What is SMAC, and how is it reshaping the enterprise?

What is SMAC, and how is it reshaping the enterprise?

Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud (or SMAC for short) is the new enterprise IT model that is disrupting the world. It is a genuine game-changer, and the organisations who are riding this wave most confidently are those which are embracing new technologies for future business.

The convergence of Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud will lead business technology for the next decade, and will act as an enabler for the next generation of technological trends. Entire business models and industries are now digitized, and market leaders are information-based, implementing a SMAC stack; an integrated technology platform where the combined components are greater than the sum of their parts. To borrow a slightly tenuous metaphor, if we think about SMAC as a human body: Social is the hands, interacting and sharing; Mobile is the senses, taking in the external environment; Analytics is the brain, and Cloud is the skeleton, the structure that holds it all together.

The customer-induced rise of SMAC

SMAC is driving new levels of productivity for enterprise, but this drive goes hand-in-hand with the rise of the post-digital customer. In this respect, SMAC was and is an inevitability; it almost created itself, the four elements of the layer found each other.

This post-digital customer utilizes technological trends to change the relationship between them and the enterprise, increasing collaboration between external and internal stakeholders. In both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations, buying behaviour has changed irrevocably. And this change is SMAC in a nutshell: Customers process information from a great number of sources to enable more informed purchase decisions; they get their information to purchase, advised by social and shared media, wherever and whenever they need and want it. Analytics and Cloud allow businesses to analyze buying behaviour, tapping into their customers and understanding them better, and as a result can develop products, delivery channels and marketing methods to match this behaviour.
What does an enterprise in the post-digital era look like?

It has a holistic, integrated technology strategy, including: customers, the enterprise ecosystem and channels to cater for evolving demands and behaviour. Effective use of these channels helps to:

• Increase sales by monetising demand
• Increase effectiveness of marketing campaigns
• Enhance product development
• Drive multi-channel commerce
• Strengthen customer engagement

What can enterprises do?
It is an unavoidable fact that, in many cases, IT architecture in the enterprise was built more than 10 years ago, meaning that it is difficult for it to align with the digital age, let alone the post-digital age. However, there are steps that all enterprises can take towards SMAC convergence:
• Make websites, purchase channels and software applications available and fully-optimized for mobile
• Externalise and socialise web and software applications, by integrating them with social networks, and installing social features on them
• Integrate software with machines, devices, smart meters and sensors
• Converge the user data generated from web and software applications to get real-time business intelligence and customer insights; this data can then be analysed to offer specialised and personalised services

The concept of ‘data gravity’ is important, ie. A bigger mass of data, like a planet, attracts things to it: traffic, word of mouth, customers, sales. While there was a case against amassing data in the past due to storage costs, the decline in these costs makes the argument for keeping and analysing lots of data compelling.

And finally…
The organisations that are thriving in terms of post-digital customer engagement are those which offer high insight over high touch. While TV channels, high street stores and dictionaries offer significant information, Netflix, Amazon and Google know what you want to watch, buy and search for almost before you do; they utilise a converged SMAC stack to know and communicate with customers on their own terms, driving their businesses forward.
Achieving business and IT agility through SMAC is a key theme of the 5th Annual Cloud Asia event, taking place in Hong Kong on 24th-26th November 2014. Enterprises can claim a complimentary pass to find out how organisations including the Hong Kong Government, Delta Airlines, Swiss Re, Tesco Lotus, Cyberport, Microsoft, EMC, Amazon and Google are embracing this new wave of technological convergence.

With thanks to:
‘SMAC: the new enterprise IT model’, by Cognizant
‘The SMAC Code - Embracing new technologies for future business’, by KPMG India
‘SMAC: The Game Changer’, by BT&BT
‘How to Build a SMAC Enabled Enterprise’, by Mariner