When leaders consider how technology has enabled the transformation of business models over the past several years, few would disagree that the world has changed dramatically. Retail, entertainment, music, and banking have largely moved online. It’s a familiar story: Netflix beat Blockbuster; Amazon beat Borders. More recently, Tesla has transformed the experience of buying, owning, and driving a car.

Tesla, Uber, and many other stories of business innovation have this in common: Their business models have technology at their cores. They’re in the software business, and they compete on user experience. They recognize that innovative use of technology is enabling new business models with competition-crushing advantages built right in.

This is why innovation programs have become so critical to sustaining the success of enterprises. Yet, many leaders have not accepted that their organizations need to change at the same pace as the rest of the world. They haven’t examined the explicit and implicit organizational values that could be holding them back from innovation. In addition, they may have yet to embrace and incubate innovation as an essential function of their businesses.

It’s essential that organizations foster innovation to keep moving ahead, implementing meaningful changes to help incubate innovation. We often suggest an innovation portfolio framework, outlined below, to accelerate technology-powered transformation.

Why incubating technology-focused innovation is important

Securing and maintaining competitive advantage now requires organizations to accelerate technology-powered transformation. Whether they use custom-built software or software as a service, organizations’ processes are orchestrated and supported by the software they deploy. The technologies they buy and build to support transformation are vital to their continued success. Businesses must remain ever-ready to innovate as an aspect of their routine operations.

Building the capabilities to refine and innovate new business models is critical. Two stories of innovation and competition illustrate this point:

Netscape founder Mark Andreesen has famously said: “software is eating the world.” He should know. In 1994, his open-source Netscape Navigator browser transformed the difficult-to-navigate world wide web with a user-friendly point-and-click interface. Soon after, Netscape achieved 80% of the browser market. In 1995, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer and, by bundling it with its winning Windows 95 product, swiftly eclipsed Navigator as the leading browser. Then in 2016, Google beat Internet Explorer with its Chrome browser, attaining this success on the strength of Google’s superior search technology.

Consider Domino’s, which redefined itself nearly a decade ago by transforming into a technology company. This iterative transformation started in 2015 when Domino’s redefined ordering pizza delivery via Twitter. Customers could tweet “#EasyOrder” or a pizza slice emoji to @Domino’s, and within 30 minutes, their pizza would be at their door. Behind the scenes, the company linked their customers’ Domino’s and Twitter profiles to enable this innovation. Domino’s knew each customer’s favorite order and preferred payment method. Does it sound like a lot could go wrong with this service? It did. Even so, Domino’s celebrates the experience as one of their early opportunities to become the technology company they are today. They’ve since added the next iteration, a chatbot, Order with Dom. They made the decision to be innovative, to be tech-first – and to change their culture.  It’s paid off, because through innovations like this one, they routinely top the list of quick-serve restaurants in the United States.

How to get into the software business

What does it take for an organization to shift from its current business-as-usual mindset and get into the software business? It takes incubating a winning innovation program, and that starts with knowing the customer and shifting the organization’s values. It takes adopting an innovation framework that accelerates the organization’s capacity for transformation.

Knowing the customer. Successful innovation takes presenting new value propositions directly to customers. Businesses can explore the journey their customers want to go on versus the journey they’re taking today. What they learn through such explorations leads to identifying tech-enabled ways to make customers’ lives easier and more convenient. As Jeff Bezos put it, speaking about Amazon’s development of the Kindle: “We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

Shifting organizational values. Innovation programs spur change – even to an organization’s own values. In particular: “failure is okay” is an essential value in innovative organizations. Without failure, organizations won’t change, because folks who should be fostering and pursuing innovation will be too busy playing it safe. It’s admittedly difficult to begin this shift as it requires change to organizational culture, values, and reward systems. But remember Domino’s? Their Twitter feature failed many times, but the company still counts the experience among its innovation successes, because they learned a lot through delivering and operating a revolutionary new service.

Establishing a framework for innovation

Leaders are starting to understand that innovation is a macro trend. When leaders reach that realization, they’ll want to bring all their authority to bear to incubate a strong and empowered innovation program.

First, they’ll want to consider where the function will reside within the organization, who will own it, and how it will be supported. They’ll want to ensure the owner of the innovation program has real power to make decisions and drive change throughout the enterprise. (Many organizations already have what they call an innovation program. It may be funded, and it may be operational, but if it lacks power to affect change, it won’t achieve transformational success. As mentioned above, leaders must be willing to tolerate failure to move forward.)

Once ownership and support are established, innovation leaders will want to take a portfolio approach to explore several innovations in parallel and balance investments across those innovations. The portfolio approach conveys this advantage: if the program is exploring ten or twelve new ideas, having one idea that results in significant transformation is a solid success for the whole innovation program. “It’s okay to fail” means only a few new ideas may flourish. If no innovations grow into significant transformation, it may mean the ideas are too wild or neglectful of customer desires. If all experiments grow into operationalized changes, then the team might be playing it too safely.

Ideally, it’s not just okay to fail. It’s great to fail fast to build momentum, maximize learning and manage risk. Failing fast means thinking big but starting small by pursuing time-boxed innovations. When the time’s expired, teams can review results and then scale up successful experiments. They can learn from failures by completing retrospectives in the agile way: exploring what worked and what didn’t while identifying underlying causes.

Innovation: an essential business function

It’s technology that drives transformation of business models today. Innovative business models have technology at their cores. Every organization that means to keep ahead of its competition must be in the software business, and that’s why incubating innovation programs has become essential to sustaining success and remaining competitive. Leaders can incubate innovation by acquiring deep knowledge of customers’ needs, adopting “it’s okay to fail” as a core value, and establishing a framework to pursue a portfolio of innovations swiftly. If an enterprise has not been changing at the same pace as the rest of the world, it isn’t too late to embrace and incubate innovation as an essential function of any business.

