Stay connected to the latest at Infosys Confluence, our global thought leadership summit that brings together leaders from across industries to explore how technology can help enterprises do more. Read our blogs from some of the world’s most distinguished industry thought leaders to experience the event first-hand.

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April 28, 2016

When Networks Rule

So today, the world's largest transportation company owns zero fleet, the largest hotelier lists more than a million rooms but owns none of them, and the largest movie service doesn't have a theater to its name. And Alibaba - which was only a local e-commerce provider just a couple of years ago - is not merely repeatedly breaking global sales records, but obliterating them.

What these providers have in common is a winning business model that leverages the collective power of a network or ecosystem to deliver incredible experiences at competitive prices to customers, at scale.

How can banks not be a part of that? Straightaway, we can think of a couple of areas of digital technology-driven opportunity for banks and their customers. These are SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) commerce and marketplace lending. At Confluence 2016, we will explore how banks can be enabled to capitalize on these opportunities.

  1. SMB commerce: Digital is not the sole prerogative of big business. Progressive small and mid-sized businesses are equally keen to ride the digital wave by entering e-commerce. We believe banks are rightly placed to enable their SMB clients to open an e-commerce store with ease. Imagine a scenario where a bank can, one, set up its own online shopping mall and rent out space to SMB customers, and two, provide those customers with tools so they can easily build fully customized online outlets.
  2. Marketplace lending platform: The peer-to-peer lending market is gaining traction and is expected to cross US$ 1 trillion by 2025. Prosper and Lending Club have originated loans worth US$9 billion so far. Banks can participate in this wonderful opportunity by combining the latest technologies with their expertise in credit assessment, to generate a new stream of revenue.
We will showcase some of these scenarios and also invite clients to share their usage experience at Confluence. We hope you will be there to see it for yourselves.

Mobility First and Fullest

How many features of that fancy smartphone do you use on a regular basis? If you're like me, an average mobile phone user, not many, I bet.

The thing is, it's no different with for mobile banking. While mobile technology continues to evolve rapidly - take wearables for instance, which will be the second highest selling consumer electronics product by 2020 - banks are yet to exploit even its existing power to the fullest.

This is lost opportunity, at a minimum. We believe banks must intensify their approach to digital, reworking strategy if needed to keep pace with the shifts in the market. In the past, their reluctance to forge ahead could have stemmed from concerns about security and compliance. But today, they need have no such fears, because security technology has also advanced leaps and bounds. Hence banks don't have to choose between quality of experience and robust security. They can have both.

Having established the need for deepening mobility adoption by banks, let us examine some of the possible scenarios of the future. Banks can indeed onboard customers without them ever visiting a branch and help him sign in by just looking into the app. In certain countries, banks have gone mobile first to spread financial inclusion. They could really benefit from a facility such as this.

Another use case is transaction banking on wearables. Imagine that a guy named John is out on his morning run. During a break, he taps his smart watch to see a notification reminding him that his rent to Tom, the landlord, is due today. He taps his approval to a question asking him if he would like to initiate payment. The transfer goes through, even as he begins to run again. In next to no time, Tom's acknowledgement of the payment pops up on his wrist.

Here's another good one - a facility to authenticate oneself without a password. All it would take is a mobile phone with a front camera to complete an iris scan, and presto, you are in that quickly.

It is time to get ready for the frictionless banking experience. If these sound somewhat far-fetched you need to be there at Confluence 2016. You really need to see for yourself our innovative solution that provides an Uber type, simple to use, frictionless, end user experience. The emerging wealth generation and those that think banking relationship is too complicated to utilize will absolutely love it!

April 27, 2016

Blockchain - A Strong Link in the Banking Chain

One of the hallmarks of truly digital banking - which is the theme for the Finacle track at Confluence - is the role of the vast banking ecosystem. As a variety of banking and non-banking players collaborate and co-create to offer customers universal banking services, they would need a robust, secure mechanism to facilitate their interactions.

One of that mechanism is very likely, the Blockchain. There is a huge amount of interest in this technology, which has the potential to transform the way the industry works. Investment in Blockchain projects is expected to surpass USD 1 billion next year, and a number of banks are already experimenting with it quite seriously. Barclays, for instance, has a partnership with P2P payments provider Circle, which uses the Blockchain network. Then there's Visa, one of the participants in a USD 30 million investment in Chain, a Blockchain development platform. There are several ways in which Blockchain technology can improve capital market transactions, and a consortium of 42 banks is already working with Fintech firm R3 to examine some of them.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified blockchain technology as one of its six mega-trends in a new report broadly aimed at outlining the expected transition to a more digital and connected world. In this survey, 58% of the respondents expect that 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) would be stored on a blockchain by 2025. The survey also suggested that bitcoin and the blockchain would reach a "tipping point", or a point at which it becomes broadly adopted, by 2027.

