Enterprise Mobility - Mobile World Congress, Adventures and Lessons with Kevin Benedict

Diginomica's Jon Reed interviews Cognizant's Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation and Mobility, Kevin Benedict on what he learned this year at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.  This year 93,000 people came together to learn and review the newest mobile, wireless and connected smart technologies at this event.  Much has changed in the past 12 months and this interview covers many of these trends.

Video Link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jwkhZgck1U


Southeast Asian Banks Are At A Digital Transformation Crossroads

Banks have been at the epicenter of economic growth in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by the fact that nine out of the top 20 companies in the region (in market capitalization) are banks. Southeast Asia is undergoing a gradual but massive shift driven by digital technologies, and in anticipation of the enormous emerging opportunities, the banks are in the process of building up their digital capabilities. They are now offering cool mobile apps, providing tablets to their employees, making mobile wallets available and providing many other features to help their consumers manage transactions smoothly. It appears as if banks are gearing up for the future, with the objective of digital transformation remaining central to their present and future strategy. With this thought in mind, we started analyzing the annual reports, quarterly results, and investor presentations of the nine banks in the region in the hope of getting some interesting insights into the future of the banks. Nevertheless, our efforts reveal some grim findings:

-          Only one bank outlines digital as a well-established company-wide strategy

-          Three banks mention ‘digital’ in their financial reports on an ad hoc basis, but digital transformation is not a well-established strategy

-          There is no mention at all of ‘digital’ by five banks in their annual or quarterly reports

Financial reports serve as the foundation for any firm, highlighting the company’s vision and its future strategy. It is astonishing to discover that Southeast Asian banks are yet to embrace digital transformation in a holistic way. The regional banks have enjoyed relatively healthy revenue growth in the past, but the digital lip service may not work anymore as purely transactional banking isn’t going to cut it in the future. Banks will soon face challenges from multiple factors:

-          The center of power is shifting from banks to digitally enabled consumers. Yes, it’s true. The consumers do research outside of traditional banking channels and only contact banks after they’ve made their decision. Consumers increasingly expect banks not only to recognize and respond to their expectations but also to reward them for their attention throughout the relationship.

-          The intimate and effortless experience provided by other industries has spoiled consumers. Consider, for example, the experience that consumers get with Uber, GrabTaxi, Google, and Facebook and compare it with the financial sector – you suddenly find the banking sector is digitally cold. The consumers now want similar experiences to those offered by other industries from their banks.

-          Non-banking players pose a serious threat as they take on new meaning in the minds of consumers. From telecom operators to consumer retailers and travel agents, e-commerce players are using digital technologies to make inroads into retail banking. For instance, SingTel's (Singapore) mobile payment service for smartphones provides cashless payment services for consumers at more than 20,000 locations. Kaskus, an e-market forum in Indonesia, is looking to become a third-party digital payment provider. Payments that account for 20-25% of banks’ revenue are currently being challenged by the new entrants.

Connected consumers are generating an enormous number of digital fingerprints. For a bank to be truly digital we believe it must be able to make meaning and monetize value from the digital fingerprints of its customers, partners, and employees. We call that the Code Halo strategy. Code Halo is the new business principle describing the way in which banks need to create value by decoding the data generated by our digital lives. It is all about integrating banks’ products, services and processes with consumers’ digital information to create that ‘wow’ experience.  

The banks in Southeast Asia are at a Digital Transformation crossroads from which successful banks will move beyond a purely transactional relationship with consumers and forge a deep relationship with them by leveraging physical and digital value chains, while creating new business models. Those banks that miss this turning point will soon find themselves being left behind.

These are just the early days of a profound shift occurring in banking. Everything is going to be changed by the way in which banks connect the physical value chain with information and code.

