Innovation, Evolution and Technology for Marcoms in Asia

I attended IDC’s Software and Services Client Summit in Singapore recently, and it was nice to catch up with many old friends, as well as to hear some key insights on what CIOs are experiencing, and IDC’s perspective on the exciting evolution taking place today in our region and industry. I do love the tech sector. But there was a lot that is relevant to marketing and communications professionals as well.

IDC refer to “The Four Pillars” which are expected to dominate the business/IT landscape for the next decade. The Four Pillars are: Big Data, Cloud, Enterprise Mobility and Social Enterprise, but IDC presented this on the 3rd platform. I hadn’t seen the 3rd Platform visually represented before and it seemed to resonate with me so much more as an image – I’m obviously a visual learner. There’s a great article on it at ZDNet if you want to know more.

(Unfortunately, I couldn’t get access to a 3rd Platform image to share, but if you’re on Pinterest, check out IDC’s Infographic site – nice find. Also the Infographic featured takes you nicely through the market opportunity IDC have identified around the four pillars.)

Explaining the 3rd Platform:

  • The 1st platform was the mainframe/terminal – with thousands of users
  • The 2nd platform was the client server – with millions of users
  • The 3rd platform is mobile/cloud – with billions of users

The 3rd platform is expected, according to IDC, to drive 90 percent of IT industry growth from 2013 to 2020. As such, IDC recommends that 80 percent of IT industry energy should be spent on 3rd Platform offerings and capabilities, and the 3rd Platform is about solutions, not hardware. This enables a new way to do business, and while the other two platforms are still with us – and will not be going away – that is where the majority of energy needs to focus.

Infographic IDC The Four Pillars

However, CIOs are finding the current evolution in the IT industry difficult, because there is still a lot of existing infrastructure to support. As Simon Piff, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure / Storage for IDC Asia Pacific said: “The CIO is looking so far forward, but in reality, a business still has a lot behind them. As such, a crisis is apparent.” I hope not!

Throughout the event, there was a lot of great information shared, but in order to follow the rules of blogging brevity (:)), some key points stood out:


  • The Commonwealth Bank (or Commbank) in Australia is now measuring more access to accounts via mobile devices than on desktop/laptop computers – that’s significant
  • Air New Zealand is a Top 10 YouTube site (terrific result for an ANZ business) and when I had a look, I can see why – nearly 11 million views (see below), and I’d certainly pay attention on that flight. Then again, check out the one with the All Blacks featured here which is probably more my style…. although is that Richard Simmons? It is, isn’t it? Awesome
  • Cloud is providing emerging countries – which we have a lot of in Asia Pacific – an opportunity to leapfrog the mature IT countries (like Australia and Singapore)
  • BYOD cannot be contained, so CIOs need to focus on strategy and implement
  • App downloads have increased 5x in two years – which is only going to grow with “BYO_____(fill in the blank)”
  • The future is EaaS – Everything as a Service. Therefore CIOs need to assess what can they do as a service – i.e. what can they put in the cloud? The cloud allows CIOs to fail faster, learn and try again – although this is also a challenge in Asia where failing is not culturally embraced
  • But in Asia automation is also causing fear for IT professionals – fear of losing jobs
  • The expectation in Asia is agility, flexibility and speed – which incorporates multi-platform, multi-model and multi-delivery. This means an expectation of now


What does it all mean to communication and marketing professionals?

My interpretation of the 3rd Platform and the Four Pillars for marketing and comms professionals is embrace Enterprise Mobility. While the tech professionals are focused on how to consolidate their infrastructure to support a mobile enterprise, we equally need to maximize how we market through these various channels (not just the what but the how) – which reach billions of people in this region (and continues to accelerate) – to grow our business and positively influence our buyers.

Equally Big Data is a unique opportunity for us (see previous Big Data blog), as we can now utilize the awesome analytic technologies available to more deeply understand our customers and improve our services to meet their needs. The customer knowledge we now have access too should mean less “push” marketing, and more “pull” – because we now “know” them.

And then we have Social Enterprise. Everyone has been talking about social media for years, but the social enterprise is a whole new opportunity marcom professionals can maximize to build high quality campaigns, that are targeted and segmented by interest areas. From my own understanding, social enterprise is the bridge that will bring the current, external social media revolution together with the internal social tools available (like Yammer) – converging internal and external communications for the first time. This means the customer tweet reaches the engineer that can fix the problem – it’s pretty cool. It’s a big, broad area and I am looking forward to seeing how true collaboration technology can really enhance our campaigns this year.

Cloud? This is a different one for me from a marketing and communications perspective, because it’s about delivering the scale to drive the other three pillars. With that said, cloud does deliver cost savings, speed-to-market, geographic spread with potential for rapid growth, and so much more, but it’s important to marcom professionals because it’s the enabler that allows us to excel and succeed rapidly. However, it is the other three pillars that are the disruptive forces in the current status quo. As my colleague Dan McHugh says about the Four Pillars: “get on board or be run-over, essentially.” Cloud is the enabler within The Four Pillars, which is why it’s so important.

There you go, my perspective on how all of this technology talk applies to marketing and communications professionals – but am I off the mark? I’d love to know what you think about applying the Four Pillars to the marketing and communication professions in Asia?

IDC’s event covered a lot more, but this is what stood out to me. I think we’re definitely up for some exciting times in the marketing, communications and IT professions, as we all try to make sense of how IT can revolutionize the way we do business.

Thanks for a really interesting event IDC.



2 thoughts on “Innovation, Evolution and Technology for Marcoms in Asia”

  1. For me, this quote stood out:
    “However, CIOs are finding the current evolution in the IT industry difficult, because there is still a lot of existing infrastructure to support.”

    This implies that many enterprise staffers will have both a smartphone for email, content consumption (including social media) and a laptop/desktop to do “real” work…unless the latter’s replaced by a ‘smart’ ole dumb terminal connection to cloud-enabled data crunchers.

    Oodles of opportunities for IaaS providers to become the ‘trusted’ utility provider of enterprise core networking services… but how many CIOs survive long enough to make the big changes stick?

    1. Mark, sorry for the slow reply, I am lagging behind at the moment. I’m with you and a big part of the challenge, but equally, the right type of CIOs is important as well!

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