Introduction to SMAC Tutorial

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1.1 Introduction to SMAC

Hello and welcome to the first lesson of the SMAC course offered by Simplilearn. SMAC, abbreviated as Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud is an upcoming business model in many organizations. This lesson provides a brief introduction to SMAC (Pronounce as: smack). Let us take a look at some interesting facts about SMAC in the next screen.

1.2 Interesting Facts

First let us consider the S of SMAC. Social media is emerging to be a fast-growing business strategy for organizations across the world. Did you know, nearly three-fourth of all Internet users are active on social media? And according to a survey, a majority of B2C marketers have acquired customers through Facebook? Mobile technologies have increased customer reach to information from various sources, thereby creating informed customers. Did you know, Mobile CRM is growing exponentially by 500% and according to a survey, 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour out of which more than 50% lead to sales? As far as Analytics is concerned, did you know that if you stacked a pile of CD-ROMs, it would stretch 80,000 km beyond the moon? And the information consumed by Internet traffic every hour can fill 7 million DVDs? In case of Cloud Computing, did you know there is an estimated 1 exabyte of data stored in the cloud? One exabyte of storage may contain DVD-quality videos that can run upto 50,000 years. Also, experts have projected that Cloud will soon become the rule rather than the exception. Now that these facts have established the importance of each SMAC component, let us take a close look at the objectives of the lesson in the next screen.

1.3 Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to describe SMAC and its benefits. You will also be able to explain the market trends that led to the origin and development of SMAC. Finally, you will be able to discuss some business challenges and their SMAC solutions. Let us discuss SMAC in greater detail in the next screen.

1.4 SMAC

SMAC is a concept based on four converging technologies namely Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud. Together, these technologies create an ecosystem to enhance the IT architecture of businesses. Although each of these components are evolving individually, companies are beginning to treat them as an integrated whole, called the SMAC stack. Let us continue to discuss SMAC in the next screen.

1.5 SMAC (contd.)

Each SMAC component offers specific services to businesses, such as: Social media widens the scope for communication via social media engagement, customer connections, and so on. Mobile connectivity enables faster communication by using smartphones and tablets. It leads to increased efficiency and productivity, greater accessibility to information, and reduced paperwork. Analytics provides opportunities to analyze the Big Data generated from various sources. Cloud removes barriers of geographies and helps in storing and accessing information, therefore reducing the cost of a physical server. When these four independent technologies combine to form a single tool, it provides a complete solution for digital marketing. Each of the SMAC components are discussed separately in the next lessons of this course. Let us understand the role of Social in SMAC in the next screen.

1.6 SMAC - Social

The term ‘Social’ in SMAC refers to the practice of increasing one's business and or social contacts by connecting to people anywhere in the world through various social networks. Social media marketing has become part of the key strategies of many organizations. According to a survey, there are over 465 million active Twitter accounts; Facebook has over 1.06 billion users, which is approximately 15% of the world’s population; and 2 new members join LinkedIn every second. Also, 10% of the entire internet traffic is handled by YouTube, where 35 hours of video is uploaded every minute. All these numbers are continuing to rise rapidly. Let us learn about the role of Mobile in SMAC in the next screen.

1.7 SMAC - Mobile

The term ‘Mobile’ in SMAC refers to mobility and access to the digital world by using tools such as smartphones and tablets. The concept of mobile marketing is picking up fast and it is also part of the key strategies of most companies. According to a recent survey, more than half of the world’s population uses mobile phones out of which one fourth are smartphone users. Every 9 in 10 smartphone users use mobile apps. Besides, half of all the local searches are performed on the mobile devices. Let us learn about the role of Analytics in the next screen.

1.8 SMAC - Analytics

The term ‘Analytics’ in SMAC refers to Big Data, which is a fast growing dataset—both structured and unstructured—with huge sizes beyond the ability of conventional database tools to store, manage, and analyze them. According to a survey, over 2.5 billion gigabytes of data is generated every day. You can store nearly 250 songs in one gigabyte. 90% of the available data was created in the last 3 to 4 years. It has been projected that the amount of data in the world will double once in every two years. Let us discuss the role of Cloud in the next screen.

1.9 SMAC - Cloud

The term ‘Cloud’ in SMAC refers to the concept of Cloud Computing. Cloud computing refers to services that share resource pools on the internet instead of personal hard drives. According to a survey, by the year 2020, the cloud computing market is expected to grow from $40.7 billion to $241 billion. More than half of the companies in the world have started using Cloud, where a vast majority witnessed major improvements within six months of using it. They realized improvements in their IT infrastructure, database management, cost reduction, and prevention of wastage. Also, over 65% of the companies selected cloud based solutions in the last two years alone. Now that we have gained basic knowledge of SMAC, let us get some insights on the business benefits of each SMAC component in the next screen.