Every click, swipe, "like," buy, comment, deposit, jog and search produces information that creates a unique virtual identity - something we call

Code Halo

Code Halo
Learn more »

Networked Field Services and Real-Time Decision Making

Investment in space travel has provided many direct and indirect benefits to society. For example, weather forecasting technology, solar energy, scratch resistant lenses, water purification systems, enriched baby food and air quality monitoring have all made advancements because of investments in space travel research. Likewise, the military has made huge investments related to the implementation of Network-Centric Warfare technologies and mobile data collection strategies that are now providing benefit and revolutionizing the way commercial field services organizations operate.

One of the most important capabilities that mobile solutions offer organizations today is the ability to provide better visibility, in near real time, into the activities and events taking place in the field – let’s call it situational awareness. Historically, it has been difficult to ensure that quality and service standards and processes are followed on remote jobsites and in mobile environments. The lack of real time visibility often means critical operational decisions and optimized scheduling choices are delayed which results in the inefficient utilization of resources and assets.

Better communication and visibility about the work completed or not completed on remote jobsites can ensure that proper policies and operational and safety processes are followed and assistance is provided when needed. Receiving, processing and sharing sensor (M2M) data from equipment, digital images, streaming video and real time mobile app updates with management and other process experts can often resolve challenging issues quickly and efficiently.

Today mobile applications support mobile data collection, real time database queries, alerts, mobile business processes, work order dispatch, location tracking, optimized scheduling, customer updates and alerts in most areas of the world. Situational awareness is a new capability for most organizations. It virtually enables managers and experts from anywhere in the world to be “digitally present” on remote jobsites. Being “digitally present” is accomplished today using a variety of tools available on most smartphones. These tools include:

  • Phone
  • Photos
  • Biometrics
  • Video
  • Voice/Audio
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Augmented reality
  • Bluetooth add-on equipment
  • GPS/Maps/Tracking/Routing/Directions/Events/locations of interest/friends & family
  • Custom mobile apps

Most organizations have yet to understand and exploit these capabilities to maximize efficiency and optimize returns. Each of these tools can and do play an important role in a networked field services operation.

All advanced militaries today are developing and implementing strategies based on the concept of Network-Centric Warfare. These strategies, methodologies and concepts have direct relevance to commercial enterprises and field services organizations today under the name Network-Centric Operations or Networked Field Services.

Militaries utilize rugged handhelds, radios, laptop computers, satellites, radio scanners, drones (UAVs), human resources, video surveillance, aerial surveillance, infrared cameras, remote sensors of all kinds and many other embedded mobile devices to create a web of sensors and data collection points that are all wirelessly networked together.

Collected data is securely and wirelessly sent to a central server where it forms a real time and unified view of operations that can be used for analysis, forecasting, resource allocation, planning and real time decision-making. This networked approach enables users to see where their assets are located, where they are needed and how best to manage them at all times to successfully and efficiently accomplish the mission.

Network-Centric Warfare, goes by the name Network-Centric Operations in commercial environments and is just starting to be understood by forward thinking companies. This strategy seeks to translate an information advantage (real-time data collected in the field) into a competitive advantage by using it for real-time decision-making. This network-centric approach, combined with real-time data, analytics, AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, enable organizations to behave and respond in ways never before possible, and at speeds never before realized. This strategy is based on the following four beliefs:

  1. A robustly networked workforce improves data sharing.
  2. Data sharing enhances the quality of information and supports situational awareness across the organization (sales, marketing, supply chain, distribution, logistics, manufacturering, R&D, etc).
  3. Shared situational awareness enables collaboration, better management, planning and resource agility.
  4. Points 1-3 support an optimized and efficient workforce

In order to optimize the performance of a field services organization, it is critical to know, in real time, the location of all resources, the status of each job, the assets and equipment needed, and the time each job will require. When effectively coordinated and managed, human resources, equipment, assets and mobile inventories can be shared between multiple projects, and the right experts with the right levels of experience can be used on the right projects at the right time. The bottom line is that a leaner, more efficient organization can be put in the field that can accomplish more work with fewer resources and generate a higher return on investment.