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Kevin Benedict

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Harvesting value from the future today

Digital Transformation is the process of transforming a business from one state to another - from a state where businesses operate in Human time, to a state that operates in Digital time and finally to Future time.  Businesses today must digitally transform in order to compete in all three of these time continuums simultaneously.

Let's first identify these different time continuums:

  1. Human time - time governed by our physical, biological and mental limitations as humans
  2. Digital time - time governed by computing, networking and data transmission speeds
  3. Future time - time governed by predictive analytics, algorithms and artificial intelligence

Human time cannot compete with Digital time in a mobile and always connected world. Human time cannot deliver the real-time mobile and online commerce speeds that digital consumers require. For example, you can't have a human responding to mobile search queries, or mobile payments, rather you need optimized information logistics systems (OILS) that are integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) enabled bots responding automatically in digital time.

Digital time refers to the speeds at which computer systems and networks operate.  The goal being to reach speeds as close to real-time as possible by optimizing each connected system, component and process that touch data.

Future time is faster than real-time.  It is the ability to anticipate needs, take actions and deliver content even before it is requested.  It is the ability to automatically prepare for the future in a manner that adds value.

An OILS running in Future time, utilizes predictive analytics, algorithms and AI to provide an experience that anticipates the needs of the user in a manner that makes it nearly invisible to the user.  For example turn-by-turn navigation supported by real-time traffic updates that route you around obstacles and problem areas.  An OILS, running in Future time, can prepare personalized and contextually relevant experiences in advance.

I had the opportunity to work with a large global automotive system manufacturer this year.  We explored extending traditional automotive systems to operate in Future time. They would integrate multiple external databases including traffic accident and insurance information, plus real-time weather and traffic information to automatically prepare the vehicle and driver for the road ahead.  We were reaching into the future to provide additional value and a competitive advantage.

Future time delivers value from the future.  It works in a time beyond "real-time."  This is the evolutionary nirvana for human to digital interactions.  Businesses that have not digitally transformed in a manner that can harvest value from the future have no possibility of competing there.

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Kevin Benedict is an opinionated Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.