Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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July 15, 2015

It's all about Productivity and Business Processes On Cloud at WPC 2015!

Quick Takeaways from Microsoft WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) 2015 Keynote.

The opening keynote by Satya Nadella was different; it did not start with Satya talking about the good work done last year. Instead, the digital personal assistant "Cortana" talked about the busy year that Microsoft and the partner ecosystem had. It was time to remember the good work done over the last year and celebrate the success while partners get a reaffirmation that the investments that they are making in this ecosystem are worth it!

Anchored on the ambition that MS collectively shares for themselves and the customers, the mission for Microsoft is "empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more" and moving to a Mobile-first Cloud-first world. The clear message was that as an organization, Microsoft is focused on helping customers achieve greatness through digital technologies. There is no company out there that is not a software company and Microsoft wants to help them differentiate, leveraging the digital technologies. In fact, they are the only company that focusses on individuals and organizations with an attempt to strive for excellence at an intersection of people and organizations.

 mobile_firs_cloud_first.png

 

The interesting part was a clarifying statement from Satya around the Mobile-First and Cloud-First slogan. As per him, Mobile First - is all about mobility of the experience. Computing that we are going to interface within our lives (home and office) is ubiquitous (sensors, computers we touch, talk to, and interact with holograms) and Cloud First - as cloud allows us to move from device to device leveraging the distributed cloud infrastructure provided across the world

The vision keynote focused on 3 key pillars that are enabling business transformation for clients -

 three_strategy.png

1. Reinvention of productivity and Business Process

Microsoft wants to bring together everything that is related to the core creation, communication, collaboration and business process and blend them together. They want to bring out what Office 365 represents, what Dynamics represents - they want to bring these different products into one set of services which are extensible. Their vision is to allow all business application vendors and all productivity application vendors to integrate into this model.

Today, it's all about people, applications and devices coming together. Especially when you deeply introspect on the nature of our work, we work to deal with exceptions - it's not a happy path! It's all about us bringing our ingenuity to solve problems that just happen, challenges that appear, opportunities that we want to grab onto! It requires us to get more people involved, it requires us to bring different applications together, and it requires us to work across devices.

And then there was an excellent demo (with minor glitches though) around Project GigJam. It was all about an effective creation of an application for a specific task that spanned many apps, many devices, and many people on the fly and distributing that app to all those devices. That's what Microsoft thinks is the future of business process and communication and productivity.

You can read more about this at http://blogs.technet.com/b/gigjam/archive/2015/07/13/gigjam-unleashing-the-human-process.aspx

Gigjam.png

 

2. Building an intelligent cloud

While the story about Azure and its capabilities is known, the new update was the announcement of Cortana Analytics Suite. In brief, Satya mentioned that what VB was to Client Server Applications, Cortana Analytics is going to be for Intelligent Cloud! I am eager to know more about this and I am sure, so would you!

cortana.png

 

3.  Create more Personal Computing

Personal Productivity is at the core of adoption and widespread usage. Windows 10 is going to be launched in two weeks and it's going to be a unified platform across devices and offerings - which is what Satya termed as mobility of "Experience"

personal_productivity.png

It was good to hear about "trust" as a word and acknowledgement that it's becoming most important thing in the personal productivity space. Key point to note here was that today attack vectors come from multiple places - not only devices but also sensors, thus making security, identify management and prevention one of the core areas to focus on for the future digital initiatives.

There was an interesting demo of HoloLens, depicting how designing is done in 3D with collaboration across boundaries and time zones. I am sure that there are infinite possibilities around leveraging HoloLens and we are just figuring it out at this stage.

In summary, It was a good glimpse of Microsoft ambition and I personally feel the focus was to showcase Microsoft as a forward looking company looking to work more with other providers, erstwhile competitors (packages, productivity tools, devices, platforms, OS, etc.).  

