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November 28, 2012

The CIO Mandate: Optimize

Posted by Chandra Shekar Kakal (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:49 AM

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Let's me begin, once again, with a client tale or two. 

Harley-Davidson contracted Infosys, in a 5-year agreement, for management of over 1,400 business applications, end to end infrastructure management and data center to network to help-desk. We have been engaged to optimize their local services delivery center in Milwaukee, also connected to their worldwide network, to ensure the center delivers elastic computing capability. Then, there's a class I American railroad company that we're helping by moving their datacenter operations to a private Cloud. Just consider this large building with hundreds of servers, routers, networks and cooling units now packed into a few boxes all set to go on a Cloud. We'll take charge of the management of their legacy applications with no disruption in business continuity. Once installed, the new setup will bring down costs for the enterprise by almost 50%. Yet another case, is that of Ricoh in Europe. We helped them move their entire infrastructure to a private Cloud. This move rendered redundant over 1000 servers! Ricoh was awarded the prestigious Green IT Award 2012 in the 'Best Cloud/virtualization project of the year' category.

Focus on IT infrastructure, and how CIOs are seeking to gain additional leverage from investments already made, is gaining momentum. With infrastructure hogging a significant bulk of their budgets, it's almost inevitable that CIOs must look to optimize this investment for greater scalability, flexibility and sustainability. Analysts believe, very soon, 3 out of 5 data centers will be less than half their current size, and yet process 300% larger workloads than they conventionally did. With the Cloud taking a giant leap in recent years, the possibilities for infrastructure optimization are only limited by the technology organization's data center strategy and road map, or the lack of it.

I am talking about the operational complexities of data hosted partly on-premises and in parts on private and public Clouds. Consolidating this distributed data - from a highly fragmented and hybrid environment - into a center is no small challenge. Then, there are the hurdles of data generated by a remote global workforce using personal devices for work. CIOs must support the security and assurance needs of this business-critical data as well. Given that this is the picture today, I'm not surprised that enterprises are expected to invest close to US$ 46 billion, in 2012 alone, in data center outsourcing, as estimated by analysts.

Nor am I surprised to see CIOs carefully investigating the track records of innovative partners, with new-wave thinking, and demanding to see solid evidences of the fruitfulness of their innovations and investments. I wouldn't do it any differently.

November 26, 2012

Technology, Mother Nature and lessons from hurricane Sandy

Posted by Sanjay Jalona (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:02 AM

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Tune in to the audio post here*

* This is a recording, by professional voice talent, for your listening convenience.

I spend lots of time in the New York metro region and have many friends and colleagues living in the area hit hard by hurricane Sandy several weeks ago.  Millions were impacted directly by the storm with entire neighborhoods devastated, massive power outages and mile long queues for gasoline.  Whether the storm was a result of global warming may be open to debate but it's clear that rising sea levels and changing weather patterns are likely to create similar destructive storms in the future.

The post-storm rebuilding will continue for years but we need to be thinking now about how to be better prepared for the next natural disaster.  We'll never harness the boundless power of mother nature but technology can provide early warnings and give us an edge in dealing with the disruption.  These past weeks have shown us where technology can make a big difference in saving lives, mitigating damage and improving our actions in response to natural disasters of this magnitude.

Sandy created extensive flooding beneath the streets of Manhattan leaving millions without power and subway tunnels full of seawater.  The state's governor acknowledged that the city seems to get slammed a "100 year flood" every few years now.  Dozens of neighborhoods are more susceptible to flooding and the prospect of building sea walls to keep the potential floodwaters at bay doesn't seem like a crazy idea anymore. Using embedded sensors throughout the city's infrastructure to monitor the storm surge will provide data to help government officials, utilities and emergency responders plan timely responses to flooding and power outages.

Fortunately, many citizens were aided by web communications like Twitter which have rapidly evolved.   We saw how Twitter was used recently by young people in the Middle East to advance the "Arab Spring" leading to the downfall of several oppressive regimes.  But in Sandy's aftermath the tables were turned and government agencies, non-profits and utilities were actively reaching out to citizens to share information and direct people to assistance.  Twitter itself published more than a hundred account names and hash tags for organizations including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Red Cross, state government agencies and local mayor offices. We also know that Cloud technology was an unsung hero to business and consumers.  Acquiring virtually unlimited capability to back-up business and personal information on a Cloud server located hundreds of miles away in a safe facility is a no-brainer.  Disasters like Sandy continue to validate the Cloud model.