Learn more about Protiviti’s Innovation vs. Technical Debt Tug of War survey results.

Connect with the Authors

Christine Livingston
Managing Director, Emerging Technology

Chris Daniel
Managing Director, Cloud Solutions

Nathan Hanks
Managing Director, Emerging Technology

Digital Transformation

Following almost 3 years of enabling remote working, securing business operations and enhancing productivity levels, forward-thinking CIOs are stepping up to spearhead transformation agendas in Singapore.

Leveraging a once-in-a-career opportunity, IT leaders are building new strategies to accelerate the potential of digital, mirroring boardroom ambitions to create competitive differentiation in 2023 and beyond.

According to State of the CIO 2023 findings, 90% of CIOs say that their role is becoming more digital and innovation focused.  

Yet such ambitions come with a caveat as CIOs build a foundation for innovation in Singapore amid an environment of legacy systems, out-dated mindsets, talent shortages and rising threat levels.

The level of uncertainty in the current operating environment was evident, and whilst companies were seeing no real direct impact at present, there is a mixed approach to investment with some being “cautious” and others seeing it as “essential.”

Those in the cautious camp are seeing new investments being delayed. Whilst those who see it as essential have a mandate to change as their business model is being disrupted.

Building on Success

The pandemic raised the status of IT within organizations, and the fact the businesses continued to run was down to the fast actions of the IT department.

The shift to digital also sped up decision making across enterprises with decisions being made in days instead of months.

The risk appetite of enterprises also increased as the risk of not implementing a technology could have lead to the business not operating at all.

Tech budgets are also growing with the State of the CIO survey (APAC) 2023 seeing that  58% of APAC CIO’s expect their budgets to increase in 2023, with another 32% saying that it will remain the same as the previous year.

“We are seeing a continuation of interest in innovation from the prior year across organizations,” observed XXXXXXXX at VMWare. He continues “however what is interesting is where this innovation is happening – for some it is innovation in simplification, for others it is disruptive innovation.”

Taking Stock and Driving Value from Investments

With many investments having been made during the Pandemic with accelerated decision processes, there is an activity of “taking stock” of what has been purchased, and driving value from past purchases, whether it be hardware, software or services.

In some cases, this has led to a more complex environment, requiring enterprises to take a step back and to evaluate.

Simplification

A recurring theme is the need to simplify – whether it be applications or infrastructure, with the premise being a simpler structure is easier to manage.

“This is easier said than done, with 73% of enterprises using two or more clouds,” said XXXX. He continues “bringing the mixture of on-premise, public clouds, private clouds and edge together is key to moving forward and putting in place an architecture that not only works, but enables innovation.”

But this area is also the one where APAC CIO’s are seeing the greatest challenge with 42% saying that technology integration / implementation is the top skill required to support the ongoing digital business initiatives (State of the CIO survey (APAC) 2023), followed by IT/ Cloud architecture at 33%.

Overcoming Challenges

“Having the right partners is going to be key. As organizations struggle to find the right and affordable talent necessary to continue the innovation journey, bringing in partners who can share the load and bring their expertise is going to key.” Said XXXXXX. “We have worked with many organizations and have helped them overcome the challenges they face.

The top five areas where we see concerns are
1) risk related to security, data or privacy issues;
2) Inconsistent infrastructure in APIs, databases, networks and security;
3) the need to hire or maintain new, specialized skills to support public clouds;
4) the ability to manage / optimize spend; and
5) increased complexity from policies that manage individual environments.”

Innovation and Modernisation: What is the Appetite?

The appetite for innovation in Singapore is high, however the drivers of change vary. From strategic organizational change, where a de-centralization strategy requires splitting the business, through fundamental changes in technology, such as the shift to electric vehicles, and the impact on developing a new ecosystem.

New digital revenue models are also on the rise, with more organizations “white labelling” their platforms and licensing their usage to other companies. This has also allowed Singapore companies to expand to other geographies.

“A good example of this is Informatics Academy, whom we have worked with to modernise their IT infrastructure to better connect, secure, and coordinate operations across its global campuses in Singapore and the UK.” said XXXX.

The exploration of generative AI is happening across most organizations with ongoing projects to see where and how it can be adopted. Concerns remain with its use, especially around security and ethics. But the power of the tool is one that has most enterprises excited.

The challenge will be having the strategy to embed generative AI within the organization, and to also change the organization to take full advantage of the possibilities that exist in changing business processes.  

Tha ability to use generative AI to explore within a companies firewall to bring disparate data sources together is an area of great interest, being seen as a disrupting technology. It is clear that those organization that can adopt, embed, and change to take advantage of the power of generative AI will be better positioned for the uncertain times ahead.

Innovation is being ignited in Singapore.

VMware

This May, Thoughtworks is proud to celebrate 30 years of helping their clients across the world to build the modern digital businesses of the future through the application of strategy, technology and design. Since launching in 1993, Thoughtworks is now over 12,500 people strong with 50 offices in 18 countries.

Thirty years of leadership in any industry is a remarkable accomplishment. But especially in the rapidly changing technology industry, it demonstrates a relentless, company-wide commitment to innovation and client impact.

“It’s about more than just luck for us,” said Chris Murphy, Thoughtworks’ CEO of North America. “We’ve built into our culture this ability to proactively stay ahead of the industry, by attracting, growing, and retaining the passionate, diverse technologists who want to bring that thought leadership to our industry, to our clients, and to society.”