1.10 Business Benefits of Each Component

There are many benefits of social media for businesses, some of them are: greater understanding of consumer perceptions to the company’s product, enhanced capacity of the organization to identify new opportunities in the market, ease of branding, increased traffic to the company’s website, enhanced lead generation opportunities, and better customer service and feedback. Some of the business benefits of mobile marketing are as follows: easy reach to customers as the users carry their mobile devices almost everywhere, awareness of the user’s location, cost-effective marketing solutions, and enhanced direct marketing opportunities. Some of the business benefits of analytics are as follows: improved productivity, enhanced ability to acquire and handle vast amount of data from various databases, enhanced organizational ability to study and analyze newspaper reports or feeds from social media using tools such as SAP HANA (Pronounce as: s-a-p-hannah), and encouragement to organizations to be data-driven. Some of the business benefits of cloud are as follows: reduced cost of IT and infrastructure, easy data storage and improved accessibility, increased speed and convenience, and easy data maintenance. So far, we have discussed the concepts of social media, mobile, analytics, and cloud along with their business benefits. In the next screen, we will understand what benefits SMAC provides as a stack.

1.11 Benefits of SMAC as a Stack

As discussed earlier in this lesson, although each SMAC component is independent by itself, companies are beginning to treat them as an integrated whole, called the SMAC stack. The development of SMAC as a stack has opened up many opportunities for organizations. SMAC integrates the features and benefits of each component into one stack, hence providing different opportunities for businesses. Opportunities could be anything from an entire range of organizational functionalities, such as marketing, finance, database management, CRM, and so on. SMAC allows organizations to adopt variable cost structures, expand market shares, and improve their products and services. SMAC technology enables businesses to grow bigger due to its global reach, minimized overheads, and greater accessibility. Other than businesses, SMAC also benefits professionals in various ways, some of them are explained in the next screen.

1.12 SMAC Benefits to Professionals

Many companies and IT vendors are investing in SMAC technology at a large scale, be it Mobile Commerce, Cloud Service, or Integrated Analytics. Therefore in the current scenario, many growth opportunities are available to a SMAC professional. Knowledge of the SMAC technology especially benefits students and professionals in the data science and analytics domain. As a part of their business strategy, companies depending on innovation cannot afford to ignore social media for product development, sales and marketing, and business relationships. If as a professional you have knowledge of the SMAC technology, you can be an important asset for your company. Knowledge of SMAC helps professionals enhance relationships with geographically distant enterprises and help in knowledge exchange as well. Let us proceed to look at the recent market trends in the next screen.

1.13 Recent Market Trends

Recent developments in technologies and emerging market trends have played an important part in the origin and development of SMAC technology as one stack. Each of the SMAC components are individually capable of improving a business. However, combining them as a stack has changed the approach of businesses towards increasing their customer base, profits, and brand value. In today’s world, a customer’s decision is mainly the sum of the features offered by the SMAC stack. A customer’s spending choice is based on the information available, practical product demonstrations, and reviews of a product or organization. The available connectivity and networking options have enabled customers to discuss with their friends, peers, and other people before making their spending choices. This has led to the rise of social marketing strategies. Mobile devices have widened the customer’s reach to information from various sources. Mobile applications have enabled businesses to reach their customers and interact with them at a personal level. This has increased the need for mobile marketing strategies in many organizations. Statistical performance analysis, cost-comparison of a product to its rival product, and so on helps consumers make quick and well-informed decisions. This encourages businesses to include analytics an important part of their marketing strategy. Cloud technology provides global accessibility of information and its compatibility with several devices have provided cost-effective solutions to individuals and businesses. In the next screen, we will learn about the concept of the new digital customer.

1.14 New Digital Customer

The concept of the new digital customer has arisen following the exponential growth in technology. Now-a-days, customers prefer online transactions to offline, mainly due to the benefits and flexibility offered by online transactions. A company’s online as well as offline activities are represented on the screen with the help of a diagram. As you can see, online activities are growing fast, in addition to being two-way and decentralized. On the other hand, offline marketing is growing at a slower pace, it is also one-way and centralized in nature. Please spend some time to study the diagram for a better understanding of the concept. Therefore the new digital customer is the online customer, in command of the various Internet and digital technologies. The emerging online trends with fast-changing technologies steer businesses to adapt themselves to reap maximum benefits. This is explained with the help of the ADAPT model in the next screen.

