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Keeping an old concept relevant in today’s business landscape, social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) are still the key pillars of digital transformation. The more the consumers get hooked to what they see online on smaller screens, the more enterprises are pushed to innovate the massive amount of available data for better experience and solutions.

Imagine how a cell phone evolved in both design and function. Previously, it worked perfectly fine for messaging, calling, and taking pictures. But when applications and internet connectivity came along, its capabilities and value grew exponentially. This is similar to how we can compare a traditional business to a digitally-empowered one.

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyone’s lives, businesses had to find ways to survive and thrive. Almost two years into the crisis, some companies are doing better than others who are not able to keep up. Why? The answer lies in how they were able to successfully adopt and implement digital strategies and business models. 

Truth be told, companies will be left behind and worst, cease to exist if they fail to transform digitally – sooner than later. Bear in mind that a typical digital transformation lifecycle could start with a well-planned digital agenda followed by a realistic assessment. This involves revamping the organization's business processes and creating unique digital services and product propositions.

We all know that the integration of digital technologies into all business areas embodies the overall digital transformation process. SMAC, which has been a trend since years back, is still fundamental to changing how a business operates and delivers value to customers. Bringing technology and innovation together, businesses can then evolve with the rapid pace of digital change.

Social + mobile = flexible, online presence

No matter what the nature of a company is nowadays, having a strong online presence is a necessity. Focusing on the first two technological advancements – social and mobile – brings to light how important it is to have a digital impact and be accessible through smartphones.

The first stop is social. Customer management and branding can be easily done via social media. The impact of social networking platforms on individuals and businesses has been subjectively prevalent in the digital world. This resourceful area can make or break a relationship with a customer as well as the brand value and reputation.

Hence, startups or multinational companies alike should consider social reputation as a vital factor in digital innovation. From a wider perspective, business owners can connect to both prospective and existing customers and collect real-time, genuine feedbacks about the services or products they offer.

Embracing the social dimension of digital technologies, marketing and communications departments have made themselves well versed with social media to redeploy their strategy and actions, as well as improve their concepts of engagement. No doubt that the web has become a social space, which has allowed brands and businesses to develop a more intimate relationship with their audiences.

The second stop is mobility. With more smart devices evolving, the web industry is optimizing usual desktop web pages to be hand-and-pocket sized. Expanding your online presence is unimaginable without mobile phones, alongside laptops and personal computers.

Being a mobile-centric society, mobiles have become a more powerful medium to connecting people as it can be brought anywhere and enables various tasks as more technologies emerge. That being said, future devices will surely break into day-to-day scenarios and significantly increase the number of devices an individual will carry on a daily basis.

Internet of Things (IoT) and the bring your own device (BYOD) approach have become a norm in workplaces and businesses. Due to the hybrid nature of businesses now, the potential of smartphones to become more than a communications tool is being maximized. Aiming to be ‘mobile-first,’ innovative and disruptive business models are appearing, based on the use of mobile technologies.

Mobility is mandatory, particularly with businesses that are increasingly dispersed and virtualized, driven by the digitization of their activities and services across the board. With 5G deployment ongoing around the world, the world of mobility is bound to become more scalable, flexible, and reliable than before.

Analytics + cloud = simpler, smarter decisions

Making the best use of the collected data is crucial in redefining business strategies or planning ahead for the future. Thus, putting analytics to best use will help in targeting the right persons and deliver exactly what consumers want.

To be able to cater to the huge amount of data, businesses are using the cloud to utilize more technical resources as well as reduce the cost and complexities. Analytics and cloud go hand-in-hand, especially when dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Enhancing productivity, improving customer experience, automating processes, and maintaining machines, are done with the help of meaningful insights gathered through data analytics. The best course of action to take is leveraged with the core infrastructure being run efficiently via the cloud.   

With the emergence of robotics and smart machines with sensors, exploiting the data can be the key to better performance and stability. On the other hand, a customer-centric approach based on data can be integrated within the business to choose the right channels and convert more leads.

The foundation of the first three is robust cloud infrastructure. Cloud services serve as an essential base to store, share, and access data from any device, regardless of the location whenever needed. These include file storage and backup, web-based email and project management tools, video collaboration tools, application firewalls, and many more. Either it is in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments, the distributed system enables coordination, mobility, synchronization, and extensibility.

Typically, dedicated portals for users, collaborators, suppliers, and clients are built to access relevant information, including administrative and financial documents. This makes the cloud a single source of data that is always up to date. In fact, the cloud is the nervous system of a digital business. It paves the way of transmitting information to and from different devices or data sources.

These four ‘SMAC’ technologies have led the digital transformation of businesses. Affecting culture, strategy, communication, and results, putting all of them into practice is one of the most important considerations in tackling the challenges of a real corporate strategy in the digital age.

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