Crazy as it may sound, the entire world is going to be SMAC’ed.
Now, now, I’m not a futurist, not even a technologist. But as one who often writes and talks about tech trends that affect enterprises big time, I can bet a few shirts on this: Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud will shake things up like hell. (Or heaven, if you are on top of the stuff.)
It is hard to pinpoint when these four potent forces began to coalesce but, according to an article on Forbes.com, it was Cognizant Technology Solutions researchers who coined the term “SMAC” as recently as 2013. But let’s not confuse terminology with technology (I remember one firm had coined a similar but rather ugly “SoMoClo,” for Social, Mobile and Cloud; and there are others who use “Nexus of Forces” and “the 3rd Platform” for similar concepts).
Irrespective of the term, the four mega trends are transforming how technology is developed, purchased, deployed and used. And how employees, partners, clients, customers and other stakeholders behave. It is the combined behaviour that is slated to make the most impact—which is why it is difficult to put a dollar value to it and why impact estimates vary so much. To cite but one figure, a Reuters.com report quoting Nasscom director Rajat Tandon says that the value of outsourcing contracts for SMAC is set to soar from $164 billion last year to $287 billion by 2016.
No matter how you cut it, SMAC technologies are slated to leave a lasting impression. A Cognizant report, titled “The Value of Signal (and the Cost of Noise): The New Economics of Meaning-Making,” summarises the situation neatly. “Nearly every aspect of our daily lives generates a digital footprint. From mobile phones and social media to inventory look-ups and online purchases, we collect more data about processes, people and things than ever before. Winning companies are able to create business value by building a richer understanding of customers, products, employees and partners—extracting business meaning from this torrent of data. The business stakes of “meaning-making” simply could not be higher,” it says.
I often hear murmurs of dissent: “There is more hype than substance to SMAC.” Or, “Big data (or cloud or mobility or social media) is not for us.”
It is possible that one of the big social platforms as we know it ceases to exist one day. Or some term other than SMAC will prevail (like cloud prevailed over service-oriented architecture). But does anyone seriously think people won’t be more mobile going forward? Or the human instinct to extend their socialising to new, emerging media will lose steam? Or, for that matter, we will stop analysing this and that and what not, for business and for pleasure?
Crazy as it may sound…