Murphy, who’s been with Thoughtworks for almost 20 years, has seen much of this growth firsthand. Thoughtworks was an early pioneer of agile software development, and has been fundamental to multiple industry innovations including CI/CD, microservices, evolutionary architectures, infrastructure as code, lean portfolio management, and data-mesh. They have helped hundreds of businesses to use technology to build leaner, more responsive, and more adaptive organizations.

“We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘Are we still relevant? Are we still innovating? Are we still continuing to bring unique, differentiating value to our clients?’” Murphy said. “And I’m proud to say that as long as we’re asking ourselves those questions, we’ll be able to see over the next 30 years the success we’ve seen over the last 30.”

Most recently, Thoughtworks launched its Engineering Effectiveness solution, which helps businesses empower their software engineering teams to deliver more customer value, more efficiently and more effectively.

“Since the pandemic, many organizations have invested in top-notch engineering talent but they’re seeing dwindling productivity,” Murphy said. “Now, how can they empower and retain that talent while delivering more customer value, more quickly, and with less wasted time? How can they improve the developer experience? These are just a few of the areas where Engineering Effectiveness can help.”

In Thoughtworks’ experience, some organizations utilize as little as 30% of their engineering function’s optimum capacity. Engineering Effectiveness helps developers to spend more of their time delivering value, while reducing friction and waste in their workflows. “This, to me, is really the next evolution of agile,” Murphy said. “It’s this systematic, scalable way of increasing productivity, so you can be nimble and get to market faster.”

Murphy now looks forward to the next 30 years — and beyond — of Thoughtworks industry innovation and thought leadership. As he said, “There’s no room for complacency. With the industry changing so quickly, organizations like Thoughtworks must continue to innovate and adapt.”

Of course, no one can predict exactly what the future will bring. But Thoughtworks plans to be there for it — continuing to innovate and lead technology-led business transformation.

“Thoughtworks has a 30-year history of providing a curated understanding of technological evolutions and applying them in real, practical terms to get real, practical outcomes,” Murphy said. “Our continued focus on that will give us the best opportunity to be at the forefront of embracing new technological changes as they come. And I think that’s very exciting.” Learn more about how to accelerate business-wide transformation with Engineering Effectiveness.

Digital Transformation, Innovation

Kettering Buccleuch Academy (KBA) takes pride in offering a fantastic experience for everyone who contributes to school life, from students and parents to teaching staff and management. The mixed all-through school – praised for its amazing staff, motivational lessons, and supportive community – is the first in its county to achieve all eight Gatsby benchmarks for careers provision and has achieved various other accolades through the years. KBA’s ethos – “the best in everyone” – encapsulates this, as do its core values that underpin the ethos: respect, ambition, and determination. 

The core of KBA’s success is effective communication with all stakeholders, both directly within the school and indirectly using technologies such as audio, video, and messaging systems, and employing these functions to enable better outcomes. This begins in the classroom but also includes the links between departments, with parents and carers, with partners and suppliers, and with outside authorities. As such, the academy holds its communications technology to a high standard. 

KBA has enjoyed the partnership of Avaya and its local delivery partner, UCAdvisor, for many years; however, it became clear that the school’s needs had outpaced its existing on-premises system. The aging solution was growing increasingly complex, consuming costs and time due to ongoing interventions. KBA had established a clear set of requirements for its future: 

Less IT maintenance with better functionality/user experience  

New handsets for faculty and staff 

Uncompromised reliability/availability 

Achieving innovation without disruption to its current environment 

Cloud-powered technologies (ex: automation to intelligently manage routine tasks)

Simplified admin experience 

Affordability (more cost predictability with no hidden or maintenance fees) 

The academy was keen to build on its valued partnership with Avaya and chose to deploy Avaya Cloud Office® by RingCentral to meet these new requirements. 

Less maintenance, improved functionality

“It’s critical that our communication lines to staff and parents are always open without the need for regular intervention or management. To deliver on our ethos of ‘the best in everyone,’ we needed to reduce complexity and overhead while increasing availability and functionality,” explained Adam Burn, KBA ICT systems manager.

Avaya Cloud Office provides everything KBA needs to be effective communicators, from a range of enterprise-grade, fully compliant, and secure communication features to feature-rich static handsets to application delivery on every device from any location. Communications management is now easier, centralized, and more convenient; staff can quickly find anyone else within the school, and messages can quickly be relayed to every desk.

Meanwhile, the range of Avaya devices available for Avaya Cloud Office is one of the most comprehensive anywhere in the world. Avaya devices provide integrated Avaya Cloud Office services that are also available to softphone users on mobiles, meaning instant communication lines remain open wherever staff may be. 

As a cloud-powered platform, Avaya Cloud Office requires no manual firmware updates. Everything is managed seamlessly in the cloud by Avaya; even the deployment of the system was delivered remotely with minimal impact on KBA’s operations. Everything has been simplified for smoother operations across the entire institution without disrupting what was already in place. 

Reliability and availability 

KBA wanted to move away from the ownership and management of a premise-based platform and instead adopt a completely cloud-delivered solution. Adopting a system based in the cloud means that it is always available, and the economies of scale with a secure multi-tenant platform means that no additional investment in Disaster Recovery is necessary (DR is built inside the cloud). 

Avaya Cloud Office provides KBA with their primary voice, video, messaging, and intelligent voice routing as standard and provides backup for other communication platforms if they are unavailable, such as texting and social messaging.

Better admin experience

With a central control interface for all school communications, including a powerful reporting and analytics suite, KBA is now able to review historic records and see exactly when calls were made, where they originated, and what route they took. This provides a valuable audit trail while enhancing the safeguarding of both students and staff. Reports can be generated at any time from any authorized user in any location, then extracted and embedded into other applications and documents.

