Information technology - Key catalyst for new age businesses

By Ankur Sambhar, VP, J.P. Morgan

In the age of Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, Whatsapp, etc., we often forget to realize that the digital world that is offered to us is propelled by sophisticated technology solutions underneath.

The way the new age businesses have brought a difference in our life is so significant that at times it is tough to imagine how we were achieving the same thing couple of years back. It has provided so much power and choice to the user to have the complete control of what they want, when they want and how they want.

The new age businesses are fundamentally different from ground up. The ecosystem in which they operate is so competitive that they always need to keep experimenting something new. It’s not only how novel the new offering is but the critical part is how soon it can be taken to market to get it validated through real consumers. Based on the feedback, the next iteration can be improvised accordingly. With the information technology sitting at the heart of each business, it’s much easier to achieve with business now than ever before. Even the cost of experimentation is so low that the businesses can freely keep experimenting to find innovative solutions. The quick ability to change the offering based on the feedback allows the businesses to keep experimenting.

Multiple dimensions of information technol­ogy touches our life in so many ways that at times we cannot even realize what is really driving the change that affects us so much. Be it banking, retail, automobile, travel, education, etc., each sector's in­novative approach is the outcome of the technology sitting underneath.

We do not even remember when the last time we had visited the bank branch. All thanks to online/mobile banking and ATMs to mention few new interfaces to carry out banking transactions.

With the advent of ecommerce, anything and everything can be ordered and delivered to your doorstep at a click of a button. Now, it’s as per our convenience and need, we can deal with businesses. They understand the demanding needs of the current times and try to unclutter it with innovative solutions.

The World is truly a global village offering var­ious opportunities to each one to collaborate and build a better future. With travel made so easy and fast, no distance feels too far. It al­lows the businesses to have global footprint while maintaining the same values and tapping the global potential. Em­ployees across the globe are so far more connected and can contribute far more effectively towards the common goal. With ad­vancements in telecom­munication, connec­tivity across the globe has changed dramati­cally. In the era of Facebook, Whatsapp, twitter, we never feel disconnected and have the power to reach to anyone anytime. It has also empow­ered the people to share the views and get heard.

As an individual, technology advancement has touched our lives so significantly that we don’t even realize that a lot of mundane tasks just vanished from our list and taken care of automatically. It is certainly allowing humans to rise the value chain. Anything that can be automated allows the humans to contribute to more meaningful causes. We are making our systems more intelligent so that they can do the decision making.

Businesses are leveraging the technology for precise decision making based on the enormous data. It is allowing the businesses to predict what user needs and when. Accordingly, the offerings are tailored to meet the user demand. It allows having a more targeted approach.

The new age business needs to make sure they are always-on and are accessible from across the globe. With the easy accessibility, they need to make sure they are able to cater various geographies. The new age users believe in self-service experience which allows them to have the complete control of offerings. What it means is each offering should be self-describing and intuitive enough for end users.

With all the advancements of the information technology and the tight coupling of it with each business, it also poses multiple challenges. With all the user data and transactions happening online, businesses need to make sure the data is not compromised and the systems are resilient enough to support always-on model. But that’s a very small price to pay in comparison to what the benefits it brings to the table.

The latest technology development is going to add another dimension to the businesses. Mobile technology has already added a very strong channel for businesses to reach out to users. Virtual and Augmented reality (VR/AR) will allow the users to experience the product/ offerings in altogether a different way. Another key development is in building the ecosystem of smart devices leveraging IoT (Internet of Things). This allows businesses to capture data using smart devices and provide personalized offerings to the customer proactively. Leveraging the machine learning (ML), the captured data is used by the systems to analyze the customer behavior well and to build the intelligence in the systems to respond accordingly.

Looking at the technology advancement and the benefits it is bringing to businesses, one thing is for sure, the pace of technology innovation is just going to increase. Businesses need to understand it and be prepared to embrace those changes to their benefit. Irrespective of the size of business, each one needs to be agile and nimble to adapt a new disruptive innovation which is the only way forward!

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