1.15 ADAPT

Every organization goes through certain phases to adapt themselves to the emerging trends brought about by fast-changing technologies. These phases can be explained with the help of the ADAPT model. The phases in the ADAPT model include: Awareness, Denial, Acceptance, Progress, and Transformation. The model helps understand how new technologies are ultimately absorbed by organizations and individuals. Awareness is the first phase of the model where the organization becomes aware of the new technology and its potential for facilitating change. For example, Internet boom happened in the early 1990s when organizations across the world started to feel its importance. Denial is the second phase, where ‘denial’ is a tendency or state of mind that any organization or individual would initially display before adopting any new technology. For example, in the mid-1990s, many experts brushed off Internet as a fad or just a trend. This mindset continued till organizations found the Internet efficient and important enough to adopt. Acceptance is the third phase in the ADAPT model where organizations begin to show true willingness to accept the new technology, and therefore change. For example, the first step taken by retailers in their use of the Internet was to display their product catalog on the Web, which brought them small benefits of reaching out to customers without printing costs. Progress is the next phase where the new technology adds new capacities to the organization and where the re-implementation of existing processes creates incremental benefits. For example, the retailers gave users a choice to review the products on the Internet, which was not possible in case of printed catalogs. The final phase in the ADAPT model is the transformation phase, where organizations reap the benefits from adopting the new technology. For example, when retailers allowed their users to use the websites’ features to customize the products, it led to the development of custom-manufacturing businesses with greater margins. Some of the business challenges faced by organization in adopting SMAC are: How to popularize the business in the social networks? How to connect with customers? Which marketing strategy works best to improve customer experience? What is the most cost-effective way to achieve productive outcomes? In the next screen, you will find out how SMAC helps in overcoming some of the business challenges.

1.16 SMAC - Challenges and Solution

SMAC serves as a solution to digitally transform organizations such that they can manage business challenges in the future. The solutions offered by SMAC for some of the business challenges faced by organization in adopting SMAC are: Firstly, How to popularize the business in the social networks? To enhance any businesses’ popularity in social networks, ‘social sharing’ can be used. Social sharing is the practice of sharing the businesses’ products or services on social networking sites or social media. An advantage of this practice is that the product gets introduced to potential customers who then provide relevant feedback and insights. These can be used to further improve the product or service. Next, How to connect with customers? Here, mobile technology plays a crucial part, where it can be used as a platform to connect with customers. According to a survey, about 60 to 80% people use their mobile devices to enter mobile marketplaces to shop and to search for other online services. By using the mobile marketing technology, business revenues can be increased. Next, how to make use of the Big Data available in the world and optimize it to business? Analytics plays a crucial role. Big Data can be used to extract the information. Various tools used in analytics can help businesses gain its hold on the Big Data. Finally, what is the most cost-effective way to achieve productive outcomes? The cloud computing technology helps build productive outcomes for businesses that are cost effective as well. This technology also helps in creating a limitless offsite infrastructure for organizations, thereby cutting down the costs for maintaining a physical server. Let us take a look at an illustration around SMAC implementation in the next screen.

1.17 SMAC Implementation

An example of how SMAC is implemented in real-time business scenario is shown on the screen. As seen in the illustration, customer enquiries, complaints, and bookings are usually completed in two ways. One is through direct communication, where the customer visits a company’s website to communicate. The other way is via social media and mobile technology to reach the company website. The company separates the structured data from the unstructured using various analytics tools such as CRM, complaints analysis, offers, and feedback analysis. The results or feedback from analytics is passed to the customers, either directly or through various social networking sites or mobile apps. This entire activity is performed using cloud computing services.

1.18 Quiz

Following is the quiz section to check your understanding of this lesson.

1.19 Summary

Let us now summarize what we have learned in this lesson. SMAC is a concept based on four converging technologies, namely Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud that creates an ecosystem to enhance the IT architecture of businesses. The term ‘Social’ in SMAC refers to the practice of growing any business and or social contacts by connecting to people through various social networks. The term ‘Mobile’ in SMAC refers to mobility and access to the digital world using tools such as smartphones and tablets. The summary is continued in the next screen.

1.20 Summary (contd.)

The term ‘Analytics’ in SMAC refers to Big Data, which comprises fast-growing, structured and unstructured datasets with huge sizes, beyond the ability of conventional database tools to store, manage, and analyze them. The term ‘Cloud’ in SMAC refers to the concept of Cloud Computing Services, where the resource pool is shared on Internet instead of personal hard drives. Every organization goes through certain phases to adapt themselves to the emerging trends and fast-changing technologies; these phases can be summarized under the ADAPT model.

1.21 Conclusion

This concludes the introductory lesson on SMAC. The next lesson will focus on Social Media in detail.


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