Cloud-powered efficiency

One of KBA’s key requirements was to effectively automate the handling of routine and out-of-hours inquiries (i.e., opening times, absences, exam times, and excursion details). The school also needs to enable callers to easily navigate self-service options and reach staff or leave messages when necessary, and for these messages to be transcribed and emailed to staff. 

Avaya Cloud Office delivers with support for a dedicated auto-attendant (receptionist) and centralized control over automation, allowing KBA to quickly introduce changes or new information and to manage the timing and presentation of each message. The system also provides full transcription and text delivery to users, all of which has helped significantly reduce the burden on staff, increase response time, and improve the service delivered to parents. KBA is currently looking at deeper integrations between applications that will further enhance the school experience.

Affordability 

One of the best advantages of Avaya Cloud Office is the system’s cost flexibility. Avaya Cloud Office required minimal upfront investment and includes fixed monthly costs per seat, allowing KBA flexibility of consumption while managing spend and using only what they need. A strong understanding of requirements and a clearly defined approach also helped save a significant amount on upfront expenditure.

Bringing out the ‘best in everyone’

It only makes sense that an award-winning academy leverages an award-winning communications platform. KBA’s story proves that innovation without disruption is not only possible, but straightforward and uncomplicated. Avaya Cloud Office was fully implemented with minimal impact and is running successfully across the school:

Management overhead is drastically reduced, allowing IT to focus more on core activities.

Onboarding new users and licenses is simple, and cloud delivery with transparent cost structures means KBA only consumes what is needed with complete control of their budget. 

The school is now able to manage how calls are handled either through receptionists, direct to staff, or through an automated service delivery, and can keep an accurate log of all communication that can be analyzed and reported at any time. 

Overall availability is improved, parents are better able to reach and communicate with the school, everything is managed through one online application that can be accessed anywhere, and the system is always up to date.

Experience innovation without disruption for your business with Avaya.

Digital Transformation

By Ram Velaga, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Core Switching Group

As Thomas Edison said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it,” and I very much believe that innovation without execution is just another idea.    

As I recently discussed with Pat Moorhead and Dan Newman during a Six Five Insider Edition interview, I had been working at Broadcom for four years and wanted to work for a creative, technology-driven organization. Prior to the acquisition, Broadcom was viewed as a technology leader in networking, Wi-Fi and set top boxes. However, we were spending a lot of money without getting good returns for some of our newer investments in markets such as in mobile application processors or the 4G/ 5G modem space.

To be sure, that’s a reality faced by every company with an entrepreneurial focus; you place bets on new markets, not knowing for certain which ones will work out. The problem was that we were starving our core businesses while waiting for these other investments to bear fruit.  Not a recipe for success.

Little did I know at the time but I ended up in the right place at the right time. Not only was the new executive team intent on maintaining Broadcom’s technical reputation, but they came in primed to invigorate Broadcom’s tradition of innovation.  They kept the Broadcom corporate name to maintain continuity with that storied past as a global infrastructure technology leader built on 50 years of innovation, collaboration and engineering excellence.  Now, seven years later, I’m still here and running the company’s switching and routing business. 

While many companies reduce their R&D investments after an acquisition, Broadcom is just the opposite. Before the acquisition, about 1,300 people worked with me and we were investing a few hundred million dollars a year in R&D.  Today, we have roughly the same number of employees but have doubled our R&D investment. The result is that the money Broadcom invested is going back into the organization to support the work of our team members to do what they do best: innovate

Innovation has a shelf life

One of my managers always said that innovation “has a shelf life.” In other words, you can think all day long about innovation, but if you don’t execute, it’s worthless. 

I see how the challenges to innovation are getting more daunting all the time. Consider what’s happening in the chip world where Moore’s Law is coming to an end and we’re no longer getting the same transistor performance improvements we once did. Meanwhile, the amount of data being created due to video or artificial intelligence continues to explode.

That sort of challenge drives my team to find new ways to think about how to democratize networking by increasing performance while driving down costs. Our goal at Broadcom is to keep doubling bandwidth every 18 to 24 months. In fact, we’ve successfully been able to double the bandwidth of our chips, going from 3 terabits to 6 terabits to 12 terabits to 25 terabits to 50 terabits.  Quite a feat when you think about it, one that’s helped to drive down both energy consumption and price.  Again, executing on the innovation gives it value.

The impact of Broadcom’s innovation is felt everywhere with our technology connecting so much of what goes into our digital lives.

Connecting everything

Think about your mobile phone. There’s a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip that connects to an access point, which very likely also features a Broadcom chip. Then it connects to an Ethernet port that leaves your home through your CPE device that a service provider drops off – and there’s very likely a Broadcom device in there as well.  

More broadly, as data centers have taken advantage of all this compute capability being spread out in a distributed computing approach with computers connected by the network, Broadcom is at the center, providing the plumbing that enables everything to work as it should.  

Only an organization with innovation in its DNA could be successful with challenges of that magnitude. Broadcom is that organization and realizes that innovation requires execution to be successful. 

Watch my full interview here: https://www.broadcom.com/support/video-webinar-library?channel=1df82613aab84e06b432a1aacc31bd95&video=26adfc59bfbb4e5c99899639bb9486ae

IT Leadership

Creating new revenue streams, identifying untapped audiences and better engaging fans onsite and all year-round are just some of the wins iconic Australian sporting events are chalking up thanks to human-centric digital innovation.

If there’s any lesson brands should have taken from the last three years of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that investing in digital can deliver even more engagement – online and in-person. And with increasingly immersive technologies such as virtual reality, data-driven insight using artificial intelligence and creative video delivery coming to the fore, opportunities to unite digital with human-centred design principles to win in both physical and digital realms are growing.

