its majority". This inflection point turned the attention of analysts to "slum" prevention and environmental sustainability. John Wilmoth, Director of UN DESA's Population Division thinks that "Managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century", and that building sustainable cities is a key success factor in urban planning.
 
The history of the creation of cities, and developing its services as we know them today, is intriguing; but what's exciting is that we are now part of the third major milestone in cities' evolution, making history as it happens, a natural response to the increased urbanization, a paradigm shift in the way humans live their lives, it is the creation of "Smart Cities".During his last visit to India, Mr. Kevin Kennedy, President & Chief Executive Officer of Avaya, addressed India's CXO community recently and said that India is undergoing a digital transformation, and ensuring last mile connectivity in a country with population of more than 1.7 billion people is a humongous task. It's a large scale transformation which not only requires support from the government and its initiatives, but also from every individual and organization, to make this transformation a success.
 
Empowering a city technologically is not a new concept, but to earn the label "Smart City" is much more than just upgrading the city's ICT infrastructure. Wise leaders are looking at the bigger picture, setting goals to improve the efficiency of their city's services, with the purpose of offering quality and equal lifestyle for the city's citizens, and to drive economic growth.
 
But who owns the "Smart City"? NO one, and EVERYONE! It is true that governments are producing digital strategies for their Smart City transformation, but what about the city's enterprises? Would a city be smart if its citizens don't have capable smart phones? or if the service providers do not have the performing city wide infrastructure? or real estate firms don't  integrate technologies into their newly built buildings, or retrofitted their existing buildings with sensors and smart connected equipment?or if there is no demand for smart and connected home appliances? orif schools don't adopt a digital connected educational platforms? orif Banks, health care institutions, safety and security departments don't go that route also? A Smart City is like the Internet, every content, website, service provider and end user's home network is part of building and maintaining it.
 
While IoT (Internet of Things), social, mobility and cloud are the tools to enable a Smart City; the world of smart has three main building blocks: Smart Governments, Smart Enterprises and Smart Citizens. If one of those is not ready, then the city's transformation is not complete. What most visionary politicians and civic leaders have achieved in the smart space is very ambitious and daring to say the least, and the journey continues. However, enterprises must follow and should do that quickly for long-term survival: the enterprisereadiness for Smart is an essential building block in the formation of the Smart City, without which the smart ecosystem will not be complete and will never deliver on its promises.
 
To transform, enterprise leaders must first script their company's digital strategy, and a key point is identifying the main stakeholders in the Enterprise Smart Transformation process: employees and customers. The slow adoption of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies and mechanisms as well as the old communication platforms have inevitably led to increased shadow IT (enterprise employees getting IT solutions without the IT department's consent). An Infinite Computer Solutions survey (a publicly listed IT services company) found out that almost "70% of companies are concerned about employees using third-party messaging and chat apps to communicate and send documents internally" and that "59% believe that currently available third-party messaging tools are insecure for enterprise communication". On the other hand, a research done by IDC (a market research company) revealed that "Enterprise Mobility is the number one technology area of implementation for middle east CIOs (Chief Information Officers) in 2015, while cloud has been at the center of CIO discussions for the past few years". A solid digital strategy must include mobility, communication and collaboration as key elements for employee to employee, enterprise to employee and employee to customer relationship platform.
 
While the first key stakeholder in the Enterprise Smart Transformation is the employee, the equally important stakeholder is the customer. If employees are not engaged, enjoying their work and collaborating efficiently, chances are even if you have the best smart channels, customers willnot have the experience they expect, so priorities must be set right from the beginning.
 
Customers nowadays know about an enterprise's products and services more than ever, and expect to find these throughoutall contemporary channels; including social, web, mobile, video, chat as well as the legacy telephony channels and more.Other recent technologies that leverage the mobile and wireless world (for example: beacons) are bringing customers even closer, more than ever, to the enterprise. A company's digital strategy will reinforce the customer experience journey in all of its digital channels, engaging the enterprise's customers; contributing to the overall happiness of the citizens.
 
Adopting open standards as opposed to proprietary is the key, to allow for agile integration between different solutions while protectingearlier investments. Security is a big concern: if not managed and factored in well in advance, because if not, then consequences can be disastrous. But above all, the belief of the importance in the place of the enterprise as a major building block in the Smart City vision is what will drive the Enterprise Smart Transformation.
 
By simply enabling new technologies alone, however sophisticated or solid, will never transform an enterprise into being Smart. Smart is a cultural capability, adopted by the enterprise leaders, whose main responsibility in their company's smart transformation is breaking the silos. Enterprise Smart Transformation must be built on the concept of adapting to agility, serendipity and employee's sociability.
 
Being part of the third milestone in the history of city development can be taken for granted by many,but only those who embrace it, lead it and become part of it will always be remember. At this point in time in the human history, citizens and governments have made their choice, and enterprises should not be left out and become the weakest link.Smart cities can provide benefits to all, only if created by all.  Remember, if we think about technology alone, technology often fails, and Murphy's Law will hit hard.

This article appeared in BusinessWorld on 05 August 2015