December 5, 2017

Across the globe we see and hear executives rave about Facebook, Alphabet (parent company of Google) and General Electric. These giants are making big money, influencing decision-making, and crafting new success stories. A great part of their winning formula has been the savvy use of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile digital devices, and the Internet itself. They have used those technologies to improve the value of their products and, in some cases, transform them into services.

But financial markets are demanding and competitive. They force public companies to make sound investment decisions. Making such decisions on technologies to deploy requires matching the right automation technology to the right situation at the right time. It’s impossible to remain a passive observer as these technologies are transforming the industrial landscape. Each of us has a stake.

The current edition of our management journal, Perspectives, examines the collision of new technologies and business opportunity – i.e., their transformational effect on businesses. We look at current thinking across sectors and from various viewpoints. We look at solutions for leaders who are eager to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

If you’re a manufacturer you must explore how your products can be smarter and better connected. Using sensors, software, and wireless connectivity to build an ecosystem of connected products, you can move to a customer-centric, closed-loop system and connect directly to your end customers. The economic potential from doing that is immense.

Cloud-enabled digital simulation has become pervasive. It opens new avenues that let you ask questions and test ideas like never before. Today, affordable simulation from public cloud vendors enables even small companies to simulate many aspects of their business.

Companies that use agile approaches to building new processes and systems, and manage changing priorities in the digital marketplace will enjoy a competitive edge. Today, since so many customers interact online with the companies they do business with, the ability to offer a great customer experience now depends on how fast a company can upgrade its customer-facing digital processes and digital products.

While IoT technologies, such as digital sensors in products are giving manufacturers a competitive edge, the technologies are also exposing their information systems to unauthorized manipulations. You must be ready to address such looming IoT security threats.

There’s a lot of fear today that artificial intelligence is going to kill many jobs around the world. I believe that the right way to adopt AI and boost productivity is not through layoffs. The most successful companies will figure out where AI can help employees, and if their work can be automated, what critical new jobs they could fill.

While most of us know the growth stories of today’s corporate giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Netflix, not many have considered the winning characteristics of their top management. We identified five executive traits of these digital leaders. Each of those companies has tapped into cloud, mobile devices, and AI, and is now enjoying great success – both in their longstanding and entirely new businesses.

To see some of the opportunities from the confluence of emerging technologies, read my article The View Inside: Technologies Collide and Industries Transform.

With more than 20 years of global consulting experience, Krishnan Ramanujam is an expert in the execution of complex, global transformational initiatives for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.Krishnan focusses on driving profitability for organizations by spearheading their evolution from IT-centric to customer-centric models that streamline and align business functions. With a keen understanding and deep knowledge of key industries, market changes and client needs, he has directed the development of new products and solutions that successfully facilitate this transition to realize maximum business value.