The power of human-centric digital experiences is particularly apparent in the work Infosys has been doing to ensure leading sporting brands create unparalleled customer experiences. Here, we explore two stellar examples in the Australian Grand Prix and Australian Open.

Serving up digital innovations for the Australian Open

Using digital, immersive technologies and data to ensure fan engagement is even more immersive is also a long-term imperative for Infosys and Tennis Australia around the Australian Open. And this year’s event proved an unparalleled showcase of how physical and digital are coming together in innovative ways.

Among the highlights of the 2023 Australian Open were a revamped Match Centre 2.0, available on the AO website as well as mobile app for all matches throughout the tournament and providing fans with immersive insights such as Matchbeats, Stroke Summary, Rally Analysis, Courtvision and AI Commentary. A ‘win predictor’ also gave fans real-time predictions as each match progressed. Accessibility was equally in the spotlight, while an enhanced Infosys MatchBeats presented simplified game data and visualisations thanks to contrasting colour combinations that met Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA.

A host of AI Video Insights further powered on-court strategy and media reporting while giving fans, players and coaches unprecedented insights into every game.

In addition, an enhanced Player’s Portal with AI-generated videos democratised the level of insight available to players and coaches around game and competitor insights for post-match reviews and pre-game analysis. For example, Get into the Zone served up video montages of a player’s former winning performances, while an opponent tendency feature allowed players to view and analyse the statistical playing tendencies of their opponents.

And AI Shot of the Day also boasted of enhancements, enabling Tennis Australia’s media team to quickly analyse and post social media ready clips from the best shots of each day.

“For us, this has been a monumental and strong partnership with the Australian Open since 2019. Post each edition, our team takes a step back through an empathy led approach and assess data from all stakeholders engaging with the AO. This follows design thinking workshops to reimagine how our digital innovations can further enhance the stakeholder experience with the Happy Slam, make it more accessible, immersive and engaging. Our strength is digital whether it is AI, digital learning platforms or mixed reality and we combine it with a passion for tennis.

We’ve seen over 50 million fans engage with the digital innovations built by Infosys over the years with MatchBeats alone seeing 7.2mn views this edition, witnessed over 100 million views of footage generated by our AI driven innovations, launched physical platforms such as the virtual hub to engage 10,000+ key consumers of AO during the pandemic and are now going beyond with Infosys Springboard to nurture future leaders and Engage to leverage digital for sustainable futures. Over 11,000 fans engaged with our VR experiences which has doubled from 2022, highlighting a strong appetite for digital experiences. And being conscious of the future, our entire footprint this year onwards at AO 2023 was and will continue to be carbon neutral”, says Navin Rammohan, Vice President, Segment Head Marketing, Sponsorships and Events at Infosys.

Onsite, Infosys itself harnessed virtual reality in its fan zone activation. This allowed attendees to experience tennis in several creatively themed metaverse worlds, from a ride into hyperspace with moon tennis and battling thousands of flying tennis balls in a spaceship, to sparring with AO superstars avatars on centre court.

“Working with Infosys over the past five years has enabled us to set new benchmarks in fan engagement using digital technologies,” says Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director, Craig Tiley. “This partnership has enabled us to deliver new innovative digital experiences year after year for everyone associated with the tournament. We remain committed to making the Australian Open a global standard for a digitally-enabled sport that is inspiring, engaging, inclusive and sustainable.”

Focusing on the fans of the Australian Grand Prix

Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) General Manager of Marketing and Experience, Arthur Gillion, will never forget 13 March 2020. Just two days out from the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix sporting event in Victoria’s Albert Park Circuit, and hours before practice sessions were to begin, the event was cancelled due to Covid-19.  

“The world was watching. It was a hard moment to go through,” Gillion recalled during the recent Infosys Confluence event. “From a strategic perspective, what we had planned for the following years had to change. The way we approached brand management, from diagnosis, to strategy to tactics all flipped on its head.”

Yet even as the pandemic negatively impacted the physical race, it presented an opportunity for the AGPC to overhaul digital experience to create a more fan-fuelled approach.

“We couldn’t stop communicating or trying to provide some joy to the fans,” Gillion said. “The emphasis had to be on the digital experience. We were very innovative in that space to stay connected.”

Helping AGPC was strategic technology partner, WONGDOODY, the global human experience company of Infosys. Together, the pair reassessed AGPC’s digital ecosystem as a first step. Diving into data the organisation held about its fans to build insights that could be realised in added value and simplified, improved touchpoints was the overarching driving force.

“While AGPC had a lot of data, the team didn’t necessarily know what it was telling them,” WONGDOODY’s chief experience and design officer APAC, James Noble, explains. “The key was to work out what information was relevant, versus irrelevant, then use that to understand the different audiences and what each of those fans wants.

“Being able to convert that into a digital experience would make it easier for audiences to understand the Australian Grand Prix, lead them towards stronger engagement and in time, to purchase things like tickets.”

Focus shifted to digital content as the dominant mechanism for keeping fans connected, and to an annual timeline of engagement, rather than burst of activity surrounding the events. Owned platform articles, blog posts and a podcast series developed by AGPC took centre stage, with built-in capabilities making it easy for audiences to engage with and share content.

With the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix website the first point of touch from a brand perspective, giving fans what they want online is critical to any human-centric approach, Noble says. WONGDOODY helped AGPC understand its digital touchpoints, understood which customer segments AGPC were trying to attract, inform, educate and engage, and transformed this into a solution. The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix caters to diverse customer cohorts, from motor and F1 enthusiasts, to those who come for the spectacle, ‘culture vultures’ wanting to be seen; families on a day out; and corporate and sponsor delegates.

