The world around us is moving at an ever faster pace and disrupting forces for your market are lurking around the corner.
At AE, we combine all of our skills and competencies to find solutions to help you overcome the challenges you're facing today and the ones you will find on your path tomorrow. What is more, these solutions do not stand alone: they are built on the same, solid foundations and as such are easily integrated. In combination with your business insights, they will offer our answers to your questions.
In this closing post of the year, our solution experts share their thoughts on what 2016 will have in store so you can prepare for the road ahead.
Digital - Are you a digital enterprise revolving around your customer?
Whereas companies used to focus on operational excellence, they are now more than ever realizing the need to approach and service their customers in a ‘customer intimate’ way. In today’s world, customers are more vocal, faster at garnering information than before and they’ve got 1000 and one alternatives to answer their questions and solve their problems. And most of all, they want them now (just look at yourself).
The challenge for companies will be to install an outside-in mindset and to convey this to a workable organizational model.
If you want to remain relevant tomorrow – or more important yet, alive – you will need to make changes to your processes, customer interactions, data and applications. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: in this rapidly changing world, the list of things to keep an eye on is virtually endless: API’s, service design, cloud solutions, front-end focus, analytics, lean startup, new ways of PM, security, etc.
Digital is challenging companies worldwide to think about their existing ways of doing business and to come up with new principles and methods to run their organizations. We’re looking forward to help you on your digital transformation trajectory.
- Kenny Follet
Information Management: Take on a holistic point of view and take concrete steps forward
Three years of Information Management at AE have flown by. Together with our clients, we can be proud of where we stand today, fully realizing at the same time that the challenges of the next few years won’t be a walk in the park: Big(ger) Data, Privacy and Security, Data Integration needs, Open Data, Internet of Things and so on.
This happened in a IT climate in which a lot of companies are still struggling to keep their traditional applications free of information and data-related problems. In 2016, Information Management at AE will stick by its success formula, namely offering a holistic approach to help realize a bi-modal IT landscape, linked to a strong technical expertise.
The holistic vision that we’ve applied these past 3 years has passed the test of time. New developments are embedded so easily it’s as if they’ve always been part of the plan. This can be explained in part by our proficiency at adapting to new market standards and a strong experience in building architectural roadmaps. That’s largely the case because we focus on underlying solutions instead of ‘the new big thing’ claiming to solve all problems.
We continue to increase our technical expertise relating to traditional technologies (RDBMS, ETL, MDM, Data Quality and Profiling …) as well as promising new developments (the maturation of hadoop ecosystems and the appliance market, graph databases, newSQL …).
In 2016, we will continue to listen to your needs and make sure your data works for and not against you.
- Carlo Wouters
Analytics - 2016: The year of smart data
How can we present our customers with a tailor-made experience?
How can lessons learned from historical data help us take better future-proof decisions?
What knowledge and patterns are not yet visible in our historic data?
What treasures are we missing from the Big Data we capture today?
Most companies still don’t have a clear-cut answer to those questions. Yet, organizations such as Forrester and Gartner keep on telling C-level people that it’s oh so important to use their data in a smart way.
Make Customer Analytics Pervasive Across The Life Cycle (Forrester, 2015)
Discover: Begin With Analytics To Gain Customer Understanding
Explore: Adapt Marketing Parameters To Customer Response
Buy: Enhance Historical Insights With Forward-Looking Analysis
Use: Uncover Patterns Of Usage Behavior
Ask: Get Smarter About Customer Interactions
Engage: Elevate Analytics To Drive Customer Development And Retention
Trends such as IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data, through which value is created from a huge set of data, will make Analytics one of the core competences of an organization. Next to that, there’s still a large amount of value to be discovered in other data sources. First and foremost in the historical data companies possess, but also the open data made available by public and private organizations, social media data etc.
That’s why 2016 is heralded as the year of smart data: organizations will find clever ways to get value from all available data sources, independent of their complexity or size.
- Davy Sannen
Utilities - The Belgian utilities market lays the foundation for the future
Everyone is affected by the energy sector due to issues such as sufficient and sustainable energy production, local production, energy efficiency, cost of energy, the increase in electricity consumers such as the drives electric cars etc.
The Belgian market is preparing itself to the energy market of the future with a new federally governed market structure that come 2018 has to steer and support all of the above factors. 2016 is a key year for all of these parties to execute this transformation. Many players will have to renovate their basic processes and IT solutions, as well as prepare themselves for this new market situation without knowing really well how SMART will evolve.