In fact, not just capital markets or payments, but any financial services operation that requires accurate, tamper-proof record keeping can leverage the Blockchain to improve security, as well as processes and systems. Blockchain can be deployed in a number of areas, in a permissioned environment, to establish the authenticity and improve the efficiency of banking services.

The "permissioned environment" is a big reason for Blockchain's appeal for banks. Where true cryptocurrency networks are unpermissioned, whereas permissioned blockchain, only admits approved entities to post transactions or validate the network. It offers a degree of de-centralisation & control that is imperative in a business that is strictly governed by regulation.

Also, the asset agnostic nature of Blockchain enables banks to build any number of assets on it, all of which are tracked and verified at the level of the network.

Capital Markets, Payments, KYC/AML and Trade Finance are all ripe with opportunity for implementing Blockchain technology. Infosys Finacle is already working with a few banks on Blockchain pilot projects. More details shall be revealed at Confluence 2016. Be there!

Zero the Distance to Customers with Advanced Analytics

At Infosys Zero Distance (ZD) is a quest to progressively reduce the gap between what clients expect of us and what we deliver. Today all our significant actions are measured against the Zero Distance yardstick.

And so when the time came to name a theme for Confluence 2016, Zero Distance was the obvious choice.

At Infosys Finacle, we have been applying the ZD principle to not only get closer to our clients, but also to enable our clients zero the distance to their clients. One way in which we are doing that is by enabling our clients to evolve into truly digital banks. This calls for not only reengineering banking functions around digital technologies, but actually reinventing the banking model to suit a truly digital culture.

Leveraging data driven insights to arrive at key decisions, is a vital part of that agenda. Today banks have access to almost unlimited consumer data. With increasing digitalization, the flow of data will only intensify as the number of data sources, especially external ones, multiplies at speed. Fortunately, development of analytics technologies has caught up with the pace of data proliferation, and today banks have the choice of several advanced analytics applications for converting the data at their disposal into granular, real-time insights into virtually every aspect of the banking business.

Take customer understanding, for instance. Using advanced analytics, banks can group their customers based on individual values, expectations, and needs, rather than on aggregated demographics. Identical individuality has been replaced by individual identity.

That is but one use case. Analytics can inform virtually every type of decision that a bank needs to take on a day-to-day basis. Consider the following scenarios:

John, a customer of XYZ Bank, has been reading and posting online reviews about a car he's dying to own, to decide if it is indeed right for him. Does XYZ Bank get to know of this early enough to influence John's decision? Can the Bank play a larger role here by offering him a test drive at the nearest showroom and helping him get the right financing option?

ABC Bank has multiple branches in one city. Does it measure the success of these branches by mapping the positive and negative experiences that customers have shared in online and offline channels? Which branches have gone the extra mile in creating positive experiences for customers? Which products are most popular?

Is A2Z Bank's CEO empowered to closely monitor and manage the Bank's key metrics that are tied to its financial goals? Is he able to drill down further by line of business to identify the issues that need his immediate attention?

At Confluence, we will explore how advanced analytics technologies can play a crucial enabling role in all these scenarios and more. We will talk about how the insights from analytics can build competitive advantage across the banking value chain. Don't miss it.

April 25, 2016

Getting Truly Digital at Confluence

As we head into what promises to be a very exciting Confluence, here's what you can expect from Finacle.

Infosys Confluence 2016 focuses on Zero Distance, the approach to operating at the convergence of desirability, feasibility and viability. By uncovering ways for us to connect with end users, by bringing to life desirable ideas and by creating value from them. It's a framework that will allow you to adapt and respond to rapid digital disruption, on the basis of innovation, automation and lifelong learning. At Finacle, we are bringing this spirit to life by enabling our customers to deliver truly digital experiences to their customers. #TrulyDigital Banking is therefore our chosen theme for the Finacle track at Confluence 2016.

But why do we even need a theme like that, when digitalization is clearly on the mind of every banker on the planet?

For a good reason...there is no common, accepted understanding of what truly digital banking really means. We intend to bring to you the "blueprint" of a truly digital bank that will help guide you on your journey to digital transformation.

So what does a #TrulyDigital bank do?

Provides Frictionless Banking
A truly digital bank needs to reimagine its customer's banking experience. Increasingly customers are demanding greater speed, convenience, accessibility, security and personalization. For the truly digital bank, it is all about delivering a frictionless delightful experience anyplace anywhere anytime. For example, even something as routine as account opening could be completely redesigned to suit customer behavior and preference, and implemented with the help of the latest digital technologies and tools, such as digital onboarding, biometric authentication. The same can be extended to other banking interactions delivered consistently across desktops, tablets and smartphones.

