This article is not about SMAC. It is about the ABCD of computing as you might already know it
A. Whether you are an SME or a big one, you must have some in-house private social network. If not, it must be on the horizon as you don’t want to stop your people and other stakeholders from collaborating. You know from the pink papers and business magazines, the speed at which businesses are going social and IT companies acquiring or building the tools in-house (to further sell).
If you are not yet there and are thinking of going social ONLY NOW, here is a suggestion. Don’t just try to have a glorified intranet or hurriedly conjured up social solution. Figure out what you need, get what is best. If you want to build it, do it with the seriousness it needs. Also, don’t pay through the roof; it is an inexpensive solution (net net). Social Computing, they say, is the S of SMAC.
B. I don’t want to toss data about how enormously mobile computing is catching up. I am not even telling you how much Zuckerburg paid for WhatsApp without asking, ‘kitna deti hai’? So if you are not mobile-enabled, you are not just not competitive, you are also missing out on customers and suppliers, and blunting problem-solving edge of your employees. And it is not rocket science or a costly affair to get there. That is M (Mobile Computing) of SMAC for you, if you will.
Tweets about “#16thTechSabha”
C. The other day, I bought a book on Flipkart. Now the thumbnail of a similar book follows me everywhere on the web. I am tempted to buy it. I am neither boasting how much I love to read nor claim it is something novel. All I want to highlight is that someone is analysing my forays over the web and using it to predict and pitch more similar stuff to me.
Even this reference here in the Express Computer article, which will soon be on the web (if it passes through the editorial that is), will forever remain useful information for Flipkart, the publisher of the book I bought, as well as for Amazon and other booksellers, and publishers who have or are planning a similar book. [Editor’s note: since people are reading this article, it means it has passed the checkpost, all right]
We create data points at every step of the way. None useless. Who can deny we learn from institutional memory? That we have ignored it for so long is utterly imprudent, especially in the wake of attrition rates and other major changes in people, businesses and markets. You have to first look at your own big data (I am only talking about the large data that we produce but don’t effectively collect and use. I am not throwing a jargon in here). You should learn from it and supplement it with external data analytics to make informed, timely and relevant decisions. There are enough inexpensive tools in the market to do it faster and better now. The A of SMAC is analytics for them.
D. Don’t get bogged down. If you are using Gmail as your company mail system like many are already doing, you are cloud computing. Cloud computing is nothing but computing over the web where all you data resides with an agency you hire. You have no servers, nothing. Why does a manufacturer of steel need to carry the cost of computer department, network administrators and a huge server room with better amenities than other company spaces, in perpetuity? Go cloud, cut cost, cut the flab, and focus only on what you do best. Obviously, the C in SMAC is cloud computing.
The questions answered
Along the way, you will face many questions: Is it secure? It is as secure as it gets. I recall the story when the email first came to the (IT) company I then worked with. Initially, only a select few seniors got it. There were unsubstantiated fears of misuse, security, and critical data flying out. Now, no one even remembers it was once so.
Do we need huge investments in infra, people and technology? You only spend on the solutions you buy which, I repeat, are quite inexpensive or you are not buying it right. You rather cut cost that you have been incurring-no server rooms, no network administrators. You can cut as much cost as you get savvy along the way.
Can we do without it? No, if you want to grow with the times and save a lot of money. Yes, if you don’t want to grow with the times and don’t want to leverage technology to save on cost and other hassles.
Will our folks be able to grasp it? Well, there is no training on how to use Twitter, Facebook, etc. Even the illiterate carpenters don’t go through any training on how to use the smartphone. So you also need no training. In fact, if a solution provider offers to charge you anything for training, you should stop the deal right there.
Cut the crap, get up and run
So don’t get bogged down by the hoax (also means SCAM) of SMAC. It is not an out-of-the-world technology or a novel combination of technologies; you may already be doing it in some combination or form. You can start using all these technologies together, use a combination of it or do it one by one. Get into consultative mode with your provider: draw up a plan together as to how best you can get there. You must, however, begin the journey now!
SM Nafay Kumail is Co-founder, Kreeo (i-nable Solutions Pvt Ltd) and co-author of e-Learning: An Expression of the Knowledge Economy (Tata McGraw-Hill, 2002).