“It’s working out not only the user experience but the content strategy and experience and how that leads you through the funnel, as opposed to having people floating around with no direction,” Noble continues. “Do you want them to press that button? Or talk to that person? What is it you want to happen next?”

As AGPC began work to bring its physical event back, digital experience took on another vital role. A major achievement was improving the ticketing pathway online for the returning five-day event.

“There are lots of different permutations of tickets and it had been difficult for a consumer to understand what they’re buying,” Noble says. “We looked at the matrix of all the ticketing permutations and experiences you could have, put in a simpler interface and easier-to-use experience, and skipped all the doing it again to go straight to purchase. Just by that happening and knowing what ticket types were selling out, the AGPC team could make informed business decisions and understand where to adapt and create more of what’s popular.”

The work done as an organisation to lift digital innovation has without doubt delivered AGPC incredible growth. In 2022, almost 420,000 people came to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, up from 324,100 in 2019, adding more than $170 million to the visitor economy. AGPC also saw a 154 per cent increase in digital traffic during event week and a 218 per cent increase in traffic in the months leading up to the event. It exceeded 2.6 million unique visitors to the site in 2022, a 200 per cent increase on 2019.

Importantly, the first release of Grandstand tickets for the 2023 event sold out in under 3.5 hours, testament to the seamless purchasing process. This ticketing architecture overhaul has since triggered changes to the physical environment and decision-making driving further revenue growth.

For example, pre-pandemic, the F1 event had four private lounges. In 2022, there were eight, and this year’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix has 14. Being in the fortunate position of having much demand and selling tickets faster enables AGPC to shift focus quickly, and use insights to innovate physical experiences.

“Because the team knows so far ahead about what kinds of tickets are being sold, there’s an opportunity to create another stand or another section. The forward planning is so much easier and it’s adding millions to sales generated,” Noble adds.

Infosys

In April 1972, entrepreneurs Dietmar Hopp, Hasso Plattner, Claus Wellenreuther, Klaus Tschira, and Hans-Werner Hector started an amazing innovation journey, which culminated in SAP’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2022.

Together with our customers and partners, we are happy to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the SAP Innovation Awards. This award program extends the co-founders’ vision to create positive economic, environmental, and social impact; help the world run better; and improve people’s lives. 

From the very beginning, this program has recognized the achievements of future-minded organizations and individuals with fresh perspectives that have harnessed the power of the latest SAP products and technologies to achieve:

Sustainability and purpose by creating opportunities to accelerate climate action, regenerative economies, and prosperous communities.

Optimization by reinventingthe management of resources, including people, products, raw materials, and capital.

Data-driven decision-making by enabling effective business processes and real-time information flows across business networks, supply chains, and value chains.

The SAP Innovation Awards celebrate customers and partners who are exploring new ideas and business models to deliver real-world innovation:    

Empowering Women-Owned Businesses: WEConnect International helps women-owned organizations gain access to over US$3 billion in global purchasing power.

Digital Transformation Scales Equitable Opportunities: MOD Pizza automates and enables their new-hire processes to efficiently onboard 1000 new hires each month.

Scientific Predictions to Increase Sustainability: Jumbo Supermarkten is committed to forecasting the hourly customer demand of products and rolling it out to hundreds of stores.

This year, we received and published over 220 awards submissions that were filled with inspiring and innovative use cases. Our judges selected 30 outstanding submissions as winners across 10 categories from among the 70 finalists that were announced last month. 

With immense pleasure and pride, I’m excited to announce the 30 winners of our 10th Anniversary SAP Innovation Awards for 2023!

SAP

We thank all the individuals and teams who participated in the SAP Innovation Awards 2023, along with our judges. I personally look forward to the road ahead with our SAP ecosystem of customers and partners to positively impact this ever-changing and often unpredictable market.

Innovation, digital transformation, and agility continue to play a big role in helping manage successful outcomes for our customers.

Visit the SAP Innovation Award website to read more about the winners, honorable mentions, finalists, and participants and to learn more about the SAP Innovation Awards program.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has changed how businesses operate, making them more agile and responsive to the markets they serve. But this transformation has come at a cost: a rambling web of software tools and applications, cloud infrastructures, and decentralized application services. And this complexity presents a big challenge to IT teams.

In tandem with digital transformation initiatives has been the rise of the remote workforce, making traditional network perimeters a thing of the past. Many IT resources now operate outside the corporate firewall and are vulnerable to cyber threats of all kinds. The result? A much larger and more varied attack surface.

Tackling complexity and the security risks it presents

As complexity has taken hold, IT organizations have armed themselves with a litany of best-of-breed tools to tackle their most pressing security challenges. A Forrester survey found that on average, organizations today use 20 or more tools from more than 10 vendors to secure and operate their environment. Many large enterprises use upwards of 40 to 50 tools — all best-of-breed point solutions. This is tool proliferation in the extreme.

A best-of-breed approach works — if it delivers the results an organization is looking for. However, when organizations suffer from outage after outage and critical vulnerabilities and patches go unresolved for months, the merits of a best-of-breed approach come into question.

Many CIOs believe the sheer number of tools in their organization limits — not enhances — the effectiveness of security and IT operations. But for most security teams, the best-of-breed approach has been the only option available.

The tyranny of best of breed

Twenty years ago, IT management solutions came as legacy platforms. They provided unified functionality, and their architectures for monitoring and acting on the environment worked under the relatively limited requirements of that era.