Exists in an ecosystem
The traditional monolithic bank is rapidly unbundling at the hands of new-age, technology driven players that are threatening parts of the banking business, like payments. At the same time, it is becoming impossible for the conventional bank to be everything to everyone. These trends are driving the expansion of the banking ecosystem. The truly digital bank will have to coexist within this ecosystem, collaborating and co-operating with its customers, customers' customers and competition to create an aggregated portfolio of products and services that fulfills its customers' varied needs.

Puts insight ahead of everything
Analytics-driven insight will be the most valuable resource in a truly digital bank, which will distinguish itself with its ability to quickly capture and convert data in near- or real-time into actionable insight. Analytics will be part of enterprise culture, and therefore encompass every employee regardless of job, role or function. The following four aspects of banking will see increasing usage of analytics - customer experience improvement, fraud and risk management, revenue expansion and operations optimization.

Practices ubiquitous automation
The truly digital bank will automate its business in the interest of efficiency and optimization. Automation, driven by business rules, algorithms and machine learning, will enable the banks to process millions of transactions every day without increasing costs. At the same time, it will accelerate the pace of business expansion, as well as free the workforce from repetitive tasks so that they can focus on value generating activities.

At Confluence, we will talk about all these ideas in greater detail, but more importantly, we will demonstrate some of our amazing new offerings for truly digital banking. You don't want to miss it for anything.

April 22, 2016

Turning to the Cloud, Surely. At Infosys Confluence.

Turning to the Cloud, Surely. At Infosys Confluence.

I can see heads nod when I say that the adoption of the cloud has significantly broadened with large enterprises from practically every sector transitioning to it. In fact, just the last six months has several telling examples. Netflix completed a seven-year-long transition of its data-centers to a cloud-only model. Even GE announced that it is moving thirty data centers to the public cloud, holding back just four to house the company's secret sauce.

It's not up for debate then that cloud adoption is now mainstream inasmuch that almost every enterprise has a presence up there. But then, there's some way to go yet before more enterprises start running more workloads in the cloud. Most companies still run fewer than one in five applications in the cloud even though many have already optimized their applications for cloud architectures. But, at the same time, cloud usage is becoming distinctly more sophisticated. The focus is now moving beyond entry-level workloads like web apps and development and testing to more mission-critical applications that have a significant impact on strategic performance. The emphasis is no longer on saving a few bucks, rather, it is on achieving strategic objectives. In fact, with enterprises moving towards delivering 'everything-as-a-service,' the cloud has become integral to their business models and essential for realizing business value.

And yet, the challenges to be dealt with - before early-stage cloud programs can evolve to something more strategic - are significant. The core of the problem perhaps lies in the ad-hoc approach to cloud services deployment. More often than not, decisions were initiated at the level of LOBs or functions and lack a strategic perspective of how these might integrate with existing processes and systems. Understanding of legacy infrastructure and applications in the landscape is key to deploy and manage solutions that coexist on-premise and on the cloud. The other significant theme deeply associated with the cloud is security. While security concerns no longer impede cloud adoption, the fact that companies are spending only 3.8% of their cloud investments on security versus the 11% they normally allocate in their overall IT budgets is surely a matter of concern.

So then, how might we get to that point where cloud is no longer evaluated in isolation, but as an integral part of the core IT strategy that lays the foundation for the digital enterprise of tomorrow. I am talking to front-runners from Charter Communications, ABN AMRO and AMD who've been through this journey themselves. Join us on April 28 between 14:55 and 15:35 hrs @ Infosys Confluence.

April 20, 2016

The Big Data Experience. Get A Closer Look At Infosys Confluence.

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Consumers interact with brands across a number of channels, screens and devices. They expect these brands to know when to engage with them, how exactly they prefer to connect, and to understand their distinctive desires. Today, every business from healthcare to automotive, from retail to sports, is learning to make data - no matter where it lies - talk and reveal insights so they can create involving, immersive, even disruptive experiences for consumers.

With 100 million people expected to use health and fitness wearable devices by 2018, hospitals and clinics, health insurers, and even banks are riding the trend to change the way that people relate to healthcare, incentivizing them to take greater responsibility for their well-being. In fact, this effort is all a part of banks' strategy to gain true 720-degree views of their customers, encompassing not just their financial relationships across providers, but also other relevant lifestyle and behavioral information, so they can then plot needs and expectations, identify critical decision moments, and take appropriate action. Sports and entertainment too is not immune to the big data bug. For fans of Tennis, the experience of the game has been recently reimagined, ATP will tell you, by providing big data-driven insights into players' performance, strengths, weaknesses and shot selection, as well as match outcomes. Then there are the automobile giants, that are looking to completely reinvent the mobility experience of their customers using big data such that someday, their connected car would prompt its owner to leave a little earlier or take an alternative route to work if the weather or traffic situation warrants it, and perhaps even order breakfast on the go.