In the future, I expect other innovative technologies to play an important role in post-disaster activity when the most critical issues have been identified and brought under control.  My friends have recounted stories of waiting in gas lines for over four hours, only to be turned away when stations ran out.  Applying predicative analytics to understand how an individual's behavior will change in response to a disruption like a power outage can help officials and businesses plan more effectively.  Although everyone in the same geographic area will be impacted, individual responses are likely to be varied.  A homeowner with an emergency generator may not respond in the same way as his next door neighbor now sitting in the dark.  Likewise, families with gas sipping hybrid vehicles may be less anxious about having to wait in long lines to fill their tank than their friends with gas guzzling SUVs parked in their driveways.  Having insights into how people will respond under specific circumstances allows officials and suppliers to be more effective in allocating scarce resources and building resilient supply chains.

But what's most interesting to me is the potential for corporations to really help their customers in a time of great need and demonstrate social responsibility.  After a natural disaster, people are looking to meet their most basic needs.  People need food, fuel, cash and lots of other things we take for granted in our developed world.  I asked a friend which mobile apps provided the most value post-Sandy and without hesitating he responded that his Dunkin' Donuts app won hands down because it informed him which stores were open in his area complete with a mapping capability.  In contrast while his bank's app expressed their determination to serve their customers "during this difficult period", there was no way to determine which branches were open or had operating ATMs.  Effective digital marketing can be a differentiator in good times and bad.

I'm hoping we never have another storm like Sandy and maybe I'm too optimistic.  But with the effective use of technologies like pervasive computing, Cloud computing, big data and digital marketing we can blunt the impact of the next disaster and make it easier for people to cope.

November 22, 2012

The CIO Mandate: Transform

Posted by Chandra Shekar Kakal (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:28 AM

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Recently, Infosys was selected as sole partner by one of Europe's top insurers to run their strategic IT services; but with a difference. We are contracted to help them, over a period of 7 years, not just with IT activities but to transform and execute allied customer-facing operations as well. This was followed by a similar move by a consumer products giant. They struck a 5-year deal with us not just for application maintenance, but to manage all their indirect procurement and business processes, in 15 different languages, impacting customers across 100 countries. These are not just two stray instances. I can clearly see the trend. In a fragile global economy, as enterprises find their value chains increasingly pressured, CIOs - alongside business - are taking on the transformation mandate and helping strengthen the value chain.

One of the CIO's chosen strategies is integrated sourcing for business IT services.

Down the years, I've worked out contracts with clients who chose to run their business supported largely by 'tower-wise outsourcing'. By 'tower-wise', I mean entrust infrastructure management to one partner, perhaps business process outsourcing to another, package implementation to a third, maintenance of these applications to a fourth partner and so on. Today, I see these towers slowly crumbling. CIOs are looking to hand over, not just stacks of IT service responsibilities to qualified vendors, but vest charge - ranging from infrastructure management to applications development and maintenance, including business process outsourcing - to one able partner. And then hold that one partner accountable, not just for stack-wise IT program success, but for business outcomes enabled by corresponding service level agreements. This way, the CIO's outsourcing partners directly impact the enterprise's business transformation agenda.

So, who is best equipped to support this emerging CIO strategy? Naturally, it's those technology partners who have integrated business IT services to offer; bringing together service lines like application development maintenance, ERP package maintenance, infrastructure management, validation services, Business Process Outsourcing and all that seamlessly to create greater synergy and deliver on enterprises' business mandate - not just the technology program mandate. I am also inclined to believe that technology service providers who take a hard look between the crevices that divide their services are better equipped to create value. Consider, for instance, how it's conventional for the CIO to engage partners for infrastructure management and then application testing. Now think of the value to be unearthed when this same partner takes on the onus for infrastructure validation. No, not just for independent validation of applications or just infrastructure management, but end-to-end infrastructure testing to help the CIO deliver reliable and efficient infrastructure at all times. And what if this testing is so mature that it can address risk diagnostics and even disaster recovery readiness? And all of this good stuff across the entire enterprise IT infrastructure - on private Cloud, public Cloud and the on-premise portfolio? 

Now, isn't it easy to see why the CIO might want to look beyond the boundaries of individual IT services and integrate sourcing to transform the value chain?

