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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mal Postings, CTO, IT Advisory, Ernst & Young (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, Nov 6th 2011

SM: What you’re talking about is the consumerization of technology and the fact there are so many devices coming into the enterprise [world]. Will the enterprise support the applications on these devices? How does that plug into the enterprise Internet, Intranet, whatever, enterprise IT system? There’re two slightly different questions. The question I was asking you was somewhat different from the question that you are now going towards.

MP: Okay. Let me give you an example in health care. A doctor and nurse go to a patient’s bedside in the hospital. Each has a different device. The doctor, she has a certain device, maybe an iPad, whatever. As she walks to the bed, automatically the information for this patient comes provisioning on her device. She has technology on her device, so she works on it. Equally, on the other side of the bed, the nurse, he has a different device. He has different information that’s also pertinent to the person in the bed. They work at the bedside, and then they walk away. Automatically, as they walk away, all this information is reprovisioned back to the database. That is new, what I call, location-based provisioning type services.

Here’s the E&Y spin on it: Imagine you’ve got the wrong identity access management. This is the way that he world’s moving. What I’m looking at for E&Y is we understand the technologies and where it’s moving with the location-based and mobility and different devices, different users. But behind that is identity access management service. People don’t see what’s happening behind the scenes.

SM: I think the point that you’re underscoring is the challenges of access management, authentication, identity management, the entire security provisioning authentication issue that becomes vastly complicated.

MP: In the mobility world where it’s real time, and it’s your iPhone base, absolutely.

SM: What do you see as the impact – speaking of the consumerization of technology – what do you see as the impact of social media or social networks or the social behavior of employees within an enterprise.

MP: Social media is such a generic topic, we have to break it down into component parts. For sure, social media within the enterprise, which goes back to share point and the whole collaboration, what companies are now also thinking is how do we use social media within our supplier network. Now, that’s more difficult. Typically, with your GM or whatever, your suppliers have been used to being linked into a supplies portal. How does a supplier portal, which is a website, move into more of a supplier community like website. Intermediaries, in financial services, is different from manufacturing, which is like bringing your goods into the market. Intermediaries are summoning your goods out of the market, but then again, intermediary portals are dying. It’s now, how do we use social media in that intermediary space.

I think the third one is direct from a consumer base. How does a Nike or a Bally or whatever directly communicate with the end consumers? Is it through Facebook? What are the different channels? The new, exciting on, to be really honest here, is what I call communities. I’ll give you an example, again, in health care. The new emerging engine is relation as [Don] Tapscott  mentioned with Wikinomics, is saying, we’re into a world of more consumer informed people. So, I’m going to go to a site and say, I’m a sugar diabetic – even though I’m not – and I’m going to say, who’s going to advise me? What medication or what fit nurse, what diet should I have? There’s what they call community websites, community clouds. Community clouds are really big. Companies are sharing information. Information is an asset. It’s not directly related to revenue, but it’s saying, we’re going to educate you. Therefore, we hope that in educating you in these areas through different community websites, our brand will offer some kind of pull through in a revenue kind of way. I think that’s the new message.

SM:  Yes. I think your points are great. My observation is that the biggest impact that social media is having is in the world of CRM. CRM has gone to social CRM, essentially. Customers are now touching the brand or enterprise through so many different channels, whether it’s social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn whatever. That’s having serious effects on multiple parts of the eco-system. Let me give you some examples. For example, I run this company called One Million by One Million, our virtual incubator. Let me give you two examples of companies in our program that are speaking to some very interesting trends. One of them is called Stanzr. This company allows you to do a community chat.

Let’s say you sell something – let’s say you’re an IBM or SAP or Microsoft whatever – and you have a pipeline of customers. Salespeople are always trying to nurture a lead pipeline. So, what these guys do is they allow you to have a chat event, a scheduled, timed chat event where you invite your warm leads to come into the session and ask questions and have discussions. It’s a group discussion, and they have the provision of streaming the entire discussion into the social media channels.

Let’s say your whole discussion is being tweeted simultaneously. So, what’s happening is the activity on Twitter is catching the attention of other people who can then come into the chat room and then participate in the conversation. You can take that chat and publish it. As a result of that, it’s creating other challenges from an integration point of view. Who came to the chat? You know their Twitter handles. Now, you have to reconcile the Twitter handles with the CRM system and make sure that this is logged as one of the activities in this particular opportunity or prospect. It’s a fairly complex business process that is being generated as a result of a nifty way of engaging customers.

MP: I love the story, but we’re moving away from a world of — dare I say, — RFIs (request for information), RFPs (request for proposal), into a world of, “you know what? I’ve got an idea out here. Who are my trusted advisors in my trusted network? Let’s go play in this area for six or seven weeks,” and then we’ll throw the gates down and say, “well, yes, it’s going to be a university in China working with HP in Cupertino.”  The whole world of RFI, RFP is dead, going forward. We have to realize that we’re talking about big companies here that have big money to spend.

How do we create a new paradigm based on what you’re saying and my thinking as well? It’s very exciting. I think, at the moment, we’re looking at very low level models, and we’re looking at new high level models. Nothing yet is hitting the mark. It’s almost like we need the new iPhone or iPad for how we do consulting. It’s almost as big as that.

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