You may have heard about the SMAC stack. It’s the combination of 4 mega trends – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. The key takeaway here is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Deploying these technologies in a standalone fashion rarely delivers meaningful business value. However, when these technologies are deployed as an integrated stack, they have a multiplier effect and can provide break through business results.
According to service providers like Cognizant Technologies, SMAC is the next wave of computing. This document contains some of their thinking, including the chart shown below.
Analyst firms have tried to co-opt this trend by slapping on their own branding. For example, Gartner calls it the Nexus of Forces, IDC calls it the 3rd Platform of computing, and Forrester talks about Digital Disruption and the Mobile Mindshift.
If you ask me, SMAC just has a nice ring to it. And SCAM just wouldn’t fly!
Whatever you call it, it makes sense to understand the individual pieces and how they interact with one another.
At first glance, social seems superficial from a business perspective. But it can run deep. Social is not just about social media like Twitter or Facebook. Social is also about the levels of collaboration within your organization. It’s about how your products and services become more engaging when they have social components. We can go deeper. Social is how the very fabric of our societal systems work. Social organisms like ants, dolphins, lions and humans dominate the planet. Social technologies allow us to scale our inherent behaviors across boundaries and geographies. In more practical terms, social leaves a strong digital trail (data) about who you are, your interactions, and preferences. This data, once processed, can provide hyper personalized services – and scale.
Mobile is not just about mobile phones. It is about mobility. And mobility goes to the core of how humans like to work. With the recent trend of wearables, its evident that the mobile capabilities are spreading beyond phones and tablets. Mobile devices are also packed with sensors (cameras, accelerometers, heat and pressure sensors, etc.) and have location awareness. And finally, just like social, mobile is also a huge source of raw data. This data fuels the analytic components of the stack.
Analytics is not just about advanced statistics, data mining or predictive analytics. It’s about processing all the raw data available from big data and traditional data sources. Analytics helps make sense of the data, provides decisioning (Decision Management) and predictive capabilities and also gives organizations a digital memory (Data Warehouse or Data Lake).
If mobile is the edge, cloud is the core. If mobile devices provide multiple channels for customers to interact with their environment – the cloud acts as the integrator. In other words, it makes a multi-device world appear seamless for the customer. The cloud is also where all the analytical work happens giving rise to the notion of a predictive cloud or decision cloud. Finally, an organization which is SMAC enabled, can interface with other organizations through API’s which also reside in the cloud. These capabilities release you from the constraints of geography and allow for a boundaryless organization.
This metaphor may be stretching it a bit. But If SMAC were the human body, Social would be like your hands – allowing you to interact and share with the environment. Mobile is like your senses – your eyes, and ears allowing you to fully soak in the environment. Analytics is like your brain. And finally, the Cloud is like your skeleton or body. The glue which binds it all together. It is the mothership that holds the smaller components and carries the workload.
If you are a forward thinking executive and are looking to see how the SMAC stack can help your organization, please contact us.