CEOs’ decisions today to pursue digital-first strategies for greater revenue growth are defining their company’s competitive strengths in the future. CIOs and their teams are being challenged to drive a larger percentage of revenue growth in 2017 than ever before by providing IT-based insights daily.
- Enabling faster revenue growth, improving products and replacing obsolete technologies are the top three CEO priorities have for CIOs in 2017.
- 42% of CIOs say “digital first” is their company’s go-forward strategy for IT investments in 2017 and beyond.
- 33% of CIOs consider revenue growth as their primary metric for measuring success with their digital business strategies.
The New Economics Of Real-Time Integration
IT teams are taking on the challenge by concentrating on those areas that can scale the quickest and deliver measurable revenue results. They’re finding that the integration approaches taken in the past don’t match the speed that customers, sales, suppliers and senior management need today. A key takeaway from CIOs’ initial efforts includes the finding that making small improvements in data latency can increase sales win rates in 90 days or less while improving cost controls. Improving data latency is one of the key factors driving the new economics of real-time integration, which is defined below.
- Integrations’ Inflection Point Has Arrived – Digital-first initiatives for defining new channel, selling and product strategies require more speed than batch-oriented integration can deliver. Customers now expect real-time response across all sales and support channels on a 24/7 basis. The pressure to drive greater revenue through digital channels and deliver a consistently great customer experience are forcing an inflection point of integration technologies today.
- Batch-oriented approaches to integration fit well in an era of transaction-centric IT. Asynchronous, tightly-coupled, and relying on ETL for moving data around an enterprise network, these approaches were better suited for more predictable revenue strategies. In contrast, going after new digital channels is unpredictable and requires real-time integration to deliver excellent customer experiences. Service-oriented frameworks that support synchronous data consumption and have low latency are emerging as a better choice for digital-first revenue strategies. Based on loosely-coupled integration points, these frameworks are capable of quickly adapting to new business requirements. Companies including enosiX are revolutionizing services-oriented frameworks by removing the roadblocks legacy integration approaches created. The following graphic illustrates integrations’ inflection point and how past approaches to integration are giving way to more synchronous, loosely- coupled service-oriented frameworks capable of scaling faster to drive greater revenue.
- And it’s fueling faster development cycles, reducing time-to-market and improving app and web services quality. The apps, web services, and APIs needed to launch a digital-first strategy don’t exist off-the-shelf, ready to be deployed for the majority of companies. Every company needs to create customizations to existing apps and web services, or create entirely new ones to support digital revenue strategies. Availability of real-time data through service-oriented frameworks is revolutionizing how apps, web services, and customizations get built. With real-time data designed in, it’s possible to test new apps across more use cases and ensure higher quality too.
- While also enabling IT teams to exceed stakeholder expectations and their goals for digital-first strategies. Integrations’ inflection point is the most visible in how CIOs are now considered more responsible for revenue than ever before. From the initial revenue strategy definition through project managing apps and web services to delivery and producing revenue, CIOs and their teams who see themselves as business strategists excel in their roles. IT teams and the CIOs who lead them are seeing signs of integration’s inflection point every day. They’re seeing just how urgent the inflection point is, and how it’s redefining the economics of how they orchestrate systems together to attain revenue growth. The insights and expertise CEOs, VPs of Channel Strategy, Marketing, Cloud & IT Infrastructure, and other senior management team members have needed to get quickly translated into apps, web services and digital first strategies that capitalize fast on new opportunities. Only through the use of service-oriented frameworks that can scale to support new revenue processes can any company compete in 2017 and beyond.
These and many other insights are from a recent survey completed by MIT Technology Review Custom and Google Cloud, Machine Learning: The New Proving Ground for Competitive Advantage (PDF, no opt-in, 10 pp.). Three hundred and seventy-five qualified respondents participated in the study, representing a variety of industries, with the majority being from technology-related organizations (43%). Business services (13%) and financial services (10%) respondents are also included in the study. Please see page 2 of the study for additional details on the methodology.
Key insights include the following:
- 50% of those adopting machine learning are seeking more extensive data analysis and insights into how they can improve their core businesses. 46% are seeking greater competitive advantage, and 45% are looking for faster data analysis and speed of insight. 44% are looking at how they can use machine learning to gain enhanced R&D capabilities leading to next-generation products.
If your organization is currently using ML, what are you seeking to gain?
- In organizations now using machine learning, 45% have gained more extensive data analysis and insights. Just over a third (35%) have attained faster data analysis and increased the speed of insight, in addition to enhancing R&D capabilities for next-generation products. The following graphic compares the benefits organizations who have adopted machine learning have gained. One of the primary factors enabling machine learning’s full potential is service oriented frameworks that are synchronous by design, consuming data in real-time without having to move data. enosiX is quickly emerging as a leader in this area, specializing in synchronous real-time Salesforce and SAP integration that enables companies to gain greater insights, intelligence, and deliver measurable results.
If your organization is currently using machine learning, what have you actually gained?
