An introduction to SMAC and what it means for your organisation

Just when CIOs were getting their heads around the 3rd Platform, comes a new definer of technology – SMAC, which relates to Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. These four technologies are at the forefront of driving business innovation.

IDC calls this technology combination ‘the 3rd platform’; Gartner calls it the ‘Nexus of Forces’ and Cognizant calls it ‘SMAC’, but they all refer to the technology stack which is the fifth wave of corporate IT, and that is threatening to make old world systems irrelevant.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, the SMAC stack will drive more than 26% of the total enterprise software market revenue – an increase from 12% in 2012 – representing over $104 billion new revenue from this stack.

So what does SMAC mean for your organisation? An Infosys blog post has some good perspectives.

Disrupting the world

It says “SMAC is disrupting the world. No CIO discussion is complete without considering impact of SMAC on business. Faster than ever improvements in this technology stack, are adding value to whole gamut of businesses. Advantages are many and seem very fascinating, with promises being made as large as - predicting future (Analytics), available anywhere (Mobile), everything so simple and networked (Social), and at a fraction of price (Cloud). This new technology stack has started transforming tomorrow's enterprise and has impact on each of the areas of an enterprise, hence subsequently on all the software applications used within and by the organisations.”

This blog post also dredges up some fascinating figures relating to the elements of the SMAC technology stack.

Social media

On social media, it states that: “Today Facebook has 1.3 billion active users, which is same as entire population of world's most populous country – China. Ironically, Facebook is blocked in China. 73% of adult Americans use one or other social networking sites. 25% people on this planet use social media, and this number is increasing very rapidly. In emerging economies, this growth is more than 100% year-on-year. So, social media is touching life of so many people, which no other medium has done in past, at such scale.”


On mobility: “There are 7.1 billion people living in this world and 6.6 billion mobile subscribers. By 2016, there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices which would roughly be 1.5 times of world's population at that time,” the blog states.


About analytics: “In today's digitally connected world, there is data everywhere resulting into an information overload, which is not readily usable for productive purposes like decision making. Analytics makes extensive use of mathematics and statistics to convert raw data into a meaningful data which can augment the decision making process.”

The cloud

The cloud: “The Simple meaning of the cloud in the context of SMAC is using software applications as a service without buying them. Service is offered remotely through internet and a usage charge is paid to seller. The point here is that user need not buy and install hardware, software, network and infrastructure and start using the software without any capital expenditure, and pay as per use. Cloud services providers use economies of scale and tries to make use of every bit of computing space to provide cost effective services to users. So a cloud based offering provides services from anywhere using any device at a much lower usage cost.”

Cognizant is credited with coining the SMAC term, so the thoughts of Cognizant Technology Solutions CEO, Francisco D'Souza, writing in India’s Economic Times, are worth highlighting here.

Embrace the change

D’Souza says: “Businesses must move quickly to embrace the change enabled by SMAC because competitive advantage, market leadership, and profitable growth are at stake. The good news: SMAC technologies offer fantastic opportunities to effect meaningful business model change as business becomes increasingly technology intensive. Making sense of vast amounts of data generated by traditional systems is critical to informing and delivering differentiated sources of value from new products and services.”

And he has some good news for managed services companies and outsourcing firms. “More than ever, enterprises will look toward services firms to help them through this transition as they seek out and generate unprecedented levels of business value and innovation.

And for services firms, much like their clients, fulfilling this new wave of expectations will mean challenging their own status quo. Only then can they develop the new models and capabilities that their clients need to thrive in these dynamic times.

Core versus context

D’Souza writes that “Not long ago, conventional wisdom dictated that businesses invest in their "core" competencies and partner with specialists on what was considered "context" to their businesses.

“Now the "core" versus "context" distinction is less clear and highly fluid. What is core today may be context tomorrow, and vice versa. As this distinction blurs, businesses must address a dual mandate to remain relevant. They must not only drive operational efficiency and business effectiveness, but also embrace newer capabilities that power competitive advantage, growth and enterprise value.

“In this environment, services firms must guide clients beyond mere incremental performance improvements and help infuse their key business processes—both core and context— with new digital capabilities that simultaneously transform operations and boost innovation.”

We will be examining SMAC further in the next Logicalis blog as there is so much to cover.

In the meantime, to read more about SMAC, click here to download our free ebook now.

Tags CIO, Digital Transformation, Cloud, analytics, Gartner, 3rd platform, IDC, mobility, SMAC, Social media


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