The big data possibilities for customer experience are endless. And we can only guess at how much computing power will be needed to work on data of that size. Suffice it to say that traditional Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are simply not geared for it. Fortunately for enterprises, there is a real alternative in the form of open source technology. Backed by a coordinated effort by industry, academic institutions and developers, open source technologies are becoming the standard for big data solutions. Unhindered by restrictions on data volume or type, open source is unparalleled in its ability to perform complex analytics on big data in real-time. Which it does at a fraction of the cost of traditional BI.

So then, enterprises can use these emerging technologies to renew or add to existing BI solutions, endowing them with additional reporting or analytical capabilities. And simultaneously, leverage it to build entirely new big data abilities within the enterprise, which can in turn inform the creation of new, innovative and immersive experiences for their customers. To get to some rare insights into exactly how this can work, I am talking to a select panel of leaders from ATP, SunTrust, and Aimia at Infosys Confluence. We welcome you to join us on Thursday April 28, between 12:00 - 12:40 hrs.

April 18, 2016

Being Socially Intelligent in the Enterprise - Your Humanity Is Your Differentiator!

Being Socially Intelligent in the Enterprise - Your Humanity Is Your Differentiator!

Automation hype and anxiety is everywhere today. In fact, haven't you been amazed by the emergence of all these 'automation experts' that have suddenly appeared on your LinkedIn recently? It's as if these people went to school 20 years ago with the sole purpose of becoming an automation expert...

However, I have good news for the paranoid - computers are still really bad at simulating social interaction. What's more, team work is becoming more critical than ever, as we need to keep adapting to a changing work environment. Your personality and ability to excite, befriend, intellectually stimulate, or just have a laugh with the people around you, is now more critical than ever.

Welcome to the socially-intelligent workforce, where your reputation is everything

What's more, there is nowhere to hide anymore - if you repeatedly behave badly, back-stab, lie, or just an asshole to work with, your reputation will spread across the digital and social networks, like it never did in the past. When smart future employers check you out, it's so easy to find former colleagues to conduct informal background checks. There is no hiding anymore, so prepare yourself for the socially intelligent workforce, or scramble for one of those fast-disappearing legacy jobs, where you can hide away for years, unnoticed by the world.

Your ability to interact with people, applying intelligence and creativity to your craft, is where you add value

People, increasingly, want to work with people they like and people who spark positive energy, first and foremost, as technology continually makes jobs more sophisticated and intelligent. I don't need an accountant who can tell me my revenues this month, as I have software that can do this for me easily... I need an accountant who can talk me through the nuances of sunsetting a legacy product and its impact on my profit line. I don't need a lawyer who can create employment contracts - I can pull these off Legal Zoom... I need one who can talk me through the nuances of creating incentive plans to motivate my staff. I don't need a web developer who can integrate a few databases - most of these new websites come with them already native to the package... I need a developer who can help design the sexiest website ever to embarrass my competitors. I don't need content people who just check the boxes to fill content space - you can get content produced anywhere these days (and even automated)... I need content people who want to exchange ideas on creating content that gets noticed and read by our clients. I don't need marketing people just to send out email-push campaigns - I need ones who can help me figure out which conferences to go to, how to associate my brand with the right partners, how to use social media more intelligently, how to create communities among my clients etc.

I can go on through each profession and business function in turn, but the underlying premise is the same - I need intelligent people I can work with, whether in my company, or in a partner organization. And they don't need to be rocket-scientist intelligent, just smart enough to understand by business and engage with me to figure out how to do things better. But the value is in the ongoing interaction and team-work, not a wooden worker/manager reporting line model.

Design Thinking will increase in significance, as the need for socially-intelligent workplace interaction takes hold

This is what I love about Design Thinking - it's based on the social focus to get us all working together to find problems and solutions together to improve our businesses. Hell, we might not always find much, but at least we'll have some fun trying. Anything beats staring at a laptop all day going through the motions of the job, right?

When we talked to 178 major enterprise operations executives, the rise of Design Thinking and the cultivation of creative ideas, is second only to investments in analytics tools and skills, in terms of having an impact on their move to As-a-Service.

But this isn't something that's coming down the pipe in a few years' time, people, this is today. This is here now.

As Harvard University's David J, Deming's research shows, jobs aligned to maths tasks grew by only 10% between 1980 and 2012, while those requiring social skills increased by a quarter over the same time frame. And 'routine' jobs are plummeting at an alarming rate.