However, around 15 years ago, rapid changes in computing (advanced threats, increasing scale, IaaS, virtualization, remote work, cloud) drove requirements in functionality and coverage those platforms could not adequately deliver.

Enter the best-of-breed approach. Enterprises were forced to start buying point solutions to address the gaps, and every nuanced need, every new desired feature, and every response to changes in the environment bred its own tool requirement with several vendor options.

But best of breed has several drawbacks. Each tool offers different visibility and different data. Tools are often expensive to deploy, learn, and upgrade. They’re often not extensible to accommodate changes over time, so they have short shelf lives.

Tool consolidation — the return of the platform approach

To address tool proliferation, IT leaders need to step back, set all their tools and biases aside for a moment, and perform a tool audit:

Identify the results and capabilities your organization needs to deliver regardless of tools and technology.

Go through each tool individually and catalog the capabilities it provides.

Create a Venn diagram to see where overlap exists between these tools. The overlaps are your opportunities for consolidation.

This audit will help inventory your current state and start the process of tool consolidation via a platform approach.

With unified security operations platform, CIOs, CISOs, and CTOs can:

Monitor and optimize software needs to reduce unnecessary spending.

Eliminate legacy solutions and reduce unnecessary point tools and the infrastructure required to support them.

Unify endpoint management and security onto a single console.

Rally your IT teams around instant, accurate, and actionable data to maximize efficiency and minimize risk.

Proactively monitor and resolve end-user performance issues to lessen the burden on IT support resources.

Reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and the number of tickets to improve workplace productivity.

Improve IT decision-making around critical software change initiatives.

Smartly manage hardware lifecycles using historical data to assess the need for hardware refreshes.

Looking ahead

Remote work trends are here to stay. The need to manage and secure all types of endpoints (in and out of network) will only increase. So, it’s clear that with a distributed workforce, IT teams will continue managing and protecting endpoints physically outside corporate firewalls. A converged platform that yields visibility, control, and trustworthy data to IT teams will only grow more critical in a hybrid work environment.

A converged platform can deliver measurable results, such as

Reclaiming assets, eliminating point tools, and modernizing IT to reduce costs.

Increasing team efficiency by offering an accurate set of data and tools to boost performance and improve decision-making.

Gaining greater visibility and control across teams to mitigate potential IT outages and their associated costs.

Learn more about the benefits of Tanium’s Converged Endpoint Management (XEM) platform and the cost savings it can bring to your organization by signing up for a Tanium ROI report.

Security

If you recycle, you’re living your belief that using and regenerating products or components in environmentally friendly ways is good for our planet and its people. By extension, you’ll likely find value in the circular economy concept. According to the renowned Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Through design, we can eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature, creating an economy that benefits people, business, and the natural world.”

The question: Are your product teams prepared to implement circular economy practices?

A personal view of a circular economy

As a child, I played nearby while my parents tugged thousands of rusty nails from used lumber salvaged from a weathered gray warehouse 75 miles away. That lumber formed the walls of our first home. We kept our garden busy year-round, rotating crops to replenish the soil. We canned, froze, and dried our produce because the closest grocery store was 25 hard miles and one-fourth of a tank of gas away. From peelings, stalks, and cuttings, we fed our pets. This was our circular economy, where we reused and repurposed everything until we used it up.

The push from the top to deliver against goals

Now, with 94% of organizations integrating environmental, sustainability, and governance goals into their strategy, CIOs, operations teams, and solutions engineers are under mounting pressure to produce results. One way to transform operations and deliverables is to consider circular economy practices when designing offerings. Unfortunately, many in design and development roles lack formal training in these practices and need help integrating them into their offerings while delivering against shrinking deadlines. 

How a rapid learn-and-pivot methodology can help

The good news: An agile, four-phase innovation methodology can jumpstart sustainable development by helping teams ask the right questions at each phase. With the underlying concepts in mind, teams can begin creating more sustainable products. 

To do this, teams must emphasize the “cycle”–starting with a traditional life cycle like the one shown but with sustainability at its core. Every team and team member involved in the product life cycle must consider multiple variables, factoring in the environmental and human impact of the offerings they’re developing and putting into the market.

The Innovation team at Iron Mountain uses a four-phase customer-focused methodology called Compassion-Driven Innovation.

In this paper–How to Accelerate Sustainability  – we’ve augmented that methodology by adding critical sustainability concepts and sharing our approach to integrating sustainability into innovation practices.

We’ve outlined the four phases of innovation—Include, Discover, Enlighten, and Activate—and included foundational information about emissions and circular economy concepts. We’ve also integrated questions about sustainability and related considerations regarding a product’s impact on society.

For example, in the Include phase, teams might ask questions like:

What are the sustainability considerations related to this area?What is the state of the art for circular practices in this area?How can a solution or process related to this area reduce waste, lower energy consumption, or cut emissionsHow might it impact societal considerations? For example, can it improve the user’s life?Might it take away or shift jobs? How can we be sure that it is non-discriminatory?

Using this approach, product design and development teams can have exploratory discussions with internal environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) experts and external customers to better understand a product’s potential impact. With this information, they can design offerings that benefit us all.

Every effort matters

My family had no words for what we did while living in our circular economy. It was simply a way of life passed through generations. We minimized our environmental footprint while reusing and recycling what might have been waste, minimizing pollution, and regenerating the soil. We thrived from it. That house built from those weathered boards still stands more than a half-century later, covered in rosy shingles just as my mom imagined–inviting us to gather and remember the warmth and joy we’ve shared inside. Someone else’s trash became our refuge.

No matter how small or insignificant, everyone’s efforts matter. Anyone who recycles, reuses, and repurposes materials contributes to sustainability and, to varying degrees, the circular economy.