This sure is a sign of good times ahead and I am excited to be a part of this journey in some small way. The summarizations can help any service provider to think of the new offerings, new models and new use cases to take to our clients and help them think about how best they can leverage the "power of digital" to improve use productivity, manage by exception, move faster, interpret data quickly, take advantage of the analysis to take quick actions and definitely reduce cost.

What do you think?

Source: you can watch the complete keynote here - Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, Vision Keynote, WPC 2015, Orlando -  Our journey together https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/video/videos/133385936

 

July 7, 2015

Heading towards Store Digitization

Jennifer was browsing dresses on the responsive website for her sister's wedding. Like a typical user, she was moving from one option to another, totally oblivious to the changes taking place in the entire value chain that brings her the content which she so greedily consumes every day.  

By the time she was done, she had pinned a dozen or more dresses and then hopped onto the nearest mall with her friends to enjoy the evening. Once there, her phone buzzed with an update that one of the dresses she had pinned was available at a store in that mall. In fact, that dress was on the store display since it gained maximum number of pins. Jennifer could not help herself and cantered over to the store immediately. As she entered the store, an interactive robot welcomed her by name. While she was still soaking in the ambience, the robot scanned her face and retrieved her entire purchase history. It then guided her to the relevant section of the store. 

As Jennifer removed selected dress from hanger, a digital wall displayed the same dress adorning a model at the fashion show held last month. She was also able to view information on digital wall about its fabric, designer and other interesting facts. Totally immersed in shopping experience, she carried on and tried the dress. However, the color did not appeal to her taste too much. Nothing to worry though. A tablet fitted in smart fitting room automatically scanned the dress with RFID reader and helped her find a different color. She selected the option and alerted the store representative about her new color choice. In a jiffy, an attendant had her preferred color dress available right outside her fitting room. She tried it and felt like a princess!

While in store, Bluetooth enabled store beacons sent personalized recommendations to Jennifer based on her purchase history and account information. As she browsed the recommendations, a pearl bracelet caught the corner of her eye. It was just too perfect to ignore and matched perfectly with the dress she had just tried. She wanted to check that out too. 

A store representative fetched the bracelet from second floor and handed it over to her. It turned out to be exactly what she hoped for but not of exact size. The store representative again sprang into action, this time on his iPad Store app and searched nearby stores where the bracelet might be available. By the time representative was done, he found a Collect+ store option en route Jennifer's home. She happily accepted the workaround.   

Then she proceeded to the self-checkout counter and scanned the dress on her way out. She didn't even have to look for a credit card because she had Apple pay on her smartphone. And as she was joining her friends again after the purchase, 10% additional discount coupon for her next purchase had already been credited as a personalized loyalty reward, her purchase history had been updated and the store had logged an inventory change. All within microseconds!

While this might seem like a Sci-Fi story, it has actually become a reality in today's retail world. Even though one store might not have all the features, innovations mentioned above are happening at breakneck speed. Example: House of Fraser announcement of Beacon equipped mannequins, Nordstrom labeling top pinned items, Lowe's trials with OSHbot to mention a few. Such integrated digital solutions have empowered retailers to connect with potential customers' like never before. 

But why is there an urgency to embrace digitization in store?

Technological disruptions are reshaping retail industry, sales through digital channels are up and customers are becoming far more informed and demanding. This is impelling retailers to collaborate show-rooming and web- rooming experience and innovate on ways to leverage their brick and mortar floor space in order provide an immersive experience to their customers.

So, how far have you reached in the journey of digitizing your store?

Changes at Microsoft - The Microsoft Dynamics Future (in the cloud)!

What was the greatest news for Jun 2015 to me, well professionally it was the changes made at the top of the ladder at Microsoft. Being associated with Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem for last 10 yrs., I have started to probably have an attachment to these products and ecosystem as a whole. From Microsoft Dynamics AX to CRM to NAV, I have been associated for a long time in various roles ranging from delivery to sales, and any change in this ecosystem, really makes me "excited".