What's occurring today, is the desire of most enterprises not to increase the people-quota to perform routine jobs - we are having conversations with clients who have plans to eliminate tens of thousands of operational positions in the next couple of years through smarter automation. True, this is a small percentage of the Global 2000 today, but as the case studies roll out, the focus on labor reduction will escalate - and this will be rapid. On the flip-side, the growing number of 'Born in the Cloud' business are where most job/work creation is now happening - and it's these environments where socially intelligent workers are most in demand. In these companies, it's all about creating a collaborative, stimulating - and enjoyable work culture.

The Bottom-line: Successful socially-intelligent workers are those who can self-reflect and improve

I hate to say this, but it depresses me how many people I come across who simply cannot modify their work style in today's environment. Social intelligence is being able to analyze your own behavior and create definitive actions to improve it. It's not simply messing about on LinkedIn and Twitter... those are tools that can help develop your collaborative personality, but the ultimate collaborator is YOU.

Here are six takeaways here we all need to think about for the good of our careers:
 

  1. Stop the constant whining. Is it any coincidence that some people flit from employer to employer and always have something to whine about? They always know better than their bosses, love to complain about their mistakes, their poor management, how underpaid they are etc. Over the years, it's always the same story, always the same whining. But recognize the common thread - smart people don't really like working with the whiners. Negativity breeds negativity, which is the worst de-motivator. So take a good look at yourself, truly figure out why you're unhappy and do something about it. The chances are that you are whining is because there are elements outside of your work environment that need fixing, not within them.
  2. Spend more time getting to know people. Don't make it all about work. Find out more about your colleagues, clients and partners. Find the right ways to interact with them - some like using the phone, others like texting, others face to face sessions etc. We have so many social tools at our disposal - use them!
  3. Collaborate with your colleagues and put your ego aside. I bet you also know several people who claim to to be really 'collaborative' but really aren't at all. Collaborating is about sharing work, sharing experiences, learning from each other. It's not always about being the smartest person in the room and inviting them to that room. Sometimes is about creating the room for everyone to be smart in together.
  4. Be transparent. Nothing irks people more than finding things out about their colleagues that were a complete surprise. Be more open, let people in a bit - and they will likely do the same with you. Everyone's human - we all have stresses at home, at work etc. Share them a bit. If you have issues with your boss, then clear the air (over a drink even better...). Transparency is critical for your long-term reputation and career. If a job is not working out for whatever reason, address it and it may improve. No-one ever got fired for airing their issues and trying to fix them collaboratively with their colleagues.
  5. Speak up! Management always appreciates staff voicing up in team calls to improve things/suggests new ideas. If you don't do this, everyone's wasting their time. It's not as if you have nothing to add, you always do!
  6. Be honest with yourself. Finally, if you're not motivated by your work, then that's your problem, not your company's. True, they may suck, but if you aren't inspired by the work or the people around you, find answers, and find them fast. If the work doesn't motivate you, you're in the wrong profession, if your colleagues don't motivate you then try to motivate them by actioning the steps above. If that fails, then leave... go somewhere which appreciates you and motivates you.

Join us and participate in our panel discussion "Crafting Human-centric Experiences". It's on April 28th between 13:00 - 13:40 hrs @ Infosys Confluence.

April 14, 2016

Ideation to Innovation: In 90 Days and Done! It's Happening At Infosys Confluence

Ideation to Innovation: In 90 Days and Done! It's Happening At Infosys Confluence

Think of the number of times your organization missed out on an innovation opportunity because the idea wasn't grand enough. Or because you were looking for a technology breakthrough first to inspire that innovation. Or worst of all, because the budget would never be approved, so what was the point of trying?

What if someone told you that you were approaching it from the wrong end all along? That innovation is about people first, and everything else can wait.

This is the essence of an alternative approach to innovation. One where finding the problem is the most important element in innovation. For that you need to look at every new idea through the lens of empathy, feeling what the people impacted by it will feel, asking whether they really desire the innovation, and establishing whether it actually solves a fundamental problem or merely patches it over.

None of this requires big money, complex facilities, or taking a year off. All it takes is imagination and the right perspective, and collaboration across multidisciplinary teams to make sure innovation doesn't germinate inside a silo.

Because the priority then is the idea itself, it is important to come up with as many as possible initially, before zeroing in on 'the one' - the idea that is highly desirable or solves that big unresolved problem (often both). Although you will eventually need to establish whether the idea is indeed technically feasible to build or commercially sustainable in the market, that can wait. At this point what is more important is to give the idea a shape so that people can engage with it, react to it, and report that all important feedback.

The next step would be to get to where we want through rapid, iterative prototyping. In fact, 'quick and dirty' early prototyping is a way to sift through several ideas to find the ones worth pursuing. This - and admittedly it seems counterintuitive - actually serves to shorten the overall innovation cycle, and allows companies to try out many ideas at the same time. But, there are some rules. First of all, the prototypes should cost very little money and time. (It's fine if they end up rough and rudimentary, as long as they convey the general idea). In fact, prototyping should aim only so far as eliciting feedback and providing adequate reason to go ahead with the idea. Said another way, the early prototype should be just that, and no more, certainly not a near-finished product. Because the more you invest in a prototype, the harder it is to let go, or to be open to crucial user feedback.

