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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Innovation and conservatism in a time of recession: Enterprise mashups are the perfect blend

In its lead column this week The Economist states: “The world has not seen a contraction like this since the first oil shock in the 1970s”.
 
The impact of the downturn is unprecedented for our generation, and is the largest slump to hit the technology-driven economy. It’s damaging and yet at the same time progressive, in that it drives us to think about new ways to do business and to deploy technology to innovate, transform and survive.
 
Businesses understand the need to invest in technologies that cut costs, enable knowledge to be shared and provide an essential competitive edge. Innovation and process transformation are fundamental, but the unpredictable climate means this is no time for big-bang approaches.  They must find ways to transform their operations that require low – or no – capital investment and which produce positive, measurable results with a quick return on investment.
 
At Corizon, we see this philosophy in action. Enterprises that handle high volumes of customer interactions, for example, need to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of their call centre operations while increasing the value of each customer interaction. They need to find a way to cut the cost of servicing customers – e.g. by offering customer self-service – that doesn’t involve abandoning their existing IT systems and buying expensive new ones.

This need to innovate without spending a lot of money is prompting businesses to explore better ways to improve their existing processes, applications and data. Enterprise mashups fit the bill perfectly, by allowing organisations to transform their business processes using existing applications and data in short project bursts with demonstrable return on investment.
 
A recent post by my colleague David Davies highlighted the staggering results that Homeserve has achieved from its use of enterprise mashups: a 50% increase in cross-sell with slashed call handling times, all using existing applications and processes.
 
Technologies such as enterprise mashups enable innovation to go hand in hand with conservatism. The businesses that will survive are the ones that can be conservative and creative at the same time. 

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