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Craig's buzzword bingo: Digitisation

Just as you think that you never want to hear a certain buzzword again, a new one appears to relieve the pain, for a little while at least ....

OK, we have all been there, a word emerges from the bowels of a marketing department and within a matter of moments, it's everywhere.

Recently, SD or Software Defined, something, anything, has been starting to get a little on my nerves but that's the thing, just as you think that you never want to hear the word again, a new buzzword appears to relieve the pain, for a little while at least.

Re. SD, I always loved this Juniper video which captures the essence of a new buzzword for me (you're googling it aren't you?). But for all the jokes around technology buzzwords, the industry generally has to pay attention and understand them, hey it's our job.

Where SD was a buzzword waiting for a purpose/life, digitisation emerged recently as a buzzword to explain something that was already happening to us.

As a world weary industry "veteran" with what I think is a healthy cynical attitude (see Is SD-WAN the messiah or just a naughty boy?), my first appreciation of digitisation was "oh no, it's paperless office again". But I am glad I paused and ended up having two "a-ha" moments recently around digitisation, within a couple of days of each other.

The first moment was watching a video of Telstra's new Group Executive of Technology, Innovation and Strategy, Stephen Elop presenting at an internal forum with the second reading an excellent LinkedIn post from telkomtelstra COO, Nathan Bell.

My key takeouts from Stephen's video:

"Digitisation is often quoted as a solution to all large enterprise providers problems but the more relevant and important definition is how it relates to the end customer experience. For example:

Uber: The experience at 2AM of standing in the rain looking at a screen that shows you that someone is coming to get you, that's a great experience, it makes you feel safe and happy.

Banking: Sitting at a restaurant table on the critical third date ensuring you have enough money in the right account to "go large" on that expensive bottle of wine without worrying that the waiter may embarrass you with "sorry, your transaction has been declined". That's a great experience, you need to perform at your best to impress."

Digitisation is about simplying incredibly complex processes and pushing them to the background to deliver a great experience, cool, got it. The examples are like a consumer view of what we have done with the Symphony initiative within Telstra delivering solutions like Internet VPN, for our business and enterprise customers.

What I learnt from Nathan was that digitisation was already all around me, whether I knew it or not. Here are some excerpts from Nathan's post:

"A new gold mine has been established, okay not a traditional one, but it is yellow at least! Pokemon Go.

We have truly moved into a digital era, one where entrepreneurial individuals are ready to respond to the latest craze and set up their own version of a bar, tailor, supply store or even more mature entertainment. Our world has clearly shifted from the physical to the virtual and these pop up ecosystems are testament to that. What is interesting though is that unlike the gold mining towns of old, these digital pop-up ecosystems will disappear faster and leave almost no evidence that they even existed. This is because the technology of our era has caught up with our childlike behaviour when it comes to our digital lives."

So, what's all this got to do with large enterprises like Telstra itself and our customers? A lot.

In this new "digitised" world, enterprises need to embrace the "fast to fail" mantra and look to take the same types of risks as the small entrepreneur (or even large companies like Nintendo). There is no guarantee of success with these pop up businesses. But because of elastic infrastructure availability and pay-as-you-use commercial engagements, hopefully enterprises can afford to fail and that confidence can help to increase a willingness to experiment with different types of services. Its all very much about speed and agility, in short, being able to not only pick up on a disruption but to do something meaningful about it, quickly.

Thanks to Stephen and Nathan, I have a much better appreciation of the latest buzzword on the block J.

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