November 16, 2012

Ready to Rethink your Business Yet?

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:41 AM

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The challenging business environment is clearly compelling organizations to think anew. Of course, most enterprises appreciate the need to 'rethink the business' but I am uncertain if we all pursue this agenda - down the ranks - with equal enthusiasm. With 'rethinking' perceived to be mostly synonymous with colossal structural alterations and deep-rooted changes in strategy, I suppose I won't be entirely incorrect in saying - several prefer to defer, delay or deny the inevitable not wanting to give up the comfort of the familiar or even perhaps risk business continuity. But rethinking the business need not necessarily be an agonizingly painful period before the enterprise emerges stronger in a happier future, as several of us may well imagine. It can be as simple as developing new or even just improved existing capabilities, with a holistic view of the larger business intent, through a framework for small but strategically significant multi disciplinary change.

Why should 'rethinking the business' always entail colossal plans for ambitious makeovers that entail months of rigorous change management. It can be as simple as strategizing to grasp the customer's needs just before she does...Staying one small but crucial step ahead of the competition...Getting one more advantage from technology investments...Or bringing a little more value to the business ecosystem. These simple but significant steps can accrue to build a stronger and more resilient business organization with the prowess and agility to respond to changing business dynamics effectively. In summary, businesses can 'rethink' without the anguish of 'rip and replace' undertakings...by planning and continuously executing small improvements or innovations that give them a marginal advantage, however small, in a changing market...and in effect let's them be 'the last man standing' even through an economic downturn.

So, what does 'rethinking the business' simply and effectively actually translate into? To develop an achievable agenda for small but strategically significant multi disciplinary change, I think, a good place to get started is taking a hard close look at the pillars on which rests the foundation of any business - customer experience, the products & services portfolio along with productivity and operational efficiency. This would play a critical role in creating a clear understanding of the Lag Indicators. Then businesses must also invest in establishing a direct pipeline for feeds into the enterprise for customer insights, competitor moves and other macroeconomic changes churning outside of the organization. A robust engine must be instituted to funnel it all for analysis and a mechanism established to feed this intelligence, in a meaningful and relevant form, to the entire ecosystem of business participants. This would paint an accurate picture of the Lead Indicators relevant in the context of the business. 

Continuously leveraging understanding of the Lead Indicators that strategically impact Lag Indicators, can point enterprises in the right direction towards simple and effective change. Effective empowerment of employees would then be crucial to enable customer touch points to take prompt decisions and create superior customer experience. More synergies in the partner ecosystem, to collaborate and arrive at product/service offerings best suited for customers, would be that last mile. Everything geared to grow in confidence and build the necessary momentum to hurdle the challenges around.

November 14, 2012

No Patents. No Inventions. No New Products. Yet Innovative.

Posted by Simon Towers (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:58 AM

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How so, you ask? Well, I've been looking at some idea champs in China. The first - Haier: The largest home appliances company in China. Their innovation model is all about tailoring products, invented elsewhere, specially for the Chinese consumer. For example, they added an anti-mud clogging feature to the regular washing machine. And here's why. Chinese farmers use washing machines to clean their veggies! And with 50% of China's population concentrated in its rural areas, this is big business.

Then there's Wahaha the beverages giant. They make up to three to four more launches than their competitors. No research, no data analysis and no formulations based on such insight for this maverick that simply prefers the trial-and-error approach. (Consumer tastes change much too rapidly to stay apace is their belief). So, where does Wahaha find all those product ideas anyway? Employees. Any employee who contributes a winning product idea is rewarded with a generous cash prize. Little wonder, they are a great wellspring of ideas.

A third example. China traditionally has a huge challenge delivering coal from its mines to its power plants. Long distances separating the mines from the plants, rail systems operating in silos at the province level, a very fragmented supply chain and a system that's mostly cash-dependent (Very few Chinese banks have financial options for coal transcations) have created this situation. Enter Tader Coal Net. They've transformed the business and in just 10 years of setting shop, are now the largest privately run coal supply chain company in China. They did this by integrating logistics, trading and finance management. They can be a buyer, seller, financier of transactions or any combination of these roles, on demand.  

So, are these ideas adding any value at all? Are variations on already existing themes real innovations? Well, I think, there's place for both revolutionary and evolutionary ideas. If ideas are born to create and nurture "good enough", no-frills,  pragmatic solutions, that also make money for the ideator, why not? And if this means, looking beyond fancy, eye-catching and dramatic inventions...then again, why not?  

