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The Nexus of Forces: more business focus, less tech [Gartner]

The Nexus of Forces has been a huge focus for research house Gartner for the last two years. The Nexus, which comprises of the four key pillars of tech, consists of information, mobile, cloud, and social. These remain top priorities for technologists in companies, says Gartner’s chief of research and VP Chris Howard.

According to Howard, who was speaking at the 2013 Gartner Symposium, “the Nexus of Forces applies to people inside and outside the organization, in multiple roles. Many emergent Nexus of Forces scenarios involve the Internet of Things and the Nexus of Forces requires a reset of security and risk management posture.”

According to Gartner, the convergence of these forces creates new opportunities for businesses, as every single business today is a digital business.

The evolution of the Nexus of Forces

These Forces have been evolving over time. Where they previously existed in the form of isolated technical strategies with a focus on the acceleration of mobile and internal cloud, Howard says things are changing. These forces are moving to a more business centric approach with more advanced analytics, splitting from traditional BI approaches and mobile, cloud and information solutions gain traction. This, he says, will lead to an “increased integration of social into traditional work, increased decoupling of device and function. More data in the cloud.”

Where things are changing drastically is in the type of information these forces can provide. Where information is not just descriptive but prescriptive.

“Imagine if data can tell you someone is going to quit before they do or know they are about to,” says Howard. This is the type of insight that is emerging from the evolution of the Nexus of Forces. Analytics now provides foresight rather than hindsight, moving information away from simple knowledge to optimisation.

The Nexus of Forces starts with people

Howard reckons that for the Nexus to really be useful to companies, human behaviour must be taken into account. He argues that “people are mobile, they spread their experience over a constantly shifting array of devices. People expect context-aware delivery of ‘experiences'”. This means that information should move seamlessly and easily across different devices to keep up with the people it’s meant for.

We exist in a world where technology is changing human behaviour and vice versa. For Gartner, Howard says it is important to study the habits of the modern consumer. Habits such as: psychographics, clickstreams, sentiment analysis, text mining, search habits, location, proximity to friends, health data and buying patterns.

By monitoring these types of metrics, businesses are able to not only understand their consumers better, but the same can be applied to their employees.

Howard says this is already happening in real world situations. For example, Walmart.com saw a 10% to 15% increase in
online shoppers completing a purchase by understanding core components about the modern shopper and their sharing habits.

The Nexus of Forces in 2015

According to Howard, in 2015 the Nexus of Forces will affect industries differently. Communications, banking, healthcare and manufacturing will make up “value targets” with initiatives around social media presence and mobile apps and a more ‘bring your own device’ mindset.

While media and retail will need a business redesign inline with context aware marketing. He also reckons that government and professional services will be in a state of “platform refresh” with enterprise app stores and dynamic supply chain. Interestingly, wholesale distribution will be business as usual focusing on internal cloud and SharePoint.

Howard says the Nexus of Forces creates new business opportunities. He recommends that companies focus on business outcomes and explore innovations from other industries.

“Look for disruptive opportunities at the intersection of the Nexus of Forces,” says Howard. “Do not focus on technologies first”.

He advises against focusing on technology strategies in isolation. He also says not to expect old approaches to IT delivery to support Nexus scenarios.

Author | Mich Atagana

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then decided that law might be the best place for her talents, but with too many litigation classes missed in favour of feminist... More

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