Software's Digital Disruption

Bhusan Chand, Vice President and Head of Practice, Fujitsu North America
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We’re living in a software driven society. If you need something done quickly and efficiently, you’ll more than likely find a software program that can support your needs. The shift in how enterprises formulate their business models, are a direct result of this trend and consumers have followed suit. We’ve seen a tremendous dependence on mobile apps for both personal and business use. Consumers expect instant gratification and businesses need to keep up with this demand! This has resulted in a burst of innovation in industries otherwise known to have a more traditional way of functioning. Whether it’s the AgTech, financial services or telecom industry, software innovation and the availability of mobile applications has provided a layer of convenience and led to industry disruption in sectors that have otherwise lacked in innovation.

Software Disruption in AgTech:

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has been happening in full swing and there is an ongoing conversation regarding IoT as it relates to almost every industry you can imagine. However, we’re seeing that in an industry such as the farming and agriculture sectors; innovation and advance technologies have slowly crept into place, ready to disrupt an industry in need of disruption. AgFunder reported AgTechfunding reached $1.75 billion during the first half of 2016 with 307 transactions. With self-driving cars and connected homes, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing technological advancements in how we grow and manage our produce, but to what extent have we seen software and applications impact this industry as a whole?

  ‚ÄčThe use of software has not only disrupted how we communicate, but also how companies package and provide their services  

In Japan, Fujitsu researchers converted an abandoned factory into a lettuce growing facility, allowing farmers to grow low-potassium lettuce in a controlled environment. Researchers used a data and analytics platform called Akisai, leveraging the Microsoft Azure cloud service to control the light and humidity in the facility. Not only were researchers able to grow lettuce with the help of innovative software, but they were able to do so using a mobile dashboard, tweaking the humidity, light and other environmental factors right on their mobile devices. This technology has transformed a traditional industry, changing the way in which we grow our produce. Traditional industries many times are reluctant to change, until we find innovations that prove added efficiency will always play a major role in how we live and work.

Telecom Service through the Cloud: The telecom industry has been shaken by the disruption of software and applications. Enterprises have had the ability to connect their employees across the world, with the use of a video conference line. Loved ones can connect to one another, without the hassle of being charged for dialing an international number. Software such as Microsoft Skype, has given people in both a professional and personal context, the opportunity to connect, no matter where they are in the world. Microsoft Skype has 74 million users and interestingly enough, it is the largest telecom provider with no telecom infrastructure. The software is entirely cloud based! Deloitte reported, among a survey of 4,000 respondents, that 25 percent of those who had a smartphone hadn’t used their phone to make a single call through their mobile network in an entire week.

The trend we’re seeing in how people use the software on their smartphones supports the notion that, software is truly changing not only how we communicate but how telecom providers package their services and offerings. If consumers can leverage Microsoft Skype or an alternative communications app, why would they opt for an expensive phone plan? The use of software has not only disrupted how we communicate, but also how companies package and provide their services. We’ve seen a similar shift in other industries as well, specifically in financial services.

The Elimination of the Bank Teller Role:

The financial services industry has seen a tremendous amount of modernization. The availability of banking apps has allowed for consumers to perform tasks and handle transactions that would normally involve face-to-face interactions with a banker. Outside of retrieving cash from an ATM, consumers truly never need to step foot inside of a banking facility!

As an example, Society One is one of the fastest growing banks and it has no capital. The Australian based financial intuition has a mobile-first business model and an impressive mobile interface that allows for users to perform transactions and participate in peer-to-peer lending. Through their mobile app, borrowers and lenders can connect instantly, essentially eliminating the broker. Not only are applications changing the way we bank but it is now shifting company budgets and hiring trends. If bankers are finding that they no longer need to wait in line to transfer money or deposit a check, banks will soon find that bankers and tellers’ responsibilities can transform into totally different roles outside of customer service.

With the banking industry continuing to grow and evolve, social tools and techniques are becoming crucial to a bank’s strategy. Understanding customer needs requires smart listening to both inside and outside the organization. Organizations today use enterprise social networks like Yammer to network, collaborate, share and discuss business data real time. Yammer comes along with Microsoft Office 365 and integrates with key business applications, including email and SharePoint. The game today is all about customer experience and going digital.

We live in an increasingly mobile-centric, software driven world. It’s a luxury that consumers may never be able to let go of. As consumers shift their behaviors to rely on software, enterprises react and industries are disrupted. Software has positively influenced—how we work and Microsoft has managed to support this trend with their groundbreaking technology. I’m certain we’ll see continued disruption as technology evolves.

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