Think Big, Start Small

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21 June 2022

VirtuGrp’s Commercial Business Development & Sales Readiness Manager, Rubina Qureshi, is an extraordinary IT professional with extensive years providing analytics-based solutions for clients such as Ericsson, Capgemini, SAS Insitute, Microsoft, Hitachi and now VirtuGrp.

Having worked in data and mobile phone technology since its onset in the early 1990s, she has witnessed first-hand the exponential change and speed in tech development and is excited to be in an era where “consumers are now in the front seat, compared with the days of GSMs. This has put the power of relevance in focus, as companies constantly need to stay relevant to the way people live and want to live their lives. Never lose track of purpose.

“when employing smart solutions, it should be about catering to the relevant teams or department and scaling it from there”

Staying relevant – how technology comes into play

“If you want to stay relevant as a business, you can’t sit still. The competition is moving, people have high requirements on usability and Covid-19 has accelerated change of our environment and how we live our lives highlighted, the environment is fast-changing”, says Rubina.

The technological revolution and greater development of wireless connectivity, 5G network and the Internet of Things enable data collection to be shown in terms of innovation and product development, the “sky is the limit”.

This makes life difficult because how do you bring down the sky to your reality and daily life? A piece of advice is to articulate the purpose of why you want to change. Then never lose track of that purpose. If you want to elevate customer experience, you need to keep in mind what kind of experience you are addressing and how you want to improve it. Do you think that the product’s features and functions will increase customer experience, or will improved customer service increase it or do you just want to set the right customer expectations to keep them happy?

“This is often where I can see our clients get stuck. The most frequent question I get over the years is “We understand that we need to move along with a changing world, but where do we start?” With so many exciting new data-driven solutions and tools available, it’s hard to see what will serve your business best.”

How do you filter out the critical activities from the “nice to haves”? Do we need to digitize our entire business or what processes will bring the most relevant and prioritized outcomes to our business?

Unless you are a Fortune 500 company, it is very hard to gain access to the competence and subject matter expertise you need to collaborate with your domain experts.

No matter how you choose to approach your challenge, let the purpose be your guiding star. What process steps will be affected if you want to improve your fleet maintenance? What roles will be affected in your staff and what toolsets will they need to improve the quality and effectiveness of their repairment? Can AI help the orchestration of what service staff competence is needed, where that staff is located, what spare parts and tools are needed, the location of the tools and when can all these resources including the vehicle be used at the same place? Will it help if the service staff get a manual on their iPad/tablet?

Think big, start small scale

If you have your vision, mission, and strategy in place, you know why you are relevant to the market. You probably also have articulated the high-level capabilities needed to get there.

Hopefully, you have not shied away from thinking big. Think big and outside traditional boundaries and how you can add value to the market. The next step is to formulate your biggest challenges to create that value and what insights you would need to create it. 

A piece of advice is to consider these three questions. The first one is, what process steps will be affected? The second question is, what people will be affected, what does their physical environment look like and what tools will they have at hand to do their job? Finally, what technology do they have to support them in their job? Taking these three aspects into consideration at the same time guides you on how technology comes into play to support your business. They will help you evaluate solution concepts, and whether they will enable the right capabilities to generate value or not.

It sounds easy enough to evaluate a concept, but it is tricky to scope small enough that it can “provoke” fast failure with fast learnings at a low cost, yet big enough to generate meaningful outcomes.

Try not to lose track of purpose. By adjusting the scope gradually and adding new learnings that will steer you toward your purpose, you have a better chance of building a solution that can scale. It takes time, but with the right team, it will take less time to create a scalable solution that generates value. During the process, you will have learned many lessons and most importantly, you will uncover how to become a business that can adapt to an ever-changing world. 

Measure objectives and key results (OKR). OKR is a measurement of how you change behaviour per desired results so it’s often not a monetary measurement. It will visualise your stepwise towards improvements. 

“Sure, you need to be where the data is at, but without the right team or processes, it’s a waste of your investment. Starting small means, you can fail fast. A beautiful thing to happen as it is cheaper to fail earlier than later. And learn faster. Think about all the learnings you can gain.”

The Multiplicity of AI and IoT Solutions

AI and the application of IoT can be a big investment which is why a more theoretical approach and a clear purpose ought to be applied from the start. The purpose becomes the filter behind the how and why you use the required data.

AI is ideal for predicting patterns and outcomes, so where does it fit in your business framework? As you have understood by now, considering people, processes, and technology at the same time will provide answers as to how AI comes into play in a relevant way.

Rubina showcases three popular uses but there are many more that could be listed.

The Creation of Smart Cities: Through IoT sensors and AI machine learning we can help city planners be more efficient and better equipped with real-time knowledge on things such as the level of air pollution; people flow analysis for safety in neighbourhoods to alert citizens of crowded places, prevent things like accidents and even suicides on train platforms, assaults; street hygiene; public parking; access to public WC – all through data and apps. 

For Manufacturers: A variety of options are on hand pending whether you are logistics driven or production driven. AI learning can show you new alternative roads or entry points to get deliveries more cost-effective and efficient or even enter sites more smoothly. For machines, you can prepare maintenance before breakdowns better by monitoring the temperature, vibration, hours of use and parts functionality via your mobile phone!

Farms & AgriBusiness: This is an exciting field where you can analyse the wind to understand when to send out drones with the right speed and optimal wind conditions for the right concentration of seeds and pesticides; analyse water yield to activate irrigation or wait for the forecasted rain to do the job instead; analyse soil composition for optimal plant growth or plant choice. 

The sky is the limit when using AI and IoT technology as it really can save your business money and deliver higher efficiencies. But start small.

“Now it’s about making data decisions. Not gut feeling based plans. And it doesn’t have to be enterprise-wide, when employing smart tech solutions, it should be about catering to the relevant teams or department and scaling it from there,” adds Rubina.

The important thing is that you start learning how to adapt to the changing world now if you haven’t already!

Rubina Qureshi

Sales Readiness

Stockholm, Sweden

Advisory Services

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