3 minute read 1 Apr 2019
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How to combine business intent and technology to achieve innovation

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EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

3 minute read 1 Apr 2019

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Before forging ahead with digital transformation, it’s crucial to identify the business goals behind technologies being implemented.

This is an era that combines unprecedented change with limitless opportunity. Like the information age before it, and the industrial age before that, the Transformative Age is changing how we live, work and play. In this Transformative Age, executives are working to determine that the right technology moves in a world growing more digital by the day. In fact, organizations are moving aggressively to implement the most contemporary and, in concept, game changing technologies from cloud to analytics to robotics or artificial intelligence.

Three examples of technology-focused innovation

While technology is the foundation for digital transformation, it falls short without strong business intent. The challenge is figuring out how to leverage technology most effectively to achieve the business outcomes desired. By teaming business and technology, true innovation happens. Consider the following three examples of technology-focused innovation.

Eliciting powerful consumer knowledge

First, through product sensors, the Internet of Things, smart devices in homes and digital personal assistants, consumer products companies can now track purchase and usage behavior to individual consumers. They can use powerful analytics against social media to interpret trends and patterns. And they can integrate these data sources and insights to develop robust and detailed predictions of needs and behaviors of various customer groups. This is powerful consumer knowledge to inform decisions about product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and service.

Tracking food supply with blockchain

Second, while many executives think of blockchain’s use in financial transactions, every industry is ripe for blockchain-enabled innovation. Consider the food consortium announced by IBM and six leading retail and consumer products companies. The consortium aims to strengthen consumer confidence in the foods they purchase by using blockchain to track the food supply from farm to table. A large retailer and IBM piloted blockchain’s use before forming the consortium. The retailer, known for having one of the best food traceability systems in the industry, previously took more than six days to trace a package of mangoes to the exact farm of origin. Using blockchain, this trace took 2.2 seconds. This innovative application of technology stands to revolutionize how we combat widespread food-borne illnesses.

Responding to cyber threats

A third technology-enabled innovation is in cybersecurity threat detection and response. Attacks happen and will continue to happen. But how do organizations respond? The volume of threat data an organization must consume and process is growing as rapidly as the threat landscape itself. Technologies such as IBM Watson can make sense of structured and unstructured security knowledge that has previously been elusive. Integrating advanced cognitive technologies into security solutions enables organizations to understand and rapidly respond to sophisticated threats from the corporation through to end-users.

It is often best to lead with the business outcome the organization is trying to achieve and then leverage the technology to make it happen.
Thomas Hever
Global IBM Alliance Leader

Leading with the business outcome

In each of these cases, it’s the marriage of business and technology that achieves game changing outcomes. That’s why the collaboration between EY and IBM is strategically important to our clients. IBM’s cloud and cognitive technologies provide the means for innovation. EY helps organizations identify where and how to effectively use these leading-edge technologies to transform how they do business.

In this rapidly changing environment, organizations must grapple with how to make the best technology investments and get more leverage from technology investments already made. In both of these scenarios, it is often best to lead with the business outcome the organization is trying to achieve and then leverage the technology to make it happen. That’s the best prescription to drive innovation, differentiate the business and create market advantage.

Summary

Technology is the foundation for digital transformation, but it falls short without strong business intent. The challenge is figuring out how to leverage technology most effectively to achieve desired business outcomes. 

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By

EY Global

Multidisciplinary professional services organization