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Conclusion: Despite market hype around the role of data scientists and in-house developers for the successful exploitation of artificial intelligence (AI), organisations are increasingly looking to their vendor partners to provide ready-made solutions. Both business and technology leaders are expecting solutions to be based on the vendor’s ability to leverage their customer base across various industries to create AI features such as machine learning models.

Vendors are responding by increasingly incorporating these features into their offerings, along with a new breed of vendors that are producing pre-trained or baseline machine learning models for common use cases for specific industries.

However, organisations must be prepared to contribute to this AI product development or continuous improvement process which in practical terms means giving major vendors access to data. Without access to good data the result will be sub-optimal for both parties.

Conclusion: The three largest service providers in Australia for mobile phone services, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, have all committed to providing 5G networks. 2019 has seen the introduction of 5G networks and devices; however, the coverage is still limited. Initial coverage by the service providers will focus on areas with the highest population density, providing coverage to a greater number of potential users. In 2019, it is estimated that coverage should be available to about 4 million potential subscribers.

The jump in speed and reduction in network latency will open up opportunities for new services and customer experiences that would not be practical using existing 3G or 4G networks. There is a large potential economic upside and organisations should be planning for future use cases.

Conclusion: The ubiquitous availability of smartphone and wearable technology has opened up opportunities for a wide range of new applications that take advantage of knowing the location and proximity of these devices.

One of the newer underlying technologies that enable these new apps are low-cost small beacons that provide regular transmissions, usually to Bluetooth-enabled devices. When working on digital transformation projects or opportunities to innovate, these technologies should be included in the developer’s tool bag.

Conclusion: Globally, organisations are dealing with the challenges of “digital transformations” and the need to “innovate”. Chief information officers (CIOs) need to support their organisations in these initiatives, but the ownership in defining what is required rests with the business managers, and the key executives such as the chief marketing officers, chief supply chain officers, chief human resources officers and chief executive officers. If the organisation has one, chief technology officers would be a contributor in terms of how technology can be included in innovation initiatives.

CIOs need to be valued as trusted advisors to the business leaders in terms of what technology solutions will support their businesses’ initiatives.

Conclusion: Increasingly, leaders in the field of AI adoption are calling out the limitations of the current machine learning techniques as they relate to knowledge representation and predictive analysis.

Organisations seeking to adopt machine learning as part of their AI-enabled transformation programs should ensure they fully understand these limitations to avoid unproductive investments driven by hype rather than reality by expanding their definitions of machine learning to include the use of graph networks and social physics solutions.

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"Prepare to manage the “evolution” of AI-based solutions with “DataOps”" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:43:42

"Preparing for the shift from digital to AI-enabled transformation" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:10:21

Conclusion: As self-service data analytics and visualisation becomes mainstream – due in no small part to Microsoft’s Power BI strategy – traditional data teams within IT groups need to reconsider traditional business intelligence architectures and plan a migration to a new environment. Underpinning the new architecture must be a sharper focus on tools and practices to support data governance, which is not a strength of Microsoft’s portfolio.

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Conclusion: In IBRS’s 2018 Top Business Technology Trends Priorities Report, we noted that despite significant media attention on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) in 2017, the primary concerns of Australia’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in 2018 remains focused on the more pressing issues of migration to the Cloud, and its impact on IT operations and staffing.

However, ignoring DLT in the long term is no longer an option. After 10 years since the advent of blockchain, real world and production examples are now emerging from market-influencing players in Australia such as the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA). This, combined with significant investment from credible vendors (both old and new), requires that CIOs and their Enterprise Architects review the implications of DLT becoming a mainstream means for secure, immutable data exchange to enable fully automated multi-party workflows.

Related Articles:

"Blockchain Principles and Cases" IBRS, 2016-03-31 23:14:46

"The Top Business Technology Priorities for 2016" IBRS, 2016-02-01 01:10:48

Conclusion: Microsoft’s portfolio of business intelligence (BI) products now places the vendor in a market-leading position. Over the next three to five years, IBRS expects Microsoft to continue to strengthen its market position in BI, largely through its ability to expose a large number of users to self-service data visualisation and storytelling via some of Power BI’s features being included in Office 365.

Exploring Microsoft’s strategy for Power BI provides several important issues for consideration.

Related Articles:

"Digital and AI-based transformation requires an evolution in business intelligence architectures" IBRS, 2018-05-04 19:06:41

"Return on Investment in Data and Analytics" IBRS, 2015-10-03 00:12:43

Conclusion: Technology leaders in organisations brought together through a merger or acquisition (M&A) play an extremely important role and can significantly impact the potential economic benefits and success of the M&A. IT needs to align with the business units to understand how the business units are going to align or change through the M&A. IT must then develop plans and execute on appropriate IT strategies to support the new organisation.

M&As provide organisations with the opportunity to rationalise, deduplicate, and modernise especially in the areas of applications, data, infrastructure and facilities.

Whilst keeping the existing systems operational, IT should set up specific integration teams, to quickly develop the direction and priorities that will be of most importance and value to the new integrated organisation.

Related Articles:

"Dealing with conflict in an IT environment" IBRS, 2018-09-04 13:35:55

"Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures: What does it mean to your business?" IBRS, 2017-01-01 10:35:33

"Running IT as a Service Part 4: Transforming from Service Level Agreements to Service Value Agreements" IBRS, 2015-01-29 18:59:44

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 46: Mergers and acquisitions impact on service contracts" IBRS, 2018-09-04 13:46:42

Conclusion: The availability of modern, Cloud-based, omnichannel-focused stakeholder and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions is disrupting customer expectations. It is not just that new CRM solutions have additional features and modules when compared to more traditional CRM solutions with a history predating social media. The modern CRM paradigm is focused on automation and mass personalisation of customer experiences rather than stakeholder and sales management.

A CRM modernisation effort must, therefore, be based upon a firm understanding of the organisation’s most valuable customer experiences. One way to achieve this understanding is to develop a customer experience strategy.

Note: sister note on this topic for public sector organisations is available.

Related Articles:

"CRM modernisation Part 1: Strategy, planning & selection" IBRS, 2018-09-04 05:20:15

"CRM modernisation Part 2A: Creating a public sector stakeholder experience strategy" IBRS, 2018-09-04 06:46:34

"CRM modernisation Part 3: Roles & responsibilities" IBRS, 2018-10-04 13:09:21

"Design thinking – do not rush the empathy" IBRS, 2016-05-05 03:03:00

"User Centred Design or Design Thinking" IBRS, 2017-07-03 23:24:11

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