Departure of Kirill Tatarinov from Microsoft Dynamics business looked like a knock from the hell at first sight. The person has focused a lot on this space, made this to a 2 Billion USD business, built a great team around the ecosystem, connected well with partners and above all managed to connect with other uniting Microsoft to take these products to the cloud and be available on multiple devices and browsers.

Is this departure a sign of change at Microsoft where they might be looking at doing away with this enterprise packages business, which they in any case purchased more than a decade back? With Satya getting cozy with all other enterprise players, this could be a possibility (read O365 foray, Office for iPad, etc.)!

 

However, as I mulled over this news, I soon realized that probably this is a change for better. If you read the internal memo that Satya sent to all Microsoft employees, few paragraphs (and I must say, very carefully worded) stand out.


  1. The subject "Aligning Our Strategy & Structure" - today this is the need of the hour. Many organizations are creating roles today to match number of leaders, rather than looking at reducing the often created silos due to this approach. Satya with this subject itself made it clear that the structure has to be aligned to the strategy for tomorrow. The collateral damage due to this restructuring is inevitable but in long run beneficial.

     

  2. Another paragraph"Scott Guthrie will continue to lead the Cloud and Enterprise (C+E) team focused on building the intelligent cloud platform that powers any application on any device. The C+E team will also focus on building high-value infrastructure and business services that are unique to enterprise customers, such as data and analytics products, security and management offerings, and business processes. Today, we are also moving the development teams who build our Dynamics products to C+E, which will enable us to accelerate our ERP and CRM work even further and mainstream them as part of our core engineering and innovation efforts. C+E will work closely with ASG to ensure the end-to-end experience is cohesive across communications, collaboration and business processes." - This is the best part! The dynamics service line was getting in cloud space but due to two different heads for cloud and dynamics, the real synergy was not being exploited. The solutions should be better positioned against competition in this model with integrated teams working on core products and everything around it like analytics, workflows, mobility, etc. besides this working closely with ASG (Applications and Services Groupwhich will would continue to be run by Qi Lu will help bring more focus on reinventing productivity. This will bring the true digital soul to dynamics as the solutions can now span across people's lives, both professionally and personally. Hence, the products now can get support from best of innovations across the groups.

     

  3. The paragraph appreciating work done by Kirill and team - "Kirill Tatarinov is going to explore what's next for him. Under Kirill's leadership, the Dynamics business has grown to a nearly $2 billion business with an ambitious wave of products on the horizon. Perhaps most important though, Kirill and team have shown us that participating in a meaningful way in the CRM and ERP market opens up new opportunities we can uniquely take advantage of by bringing Dynamics into Microsoft's mainstream engineering, sales and marketing efforts. I am very thankful for Kirill's unswerving leadership in bringing Dynamics to this point and building a strong leadership team to carry it forward." - This appreciated the work done, removing any doubts from the future of Dynamics as a service line and definitely integrating these products into the mainstream activities. The statement also means that a lot of folks in Dynamics who focus on product would continue to be seen as critical though they may have to expand their product thoughts and roadmap with wider Microsoft strategy. The clients will definitely gain with this wider and more mature focus in Dynamics ecosystem. The partners also need to change and think beyond core dynamics products and instead look at ecosystem offering.

     

  4. The section highlighting the new roles of the Senior leaders- "Chris Capossela, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (will now also take on responsibility for Dynamics and Education marketing) and Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer (will also now take responsibility for the Dynamics sales and partner organization)" - this means that now the marketing of Dynamics products will be centralized and more effective. At the time of Convergence 2015, I was mulling on the reason behind Satya mentioning that Convergence is no longer a Dynamics event but an enterprise event. This has become much clearer now. The integrated marketing and messaging would be seen increasingly. With the sales and partner organization under the COO, I am sure the partner ecosystem will see changes for good. 'Pure play Dynamics only' small shops may have to enlarge their play to be relevant in the new ecosystem.

     

     

No one can think of all that is coming, but I am hopeful that this is a great news for Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and enterprise software market. What do you think???


 



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