Next to that, energy suppliers are searching for new business models to complement energy sales and to survive in a very competitive market where intruders are lurking in the woods. Telco, retail, new players etc. are all looking to challenge the existing market model. They will combine their core expertise with the newly digitalized energy market to launch unpredictable value propositions.
A sector in full transformation is a source of opportunities for our utilities clients as well as the AE Utilities solution itself. We are prepared: MIG6 expertise, Big Data, Integration & API Management, Internet of Things. We’re looking forward to the challenge.
- Pieter Jaeken
Integration - SOA is back, Integration becomes mainstream and APIs are here to stay
Companies have been investing a lot of energy and resources in integration to create stability and to reduce IT costs. Our focus continues to be on rolling out solid integration patterns (together with partners) within an organization to support its business processes over the long term. Standardization, efficiency and operational excellence are the keywords here.
This foundation remains important, but we’ve seen that a company starts to act in a bi-modal fashion organically. We feel the need for flexibility to ensure companies can quickly play into new market segments and generate extra revenue that way. Here, the aim lies outside of the company, but at customers directly and possibly even the company’s employees.
A few quotes from Gartner to hold into account:
“By 2018, more than 50% of the cost of implementing 90% of new large systems will be spent on integration.”
“Make the re-envisioning of your integration strategy a top priority.”
“Encourage and assist application development (AD) project leaders into a design-for-interoperability approach by pushing an API-first style supported by appropriate technology.”
2016 projects to be the year of integration:
- Almost every customer is working on package implementation (completed, ongoing or planned), because business doesn’t want to pay for custom development anymore if there are products out there that suit their needs.
- Existing legacy applications will need to be integrated into automated processes. Turning legacy applications into services will be thé challenge.
- Companies will go mobile or will make their APIs available to better position their products on the market. This way, partners and suppliers are reached that we may not have even heard of today.
- Customers expect that, whichever way they’re in touch with an organization, the underlying process will work in a uniform way (omni-channel).
In short, SOA is back more than ever, integration becomes mainstream and APIs are here to stay. This places a large responsibility on all of us, because the current digital world forces a lot of people, departments, systems and service to work together seamlessly to deliver a single unique customer experience.
- Wim Paredis
Value Driven Transformation - Value for your customers, partners and the organization will become your first priority
Digitalization, online global info and offerings, competition within sectors, companies that diversify and penetrate new sectors … Increasingly, organizations are under the influence of external factors that affect their business model.
In such a situation, strong companies rise to the fore that permanently look for value, for themselves, for their customers, for society etc. Because not every company possesses the culture needed to search for new or added value and to foster change within their own organization, value driven transformation will become thé challenge for more and more companies.
Our goal at AE is to turn these companies into value-driven organizations, not just in terms of searching for value, but also in its realization for all stakeholders. The combination of business architecture and portfolio management supported by insights applied from the market context – transversely throughout the organization to the customer – helps our clients to make the proper investments and to execute them and optimize them.
We very much want to help our clients to perform this transformation to deliver the proper value for ourselves as well.
- Pieter Jaeken
Accelerator - 2016: The year to succeed fast
In today's rapidly changing world, business models are under continuous pressure. For our customers, this implies “the need for speed” and makes innovation key. By connecting idea generation and idea execution, we stimulate our customers to become or stay first-movers.
Digital enables a tremendous number of possibilities and forces companies to think outside-in. Whoever is not able to deliver a great experience in the age of the customer will see competitors flourish within a short amount of time. Digital is only the beginning. Trends like the internet of things are only starting to be exploited and will equally open the door for a large range of new ideas. Customers will challenge companies not only on their products, but also on their business models. Who still thinks that Starbucks is just a coffee shop?
Companies have always looked for ways to expand or reinvent their service. But as markets only grow more competitive, an entrepreneurial mindset and embracing new ideas will become key. Gartner has been pointing in the direction of bi-modal IT for quite some time now and the first steps have been set. Next up is to “Fail fast” and to increase the number of experiments and ideas generated, preferably bottom-up. Prototyping and lowering go-to-market time of new services will be equally important.
All in all, connecting idea generation and idea execution can make 2016 the year of “failing fast” or “succeeding fast”. No pressure.
- Valerie Taerwe
We're intrigued to hear about the challenges you are facing and how we can help turn them into success stories for your organization. Contact us to find out how we can make that happen together.