November 12, 2012

Dimensions of Innovation

Posted by Sanjay Purohit (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:06 AM

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I began my journey to rediscover innovation several years ago when we started to consolidate our views around Building Tomorrow's Enterprise. We clearly saw the 7 mega trends shaping the future and already had an enviable track record in internal innovation through our client delivery processes. But, we needed more insight into the various dimensions of innovation and the wide range of approaches adopted by global organizations to reshape their businesses. And, that's when I started visiting client sites - in fact over a hundred of them - seeking insights around innovation. What emerged was a truly robust view of innovation which eventually converged into a simple framework to help understand innovation along 3 key dimensions, which I see as a cube.

I recently had an opportunity to get a quick read on the state of innovation, using the cube, at the Infosys Executive Leadership Summit in Atlanta, attended by senior executives representing over thirty Global 2000 companies. The first dimension we polled was: Where is the maximum focus for innovation - products or services, business models or business practices? When asked to prioritize, a majority of respondents (52%) selected innovation around products and services. I was a little surprised given the intensity of innovation we're seeing in new business models (30% of this audience). But an executive representing the communications industry made a clear case for product and technology innovation since the industry has limited greenfield opportunities. After all, product innovation can be a strong differentiator - enough to create barriers for competitors and keep customers from defecting.

The second dimension we polled was scale: What is the extent of innovation? What defines the breadth and impact of innovation achieved through incremental initiatives; adjacent innovation to extend products/services/markets; and disruptive innovation that fundamentally changes the rules of the game. Disruptive innovation emerged the top priority (47%), reflective of the hyper-competitive environment we live in today. The third dimension analyzed the approach used by the organization to drive innovation: How do you realize innovation? Incubate, co-create or innovate with the ecosystem (eco-create)? Most companies (45%), in our sample, used an internal incubation approach with formal organization structures and governance models. Co-creation with a partner was the second most popular choice followed by eco-creation with the organization's wide global ecosystem (23%, given that this approach is the most complex, albeit highly effective).

We spent the rest of the time discussing various facets of driving innovation. Managing the economics of innovation emerged as a significant pain (42%), while the role of leadership was underscored yet again (43%). Not surprising though, 33% of the organizations indicated that innovation momentum is best driven through employee engagement. What's the ideal model? Is there one? Even a simple 3 x 3 x 3 framework describing the context, scale and approach towards innovation creates 27 separate paths to innovation nirvana! But it's more likely that organizations are traveling several paths simultaneously. What innovation paths does your organization follow?

November 8, 2012

Because, Corporate Social Responsibility is more than Window Dressing...

Posted by Raghavendra K (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:55 AM


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Recently, when our ''Project Genesis' touched a great new milestone - over 1,00,000 students trained, it set me thinking.  Some forty years ago, Milton Friedman famously declared that the "Social responsibility of business is to increase its profits." If he were alive today, would he still have dismissed corporate social responsibility as window dressing? We'll never know. But what I do know for sure is that CSR has come a long way from being a footnote in annual reports or well-intentioned corporate action to emerge as a driver of societal welfare.

One of the areas where this is most apparent is education. In Japan, a chemical industry conglomerate has launched several initiatives to rekindle interest in science including a program in science and environmental education for fifth graders, a camp for older students, and awards for teachers showing outstanding creativity and innovation. This is a great example for us, in India, as we grapple with the shortfalls of a weak educational system, one symptom of which is that of the 350,000 - 550,000 engineers graduating each year, just 10-25% is readily employable. The situation is somewhat comparable for graduates in non-technical disciples as well. Lack of soft skills - in communication and problem solving for instance - and a lack of understanding of the workings of a corporate environment are what prevent most students from being employment-ready. And making that seamless transition from campus to corporate. The problem is often concentrated in the smaller towns and cities, and it's quite obvious that the great Indian divide, which exists between the privileged students from the country's top colleges and those from more modest institutions, is largely to blame. 

We leaders of Indian industry can take a leaf out of the Japanese book to invest in initiatives promoting both technical and soft skills education.  I think, the most effective way to do this is in partnership with academia and local government, by training the trainers or supporting apprenticeship programs, for example. While such initiatives will serve to, perhaps, erase socio-cultural differences to some extent, and create immediate economic value by expanding the workforce, more importantly, these'll do their bit to bring about game-changing progress in India's ailing technical education system.  In a sense, taking a view like this, changes the very semantics of corporate social responsibility to entail not just return on investment but return on innovation....imagination even.   And that, to me, is the trump card. 