More resources

A wealth of information exists on the circular economy concept, particularly from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation website. For more information about achieving your organization’s sustainability goals, see Rethink Sustainability.

Debra Slapak, Senior Director of Innovation Strategic Initiatives at Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain

Debra Slapak is a co-author of “Compassion-Driven Innovation: 12 Steps for Breakthrough Success”. She is senior director of innovation strategic initiatives at Iron Mountain, where she leads the team responsible for the global enterprise innovation thought leadership and research programs. Debra has led marketing programs at Dell and IBM, crafting thought leadership research, education, and outreach in areas such as enterprise edge and 5G, artificial intelligence, data analytics, data management, sustainability, metaverses, and unified asset strategy. Throughout her career, she has engaged with customers, analysts, researchers, subject-matter experts, and strategists to illuminate innovation opportunities springing from emerging technologies. She’s a registered nurse, adventurous chef, therapy pet handler, wife and mother, pet lover, and natural gardener in the fertile wine country of central Texas.

Digital Transformation

The financial services sector is undergoing rapid change as fintechs develop convenient, consumer-focused services that were once the province of traditional banks. We spoke with Siddhartha Gupta, Global Head of Application Modernization on Azure at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), about this trend and what financial services organizations need to do to improve their capacity for agility and innovation.

What are the greatest challenges that financial services firms face with their digital transformation initiatives?

Many established financial institutions have very good core business capabilities, but their technology platforms tend to be archaic and rigid. A modern bank must have an agile, open, and intelligent systems architecture to deliver the digital services today’s consumers want. That is very difficult to achieve when the systems running their business functions are resistant to change. This is the fundamental digital transformation problem that financial services organizations are facing.

These organizations have two choices: They can modernize their architecture and develop the technology they need in-house or collaborate with fintechs to do it for them. Many established banks are doing both—using the Microsoft Cloud to create a secure innovation bed as well as working with fintechs or buying some of their cutting edge technologies. The need of the hour is to transform business applications from monoliths to smaller, independently designed capabilities that can easily change and scale.

Across the globe, financial organizations are using cloud-native apps to create everything from payment platforms and credit card tools to systems for managing corporate rewards. Like the retail and media companies that adopted cloud-native services before them, financial institutions are learning that the more agile their technology is, the more customers they will attract.

Why are traditional financial services firms feeling an increased urgency to adopt a cloud-native approach to applications?

Traditional financial organizations are competing with digital native firms using technology as a key differentiator to draw customers. For these companies, offering user-friendly services such as digital wallets, lightning-fast payment platforms, and easy access to credit have become established norms. To remain relevant, traditional financial services firms must become as cutting-edge as fintechs. They must develop services that are more innovative, resilient, fast, and agile than those traditional banks can create.

This competitive landscape is increasingly driving banks to adopt a cloud-native approach to applications. To succeed, they must first build a culture of development within the organization. That means business units must be the owners of the applications they use, and they must work closely with application architecture and build teams to create world-class, innovative capabilities keeping in mind security and compliance.

Organizations must also be willing to continually adapt to change, which occurs almost daily in today’s business environment. They must adopt innovations as soon as they become available. A cloud-native architecture, which is designed for openness, makes that possible.

How can cloud-native applications help financial organizations drive innovation at scale?

A cloud-native approach drives innovation in several ways. It begins at the development stage, in which the business service owner, the solution architect, and the technology team all work together to develop effective microservices. Each party adds their expertise from the beginning, creating a seamless flow that eliminates arguments and time-consuming revisions down the road.

The second important characteristic of cloud-native applications is their flexibility. Business units can deploy and scale applications independently to serve their customers’ needs. They are not blocked behind a traditional monolithic system, and they can scale their services faster. When each business unit operates at maximum efficiency, the organization as a whole becomes more agile and responsive.

Why is the Microsoft Cloud the right environment for both financial services companies and the fintechs that serve them?

The Microsoft Cloud offers the right blend of services to help large or small financial services organizations create business-critical platforms and applications. One of the most valuable services is the Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service, which enables teams to build high-performance and resilient containerized applications that are always on.

Another strength is the Microsoft Cloud’s ability to enable “appification” and real-time integrations, which are key to achieving growth in today’s markets. We are seeing financial services institutions use these capabilities to create dealership networks and build new monetization models for mutual fund distributions, portfolio management, and
other digital services.

The Microsoft Cloud also helps financial services companies achieve their mandate of maintaining a secure, compliant environment and preventing fraud. Built-in AI and machine learning capabilities give financial institutions
better visibility into their threat landscape, enabling them to proactively manage incidents while reducing alert fatigue.

How does TCS help financial organizations with application modernization?

We see application modernization not just as a technology or architecture change, but as the gateway to a culture of innovation. We help organizations build that culture with our cloud-native development method, which is based on the Three Horizon Journey framework we use to help all businesses achieve digital transformation.

Our TCS Azure Application Modernization Service is a comprehensive offering designed to guide organizations on their digital transformation journeys. It helps banks and fintechs create a clear cloud strategy and a path for moving to an architecture that facilitates cloud-native applications and opensource technologies—the foundation of the
modern financial enterprise.

Learn more about how to build agile, cloud-native applications on the Microsoft Cloud.

TCS

Siddhartha Gupta, Global Head of Application Modernization on Azure, TCS
Siddhartha Gupta has over 25 years of experience helping global customers in the financial services, banking, healthcare, publishing, professional services, and retail sectors in building applications and
systems that are focused on creating business value. He is a proponent of the TCS cloud modernization strategy and adoption paths and evangelizes the adoption of cloud-native applications and integrations to drive business benefits.

Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Financial Services Industry