Olaf Swantee (CEO of EE) comments on the mass change consumers have seen in the past decade with regards to technology. The next decade, he continues, will see business opportunities grow due to the technology sector delivering a range of superfast, secure and always-on innovations to meet the exacting and high standards of the industry. Furthermore, he believes that a transformation in terms of productivity of UK businesses has already begun. A report by ADL says that technological advances such as superfast 4G will unleash the potential of businesses, and ensure that “connectivity will no longer be a barrier to realising the benefits of enterprise mobility”. ADL’s report dictates that benefits such as increased sales; improved customer service; productivity gains; direct cost reductions; improved employee motivation and better decision-making will arise from this.
Many companies are wondering where the next wave of growth is coming from. One thing is clear though, it will most certainly come from the development of new products and services. This is one of the results of Arthur D. Little's 8th Global Innovation Excellence Study. While 68 per cent of global executives believe that innovation is more important now than prior to the recession, a staggering 80 per cent see much room for improvement in their own tracking and monitoring of innovation performance. The way in which innovation is managed has therefore become more crucial than ever.
The Times dictate, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that one source of economic growth is going to come from emerging economies. The development of new products and services are the suspected main contributors of this new growth. Management consultancy Arthur D. Little found in its 8th Global Innovation Excellence Study that 80% of organisations are not content with their tracking and monitoring of innovation performance. Project management roles will become particularly important if emerging economies want to meet business goals. Project Management Institute (PMI) research highlights that business goals are not being met due to poor project management. They noticed that organisations with formalised project management practices have positive outcomes as they ensure the right set-up is in place for individual projects as well as enabling experience and knowledge around project management to be passed on. Therefore the message is simple: organisations should put in place processes and systems to develop project management skills because they will be 14 times more likely to achieve the results they want.
Achilles, the global supply chain management company, expects to save the UK rail industry more than £5.5m per year through the launch of Link-up Engage – the advanced portal used to register and prequalify suppliers. The innovation comes after the ADL report, produced on behalf of RSSB, revealed that improving supplier assurance processes in rail could save the industry £35m per year. Peter Rowlands is the assurance manager at Alan Dick Communications – a buyer and supplier member of Achilles Link-up. Speaking about the launch of Link-Up Engage he said, “Link –up Engage is a better reflection of the industry and more truly represents its capability and depth. It caters for the larger operations with the greater capability right through to a lone supplier with a single product. It enables all 115 buyers on the system to see and select suppliers based on clear and relevant information and all suppliers – however small, to be visible to the industry in the best possible light.”
The internet economy is expected to double annually until 2016. According to a joint study between global consultancy Arthur D. Little and an association of the German internet industry, turnover will rise between 10.9 and 12.3 per cent to 87.4 billion Euro per year. Moreover, the growth will yield some 80,000 new workplaces. “We see quite a lot of opportunity for all medium-sized businesses to fill niches here” says Arthur D. Little-consultant Lars Riegel.
The German mobile communication operators O2 (Telefónica) and E-Plus (KPN) want to merge. With such a merger, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone would face a new market leader. But this is rather a desperate deed: Rising capital costs for networks and licenses combined with falling turnovers, caused a dramatic drop in prices and new competition by free suppliers like Whatsapp is enforcing this approach. “Neither can reach the critical mass on its own," comments consultant Dr Michael Opitz from Arthur D. Little.
Beside marketing and distribution, Big Data will offer an added value for many industries. The development of the analytics is useful to the automotive and energy industry and for the further evolution of medical technology. But in order to benefit from Big Data, it is important to know how to make the data usable. "It is essential to identify the strategic value of certain data”, explains Dr. Klaus Schmitz from the global strategy consultancy Arthur D. Little. “Companies need to analyze their own and adjoining value chains to match their information requirements with innovative sources of information.”
Didier Levy from Arthur D. Little questions whether 4G will reverse the trend of recent falls in revenues from European telecom operators (down by 3.8 per cent in 2012). Indeed, 4G should be recognised as a vital opportunity for telecom operators to realise growing usages in the market, in order to provide an additional 10 years of capacity to mobile networks in Europe. This will facilitate a rapid spread of 4G across Europe where it is expected to achieve considerable commercial success. However, it is argued that although 4G seems likely to become increasingly important to the market, it is unlikely to improve the sector’s revenues. Moreover, revenues are expected to continue to fall in Europe even despite 4G, with an average predicted 1.8 per cent fall per year by 2016. Thus, while 4G may not be able to steer telecom operators back onto the path of growth, the new technology still presents a valuable advantage for operators when striving to innovate in their services, offerings and networks.
In Germany, more power from alternative and decentralized power sources reach the grid. This presents energy providers and network operators with various challenges. Due to the turnaround in energy policy in Germany, the distribution network has to balance supply and demand without a notable loss of comfort for single households. It is being tested in different pilot projects to see how a smart grid can cope with these demands. "The pressure to find decentralized solutions further increases," says Dr Matthias von Bechtolsheim from Arthur D. Little. “We are currently developing a range of intelligent decentralized energy supply concepts.”
Qatar’s nationwide rollout of fibre, driven by private investment and in partnership with some of the country’s leading businesses, is being hailed as a huge success in harnessing its modern communication technology. As a report by Arthur D Little shows, Qatar has been placed top worldwide for the ‘fastest fibre rollout’ since the start of deployment in 2011. This is bringing increasing visibility to the region in global discussions on high-speed broadband infrastructure deployment, yet significant challenges still need to be overcome, and this requires intensive government participation. Thus, based on a global market survey, ADL has identified five National Fibre models that governments around the world have adopted to reap the benefits from fibre. The most successful models involve a hybrid approach; identifying the best model for specific national market conditions and the correct application of that model. It is no longer possible to modernise and upgrade the copper-based network; fibre networks are now needed not only for fast service, but to also underpin the micro layer of the latest mobile backhaul networks. ADL’s study is exemplified by the case of Ooredoo, who are contributing to Qatar’s fibre success, for instance through their proposed ‘Business Fibre’ plan.