November 7, 2012

Why it's important for them to say "I do"

Posted by Mukul Gupta (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:55 AM

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My story begins with a plan in a Scandinavian country to expand its railway system. If you've ever talked to people in countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway, you know Scandinavians take great pride in their public transportation systems - especially rail. Even though these countries have relatively small populations with high per capita automobile ownership, people nevertheless enjoy travelling by train because of how easy and economical it can be. The rail system in Scandinavia is so successful that a couple of years ago, one of the governments wanted to expand certain stretches of its system to two tracks from just one.

The first phase of the railway expansion was met with resistance from community groups who believed that doubling the number of tracks in certain densely populated urban areas was a bad idea. They instead advocated re-routing the tracks away from the dense neighbourhoods to relatively unpopulated areas a few miles away. Lucky for the project, the transit authority had a good command of the importance of stakeholder management. What they quickly deduced is that mostly everyone in the country was in favour of an improvement to the rail system. What some stakeholders objected to was merely the expansion in a high-density area. Transit officials deferred the project until they could find an alternative route. They reasoned that although the project would be delayed a bit in the short-term, the solution would have a buy-in from the most crucial stakeholder - the user. Contrast that with the other option: going forward with the project without taking into consideration the objections of a sizeable number of stakeholders. Even though the project might be finished on time (that is, provided community groups did not take legal measures to block or delay the new construction) a percentage of the population would remain unhappy with the outcome. Now, here's what is equally interesting: When it was time for the transit authority to think about the second phase of its expansion, they made certain that they engaged all stakeholders early on and explained the advantages of the expansion. The result was that there was little or no opposition to any of its construction plans.

Now, consider this situation. When executing a technology-led transformation program, go up to any line manager and say to me, "You've got this big thing going on here. What's the vision? Paint a picture for me. How's the company going to be any different in the next 12 to 18 months when this is done?" Several times, they can't even see it. So, of course, they couldn't have bought into it. And if they havn't, will the transformation program really deliver on its true potential?

Beyond superficial change management awareness creation and training, how much time and energy do enterprises really invest in stakeholder engagement before-during-after transformation? Is the transformation partner able and willing to take on the lead role to ensure stakeholder adoption as an integral part of the transformation initiative? I believe these are crucial questions that the business must ask before embarking on that transformation journey.

November 5, 2012

ICD-10 is Inevitable but so are its Benefits

Posted by Eric Paternoster (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:48 AM


The US presidential campaign is in full swing and we've entered the final stretch leading up to election day.  The economy is a central topic with taxes front and center.  Regardless of which side you're on, each candidate has his own plan for reforming the tax code to alleviate the burden on the middle class and jump-start the economy.  The final outcome for tax reform may still be up in the air, but an equally transformative change in healthcare is certain to happen with ICD-10 adoption, healthcare's equivalent of the tax code in terms of its complexity.  And while the candidates argue over who benefits with their tax plans, smart adoption of ICD-10 can lead to more efficient, effective and higher quality healthcare for everyone.

For the uninitiated, the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10) defines the codes for diagnosis and reporting which US healthcare payers and providers must comply with by October 2014.  Simple enough in concept, but the transition from the current ICD-9 will add more than 50,000 new diagnostic codes and 67,000 new reporting codes!  The magnitude of this change brings obvious challenges in understanding the impact of compliance, completing upgrades, training users and managing the transition in a timely manner.

ICD-10 changes should be viewed as an opportunity to deliver benefits and not as a compliance mandate.  The additional granularity in coding can result in fewer rejected claims for payers with more efficient billing and reimbursement processes.  Expanded clinical codes will enable providers to enhance disease and case management.  The application of analytics will help identify complications associated with treatments that can improve the quality of patient care.

ICD-10 implementation can be the forcing function that drives transformation.  Compliance provides an opportunity to adopt best practices and implement solutions that bring alignment around the organization's long term business strategy and technologies.  Organizations that have been successful in deploying ICD-10 consider the full transition lifecycle covering assessment, planning, remediation, testing, training with analytics and support.