- 26% of organizations adopting machine learning are committing more than 15% of their budgets to initiatives in this area. 79% of all organizations interviewed are investing in machine learning initiatives today. The following graphic shows the distribution of IT budgets allocated to machine learning during the study’s timeframe of late 2016 and 2017 planning.
What part of your IT budget for 2017 is earmarked for machine learning?
- Half of the organizations (50%) planning to use machine learning to better understand customers in 2017. 48% are adopting machine learning to gain a greater competitive advantage, and 45% are looking to gain more extensive data analysis and data insights. The following graphic compares the benefits organizations adopting machine learning are seeking now.
If your organization is planning to use machine learning, what benefits are you seeking?
- Natural language processing (NLP) (49%), text classification and mining(47%), emotion/behavior analysis (47%) and image recognition, classification, and tagging (43%) are the top four projects where machine learning is in use today. Additional projects now underway include recommendations (42%), personalization (41%), data security (40%), risk analysis (41%), online search (41%) and localization and mapping (39%). Top future uses of machine learning include automated agents/bots (42%), predictive planning (41%), sales & marketing targeting (37%), and smart assistants (37%).
- 60% of respondents have already implemented a machine learning strategy and committed to ongoing investment in initiatives. 18% have planned to implement a machine learning strategy in the next 12 to 24 months. Of the 60% of respondent companies who have implemented machine learning initiatives, 33% are in the early stages of their strategies, testing use cases. 28% consider their machine learning strategies as mature with between one and five use cases or initiatives ongoing today.
The difference between CIOs who lead and those caught in never-ending reactionary cycles is often a strategic IT plan and integration roadmap. It’s the CIOs who take the time to create and pursue an integration roadmap that has the greatest chance of breaking out of always reacting to IT projects and leading them instead. That’s because the majority of inbound requests center on data, reports or analysis only deliverable by integrating two or more systems together.
Five Ways Integration Roadmaps Are Putting CIOs Back In Control
Based on conversations with CIOs across a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, aerospace, financial services, and retailing, five factors emerged that led to creating integration roadmaps and getting in control of IT spending and priorities. I’ve summarized these five factors below:
- Integration roadmaps are proving to be an effective catalyst for driving purpose-optimized integration strategies, reducing middleware costs in the process. CIOs who create and continually improve their integration roadmaps are prioritizing purpose-optimized integration strategies to more efficiently scale global operations. Creating real-time integration links between SAP and Salesforce is one example of how CIOs are using purpose-driven integration to reduce customer response times for information, improving customer satisfaction in the process. Enabling real-time, bi-directional data updates without requiring complex middleware coding and mapping of data is a challenging task, and innovative startups including enosiX are excelling in this area today.
- Defining a path for reducing ETL spending and dependence on logs to troubleshoot errors and measure performance.Reducing their dependence on ETL is giving CIOs and their teams much more flexibility in how they manage IT It is also freeing up system analysts to work on new projects instead of troubleshooting integration issues. With no automated error handling or recovery mechanisms, many CIOs are gradually phasing ETL out for more modern integration technologies that eliminate error logs altogether.
- Investing in the latest technologies that enable business process and application logic is making IT more responsive, helping them break out of a bureaucratic reputation. When I asked CIOs about the best way to increase responsiveness to internal customers, they wanted integration technologies capable of scaling across the back office and selling systems to make them more responsive. By having integration technologies that enable business process and application logic, the time-consuming, and often error-filled, the task of enabling new business processes manually goes away. And, when IT can react faster, their bureaucratic reputation is also on the way out too.
- Choosing to reduce and eliminate hand-built adapters and connectors from their IT infrastructures to free up support funds and time on urgent IT project needs today. One large-scale industrial equipment manufacturer has a staff of software developers and engineers who do nothing but keep adapters and connectors written in ABAP running across their ERP, Manufacturing Execution Systems, quality management, and supply chain systems. With production centers in the Midwestern US, China, and Europe, the ABAP team is always busy but never innovating. They are just ‘keeping the lights on.’ Having an integration roadmap is going to get this manufacturer out of the situation they are in today, which is draining dollars and time from IT.
- Move closer to quantifying the value IT delivers by showing how an integration roadmap provides support for cutting maintenance costs, consolidating apps and introducing new platforms. The ROI of IT often hinges on how effective CIOs are at reducing costs and still delivering a median or average level of service. By having a plan in place to attack integration challenges and costs, CIOs can immediately prioritize steps to improve service, reduce costs, and attain department and corporate goals.
Originally published on the enosiX blog, Five Reasons Why Every CIO Needs An Integration Roadmap In 2017.
Integrating ERP, CRM, and legacy systems lead to greater manufacturing innovation, setting the foundation to move beyond business models that don’t stay in step with customers’ fast-changing needs. Bringing contextual intelligence into manufacturing that centers on customers’ unique, fast-changing requirements is a must-have to keep growing sales profitably. By integrating ERP, CRM, SCM, pricing and legacy systems together, manufacturers can provide customers what they want most, and that’s accurate, fast responses to their questions and perfect orders delivered.