Essentially this limits the clutter around innovation to train the focus on what really matters - user empathy, great ideas, and 'just enough' prototypes. That's certainly a sprint you can run in 90 days! In fact, I am talking to a cool bunch of leaders from Spirit AeroSystems, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AT&T who'd simply describe this as business-as-usual! Join us on April 29 between 08:30 - 09:10 hrs PST @ Infosys Confluence for some great insights that you can then go back and use right away.

April 11, 2016

When Knowledge Is The Energy Driving Renewal

When Knowledge Is The Energy Driving Renewal

We've all dreamed of changing the things we can do at our organizations. We wish we could automate more things, bring more imagination and possibilities into what we do, break the cycle of always making do with temporary fixes to our problems, and finding a way to stop accepting 'more of the same'. And yet, though we see and recognize the need for change, we also know that - carrying on as we are - chances are it'll likely not happen. We need to develop a new vision and blueprint for future success in an increasingly digital era.

This transformation will express itself across two dimensions. The first is renewal of existing landscapes - transformation of legacy systems, of the mainframe systems, cloud-enablement, mobile enablement, the enablement of sensors for these systems, the simplification of this landscape to modern infrastructure, the renewal of processes, operations and the like. The other theme focuses on bringing in new kinds of applications, and the new systems and platforms that are necessary for the times we live and work in.

But, most importantly, a deep foundation of enterprise knowledge must power this transformation.

For example, companies can integrate people and software -- a model where one amplifies the other - to create a layer to automate the curation of knowledge from across enterprise silos - its systems, processes and people. This model can also help enterprises to embrace Artificial Intelligence, since it makes enterprise knowledge machine-readable. This will help to simplify work, giving us the room to innovate and bring our creativity and inventions into everyday use. Truly, the outcomes - from an approach like this - can range from efficiency optimization to agility for innovation.

Such, knowledge-based renewal rests on two cornerstones - automating for simplicity and automating to create new capability. Let's take a quick look at exactly how.

A knowledge-based approach to renewal can help enterprises leverage the knowledge trapped inside multiple system silos to reduce complexity. For example, in the aerospace industry, based on predictive analytics from aerodynamics data-modelers powered by artificial neural networks, engineers can use historic flight data rather than iterative flight tests to predict the 'unbalance' forces in an aircraft thereby delivering a massive reduction in both flight testing times and costs. Or consider how, for the healthcare industry, the business of finding the right clinical test subjects - of the right profile and in the right numbers at the right time - for drug testing can be facilitated through intelligent automation platforms that enable end-to-end automation, from subject spotting, to recruiting decision making and even task execution, significantly accelerating problem resolution as well as reducing cost of operations. This can prove vital today when the time allowed to release new capabilities to remain competitive is constantly shortening.

Tune in as several such accounts unfold - and I welcome you to chime in and share your own experiences as well - as I talk to leaders who have practically lived knowledge-based renewal. Join us and participate in our chat. It's on April 28th between 14:30 - 15:10 hrs @ Infosys Confluence.

April 7, 2016

Renewing Process Renewal Itself. The Discussion Unfolds At Infosys Confluence.

Renewing Process Renewal Itself.The Discussion Unfolds At Infosys Confluence.

As enterprises ponder their future in this new normal of all things being transformational or digital, there is a dual pressure weighing on them - one of having to keep costs down while continuing to provide services consistently, and the other of having to innovate showing tangible results aligned with the business, and they are seeking to navigate this duality successfully. Design Thinking - with its tenets of identifying challenges before they occur while being customer-centric - offers us a way to approach this duality. it's all about focusing on creating experiences that are more imaginative, more relevant and more 'desirable' to end users with direct impact to a future state objective. On the other hand, with the emergence of more intelligent, more automated systems that can execute more and more sophisticated tasks, there is a great feasibility to enable end-to-end effectiveness enabling a deep 'straight through processing' - stripping away needless manual interventions and intermediate layers. This has the effect of bringing down costs dramatically with realistic innovation.

To appreciate the scope of process renewal in a meaningful way, one needs to look at it in this context.

The search for better, more efficient processes is hardly new. Especially when it comes to renewals. The scope of process renewal has now become simple, more of an organizational/business priority than just being integral to the technology agenda. It is a practical process that is mostly viewed as a gradual transformational transition forward while mitigating risk at the lowest possible cost. This calls for an important shift in the overall organization's mindset - as well as that of the IT organization within - to a state where the process is seen as a strategic business resource that can elevate innovation, create competitive advantage, make or break a new business model, and maybe even disrupt an established one.