Healthcare providers and payers making the transition should be looking at providers with deep domain expertise who can provide end-to-end services to ensure fast track compliance and without impacting revenues or cash flow.  Consulting services establish a migration plan that addresses interdependencies needed to align different initiative and accelerate overall remediation.  An integrated product suite that's modularized to support transition from ICD-10 can accelerate transition in a cost effective manner and ensure revenue neutrality. Last, a solution provider should be able to deliver data analytics capabilities that lead to improved patient care.

ICD-10 transition may be inevitable and painful, but there's plenty of opportunities to be uncovered that will improve patient care... and that's certainly worth the pain!

November 2, 2012

Feeling Down? Release Innovation!

Posted by Sandeep Dadlani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:47 AM


Sometimes it's really hard being pessimistic about the future. Sure, the economy is still growing at a snail's pace and we're in the throes of uncertain economic times.  But I've been watching several marketing related innovations that continue to evolve brand relationships with the customer at the center.  Here's a shortlist of topics that's bubbled up to the top - each trend is changing how we perceive and interact with customers.

First up, social media.  Nobody can deny the impact of social media which has changed marketing forever and is arguably the greatest innovation in marketing. People are no longer faceless data or customer numbers, and they are more connected than ever. Marketing is shifting from company-focused to customer-focused, resulting in more engaging, transparent, and targeted content. With marketing automation, sales and marketing departments can align by delivering digital campaigns to generate leads and nurture them down the sales funnel--all while measuring the ROI!  Think 'share' marketing over 'tell' marketing: distributing quality content for free (blogs, ebooks, white papers, videos, webinars, infographics, etc) to establish a brand as a thought leader in its industry. Giving cred to the CMO, the prediction is that in the next few years the majority of technology investment will be in marketing.
 
We've seen how social media created chaos for marketers.  The power shift to consumers is well underway and the customer voice has the power to exponentially boost or destroy brands. Innovation in customer service is taking off.  Using cloud platforms for social listening and publishing, brands can now proactively monitor social networks to see what their customers are saying and take action in real-time. Loyal "superfans" are rewarded with exclusive access (new products and services) and recognition (personal branding), which converts them into advocates to their peers. Customer social data is also being appended into CRM databases, creating a new level of personalization for buyer preferences.

The market for social media platforms is consolidating, fueling an arms race for enterprise social marketing suites. This creates innovative, holistic platforms that are driving towards a convergence of social and BI.  New platforms will incorporate internal social networks, data and insights, social engagement and monitoring, and social marketing. At Oracle OpenWorld, Larry Ellison provided a case example with Lexus. Using Oracle BI, Lexus starts by analyzing 5 million tweets, 27 billion relationships, and a million hashtags. Then narrow down to active athletes tweeting about the Olympics. Segmenting data by cars, Olympics, celebrities, sentiment, market reach, and brand, Lexus can determine who their next celebrity spokesperson should be!
 
The workplace is becoming virtual, and round-the-clock access to data, analytics and business functions aren't necessarily limited to physical offices. Extending applications to mobile devices empowers an on-the-go workforce by providing on-demand access to ERP/CRM, approvals, sales, service, expense reports, and projects information. This can enhance revenues (enhanced customer service), reduce costs (increased efficiency and less infrastructure), and increase customer satisfaction (improved responsiveness). Given the landscape of competing devices, platforms, and backend technologies, mobile strategy is a financial and development challenge for enterprises.

In the past, multiple websites had to be designed for different screen sizes, which was very resource intensive. Enter responsive web design, an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience--easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling--across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). Page layouts and media are coded according to a fluid proportion-based grid, and adapt to the viewing environment as the screen size changes.  Innovative web design engages users to provide an optimal experience.
 
The physical world is also yielding to the virtual world and the boundaries are becoming more fluid as multi-channel marketing becomes takes hold.  The virtual experience is becoming tightly integrated with the physical world as marketers knock down functional and process siloes to create rich customer experiences.  Virtual channels are being used to enable new, more convenient shopping experiences.  Augmented reality is being used to engage customers with entertaining games and activities that extend and differentiate brands.  For a  more in-depth analysis of this phenomena, read "Real. Virtual. Same Difference" by my colleague Samson David.

From social media to mobile, bridging virtual and physical worlds, these trends will continue to shape our interactions and provide rich opportunities.  Like I said, it's hard not to be excited about the future.  Stay tuned.

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