Integration Powers Manufacturing Innovation
Enabling a faster pace of innovation in manufacturing starts by using systems and process integration as a growth catalyst to profitably grow.There is a myriad of ways integration will transform manufacturing in 2017, and the top 10 ways are presented below:
- Real-time visibility across selling, pricing, product, manufacturing and service improves the speed of customer response and makes planning easier. By integrating legacy SAP ERP systems with CRM, pricing, product catalog, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and service, telling customers in real-time the status of their orders is possible. Having real-time data on manufacturing operations provides planners with the visibility they need to optimize production schedules, including fine-tuning Material Requirements Planning (MRP). By orchestrating these areas of manufacturing more efficiently, customer satisfaction increases, the potential of upselling and cross-sell improves and less order fulfillment errors turn into higher profits.
- Making analytics the fuel manufacturing needs to move faster, attaining time-to-market goals and exceeding customer expectations. One of the quickest ways manufacturers are going to use integration to fuel greater growth in 2017 is by using analytics to measure operations from the customer’s perspective first. From quality management to order fulfillment and meeting delivery dates, every manufacturer has the baseline data they need to begin a customer-driven analytics strategy today. Integration is the catalyst that is making this happen. Making quality a company-wide focus begins with real-time integration of quality management and broader IT systems. enosiX has taken a unique approach to real-time integration, streamlining quality inspections and inventory control for beverage equipment manufacturer Bunn.
- Improving new product success rates by integrating CRM, pricing, product catalog, service, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems are enabling manufacturers to create new product lines that drive new business models. For consumer electronics and high-tech products manufacturers serving B2C (business to consumer) and Business to Business (B2B), speed and time-to-market are a core part of their business models. Capitalizing on the speed of customers’ changing requirements is more important to stay ins type with than competitors, however. To do this, manufacturers capturing feedback from service and PLM systems and then putting it into context using CRM systems can innovate faster than competitors who track each other instead of customers.
- Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) will continue to be one of the most effective strategies manufacturers can use for accelerating sales in 2017, made possible by the real-time integration between ERP, CRM, pricing and manufacturing systems. Winning new customers and closing deals often comes down to being faster than competitors at delivering accurate, complete quotes and proposals. By integrating CRM, ERP, and pricing systems manufacturers can trim days and in some cases weeks and months off of how long it takes to produce a quote or proposal. CPQ will continue to accelerate in 2017, gaining momentum as more manufacturers move beyond their manually-based methods of quoting and opt for more integrated approaches to excelling at this vital selling activity.
- Industry 4.0’s many advantages including creating smart factories are dependent on the real-time integration of traditional IT and manufacturing systems increasing production speed and quality. Engraining greater contextual intelligence into every phase of manufacturing increases shop-floor visibility. It also makes planning more efficient and customer-driven. The key to revitalizing existing production centers and getting them started on the journey to becoming smart factories depends on the real-time integration of IT and manufacturing systems.
- Personalizing pricing strategies by customer persona and segment using real-time integration between CRM, pricing, accounting and finance systems to optimize profitability. Manufacturers doing this today also have propensity models that define which customers are most and least likely to accept up-sell and cross-sell offers. For many manufacturers, this level of pricing precision is possible today with greater systems integration. By having pricing strategies defined by persona and segment, measuring just how much speed and time-to-market matters to each is possible by measuring sales rates of new products and services.
- IT system security companywide improves with tighter real-time integration as long-standing legacy systems are updated to enable greater connectivity with newer systems. When manufacturers choose to pursue a more focused, urgent strategy fo systems integration to improve manufacturing performance, system security often improves companywide. It’s because longstanding legacy systems, often the most vulnerable to unauthorized use, get re-evaluated at the operating system and integration levels. The result is company-wide IT security improves when real-time integration is attained. For manufacturers where 70% or more of their materials and costs are from outside their owned production centers, this is more important in 2017 than ever before.
- Sensor data generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with advanced analytics is transforming manufacturing today and will accelerate in 2017. Manufacturers with globally-based operations are piloting and using IoT strategies in daily operations today. A few are working with semiconductor manufacturers to design in their specific requirements at the chip level. Having real-time integration in place between ERP, CRM, pricing and services systems provides the scalable, secure foundation to build advanced analytics and IoT platforms that can scale over the long-term.
- Market leaders in manufacturing are designing in real-time integration to their connected products, enabling new sources of revenue. General Electric’s approach to monitoring jet engines in flight and providing real-time data to aircraft manufacturers including Boeing and airlines globally is an example of how integration is enabling entirely new business models. A global aerospace manufacturer who requested anonymity is working with integrated circuit developers Broadcom, Intel, and Qualcomm to create chipsets that can provide sensor-based data on an entire jet’s health in real-time anywhere in the world, anytime.
- Greater visibility and speed are coming to supply chains, enabling manufacturers the ability to take an accepted quote and turn it into build instructions in real-time. Automating the steps of taking a quote and turning it into a bill of materials, scheduling the best possible work teams, and orchestrating parts and materials all is becoming automated from quote approval. From a customer’s perspective, all they see is the approved quote and activity starting immediately to provide the products they ordered. By having this level fo real-time supply chain integration, speed becomes the new normal and customer expectations are met and often exceeded.