But for that to happen, process renewal, much like human or capital resources, must be freed from its 'drudge work', so it can focus on higher pursuits. So, it makes sense to let software-powered systems take over those repetitive, manual activities from men, to do them faster, better, at lower cost and with fewer errors. And let the people in the technology and business organization work in tandem to dream up unprecedented, exciting and innovative new ways of working (with the processes to match) to make a massive and meaningful impact on the future of the business.

I am moderating an exciting chat, with leaders from Fidelity Investment Management, Comcast and Telstra, to discuss experiences, tricks, tips, what works and what doesn't in this domain. Join us on April 28 between 15:15 - 15:55 hrs @ Infosys Confluence to figure out how process renewal can truly pay off.

To start a conversation around process renewal, connect with me on Twitter @chernandez3901

April 5, 2016

Automation: What It Takes. Find Out At Infosys Confluence.

Automation: What It Takes. Find Out At Infosys Confluence

Show me any company, and I'll show you a struggle to keep costs down, get efficiencies up and the pressure to deliver better products, services and experiences, within increasingly shorter time frames. There is no way we can achieve this by continuing to do the same things we've always done. What we need now is to seek out new ways of doing things, to deliver faster and better outcomes, make innovating easier, enhance efficiencies, and improve profitability. All with fewer people. Some years ago, this would not have been possible. But with advances in technology - especially automation technologies - it is fast becoming a reality.

Automation is hardly a new idea. For centuries, the world has used machines to progressively replace manual effort. Virtually every industry relies on systems to automate repetitive, rule-based, time consuming tasks, so they can be done faster, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Big Data Analytics and the Internet of Things, is now promising a new era of automation with systems that are intelligent, predictive, self-learning and even autonomous. It is no longer only routine jobs that are getting automated. Intelligent systems and software are increasingly being used to augment human capabilities and enhance the value of work. Think of search engine giants using AI algorithms to drive more meaningful search results, retailers with self-stocking shelves, financial services organizations relying on facial and speech recognition systems to detect fraud, or travel companies using predictive analytics to deeply personalize travel planning services - such examples offer exciting glimpses of automation's huge potential.

Automation technologies are here to stay and are transforming not only business models and customer experiences, but also business processes, job roles and entire workplaces. Yes, automation may eliminate routine jobs, but at the same time, it will drive strategic shifts within organizations and create demand for new skill sets. In doing so, automation will open up opportunities for people to actually amplify their potential. Automation will also challenge service providers who have historically relied on labor arbitrage, rather than on optimized service delivery models - only the innovators will survive. Increasingly, the future workplace will be one where humans and machines collaborate and co-exist. Businesses that can successfully attain that perfect blend of automated intelligence and human ability will inevitably hold the edge.

But before they leap forward into the world of intelligent, automated, connected systems, businesses will have to find answers to a new set of questions - what to automate, which technologies to invest in, what are the legal implications should something go wrong, and most importantly, how to motivate employees whose jobs have been - or will be - automated - moving their jobs to interesting, higher-value roles involving creativity and innovation.

I am talking to leaders from Citigroup, CISCO and Johnson Controls whose recent professional canvas and experience gives them deep insights that allows them to answer almost all these questions. Join us as we chat on Thursday, April 28 from 16:00 - 16:40 pm PST at Infosys Confluence.

April 4, 2016

Innovating with Business Models. Playing Out At Infosys Confluence.

Innovating with Business Models. Playing out at Infosys Confluence.

Business models, since the 15th century, have been a set of key decisions that collectively decide how a business earns its revenue, incurs costs and manages risks. Innovations to the model are systematic changes on what your offerings will be when decisions are made, why and how they are made and by whom. Those that successfully make the change, evolve extraordinarily to thrive, driving intense client success and affinity, in the ever margin-crushing competitive landscape. Business model changes, or lack of, have seen almost 88% of the F500 list in 1955, fallen off the list, crushed, disrupted or worse, forgotten. The average life expectancy of a firm in F500 has dropped from an average of 75 years to less than 15. It is good change though, a positive sign of dynamism and innovation that drives an even more vibrant consumer-oriented markets and economies, often turning inefficiencies into opportunities.

The Digital Business Model Innovation is one such reframing economic value model through which multiple clients can simultaneously use digital goods, which can be replicated at zero marginal cost. The Digitization of businesses upends client interactions, business activities, deployment of resources and newer economic models. Substantial sustainable alternatives that explore and execute totally new ways to earn client loyalty by transferring empowerment, moving ownership to access, easier consumption models from low-cost to almost no cost at simplified, convenient client-centric terms. Digital disintermediation can reduce the distance between producers and consumers to zero - writers self-publishing their content and entertainment-on-demand freed from the tyranny of record companies and TV channels are now the stuff of everyday life. The middle layers, with all its complexities, have been stripped away. This has brought down costs, while empowering the end-user dramatically. The second mark of our times is the transformation of everything - even products and solutions - into offerings that can be consumed as services. Think of the AirBnBs and Ubers of our times - they don't own properties or automobiles, and can yet offer these as services on-demand to be consumed simply and conveniently. A third characteristic of the digital era is the deepening of the sharing economy where peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services coordinated through community-based online services is business-as-usual. We are indeed moving towards a more pervasively connected world with greater transparency. In this world, the idea that we win at the expense of somebody else, is growing increasingly less relevant. Every business competes with its own ability - amplified by the ecosystem it's a part of - to deliver the human-centric experiences that customers demand and have come to expect.

But how can we systematically invent, design and implement these powerful new business models? How can we question, challenge and transform old, outmoded ones ? How can we turn visionary ideas into game-changing business models that challenge the establishment , or rejuvenate it if we ourselves are the incumbents? Take any successful company that has stood the test of time and you'll likely find a model that's creating a self-sustaining and positively reinforcing spiral of higher value.

To learn just how businesses are recharging their value proposition to customers in the digital age, how they are creating new durable systems, rules and metrics join me and these transformational practitioners and leaders from Bloomberg, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Microsoft as we play out scenarios of both immense practicality and ambitious possibility, from our collective experience, for you. Join us on April 28 between 13:45 and 14:25 hrs. @ Infosys Confluence.

April 1, 2016

What Works When Millennials Work. Find Out At Infosys Confluence.

What Works When Millennials Work

Get ready! The millennials are coming to the workplace. In fact, over the next decade they will overwhelmingly be the global workforce. OMG, keep reading B4 U G2G! This is major! It seems to me that this has triggered off a dilemma of sorts in the corporate sector. On the one hand is the general acknowledgment that the unique set of competencies, skills and perspectives that this generation brings will be indispensable to the success of any 21st century enterprise. On the other, there seems to be at least mild anxiety about the challenges of accommodating their unique expectations, principles and worldviews into the conventional workplace.

Millennials are the future of work. It follows, therefore, that it is workplace conventions that must adapt and evolve to conform to their requirements, not the other way around. And that is excellent news. Because, in spite of what you may have heard about this supposedly screen-fixated demographic, their collective ideals and beliefs will disrupt and transform the entire culture of work. For the better. Here are just a five ways in which they will do it.

Problem finding will be key - Young people today are an optimistic generation in the face of a challenging future. They are keen to learn the methods and approaches to problem framing and articulating, so they can then go ahead and improve it all by finding or creating the right solutions. They believe that this will improve their job prospects even as they recognize that global forces will continue to increase competition and complexity in the labor market.

Mentor and nurture entrepreneurship - It follows from the earlier point I made that the millennial generation is almost inherently entrepreneurial. Given an option, they would rather chance their own destiny than chart a relatively predictable course to the corner office. Organizations need to harness this impulse and nurture it through focused mentoring models. There is a huge opportunity to channel their creative energies and entrepreneurial drive to kickstart internal innovation. Businesses can enable millennials to pursue their passion by creating time-off-for-innovation models that have yielded significant results for companies like 3M and Google.

Collaboration will become the norm - A culture of collaboration is top priority for the millennial generation. For starters, this means that the physical design of the workplace would need to evolve to encourage more communication and collaboration between all employees. In a globalized economy, millennials will expect businesses to provide them with the technological tools and opportunities to collaborate on interesting projects with their peers around the world. Enabling the free flow of knowledge and information throughout the enterprise should become an embedded part of work culture.

Learning and teaching will be clear priorities - Despite a broadly positive view towards their education, significant numbers of young people question how well their academic experiences equip them for their careers. That's why they have high expectations of their employers in relation to training and skills acquisition. Smart employers will satisfy this keen appetite for continuous learning and develop a workforce with flexible skillset that allows the business to adapt in a fluid working landscape.

Purpose, rather than profit, will be the metric of enterprise value - Millennials want to make a positive impact on society. No surprise then that they expect their employers to pursue the same ideal. They value enterprises that have a well-defined social purpose and seek to make a positive contribution to society at large. An organization's approach to issues like inclusivity, diversity, equality, and environmental and social impact will have a bearing on millennials' choice of employer.

Emphasis on workplace learning, teaching, collaboration, scope for personal fulfillment, and a sense of social purpose - these are ambitious, even noble, attributes to expect in a place of employment. So how to alter our workplace culture to actually get there? Join me and my two leader panelists from National Australia Bank and Sysco Corporation who have done exactly that and can show us how. Join us on April 29 between 9:15 and 10:00hrs Infosys Confluence.

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