Mastek Blog

Simplify Digital: Riding the Waves of Innovation

15-Apr-2024 08:23:05 / by Steve Latchem

Steve Latchem


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Ah, the good old days of floppy disks, green screens and early personal computers that filled the desk and had a heady 256Kb of RAM! 

Those were the cutting-edge tools of my early career! Fast-forward a few decades, and the landscape is unrecognisable. Today, we're traversing a dynamic digital ocean, where each wave brings a new tide of innovation. With nearly four decades of navigating this ever-evolving space, I've seen four major waves of digital innovation unfold, each building upon the last. 

From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data and analytics, I've seen many technological evolutions in recent times unlock a world of possibilities. But what are these four waves, and how did they shape our world? Let's dive in. 

The Four Waves of Digital Innovation 

Wave 1: Customer Experience 

Remember the days before email and online interactions? Customers craved seamless engagement across diverse channels, especially in the promising world of smart devices. This sparked the rise of mobile-first experiences, a trend that continues to shape how we interact today. Imagine a world without smartphones! Unthinkable, right? 

Wave 2: Big Data 

With the surge in smart devices, touchpoints multiplied, generating extensive customer data. Organisations harnessed this for personalising experiences and understanding behaviour, preferences, and location-centric content. 

Wave 3: Digital Marketing 

Building on Wave 2 data, this phase monetised customer insights. Data analysis fuelled digital marketing platforms, empowering organisations to tailor products and services to individual needs. 

Wave 4: Connected World 

The current wave revolves around understanding, co-creating and making decisions on behalf of, and with, the customers. With the Internet of Things becoming a reality, organisations are bringing all their knowledge about the customer to help make decisions for, and with them, in real-time. 

Mastek Has Been at the Forefront of Innovation in Every Wave  

Mastek has been at a parallel pace of adaptability and growth alongside every new wave of digital innovation. From being among the first in India to develop application software products decades ago to pioneering ERP solutions, Mastek has always been at the forefront. 

I’ve had some very enriching experiences working with Mastek, spanning latest generation transaction messaging and patient care analytics, to building logistics freight and troop movement solutions for Defence, to co-developing and delivering Discovery and Alpha phases of a secure patient information-sharing for the National Health Service (NHS) in England. This included creating user-centric wireframes, identifying and addressing data quality issues, and establishing agile methodologies. 

Mastek has been a front-runner in agile methods, delivering these methods for our customers for nearly two decades, and assuring our agile methods to CMMi Level 5. Our focus on results, not rituals, (i.e. outcomes before any procedural blockers), has driven our customer centricity across the globe. 

This focus on the customer is particularly critical in today's digital landscape, where technology can often dictate the agenda. What sets my experience with Mastek apart is their steadfast commitment to using technology as a tool rather than allowing it to dictate the agenda. They prioritise mission-focused outcomes and ensure their digital solutions align directly with their client's business objectives. This commitment to customer-centric innovation continues with Mastek's CTIO function and innovation labs, and specialised digital service lines, constantly exploring the digital frontiers to empower its clients' growth. 

The Kondratieff Wave Theory 

In the context of digital evolution and Mastek's commitment to customer-centric innovation, the Kondratieff Wave Theory offers an interesting perspective. 

The Kondratieff Wave Theory proposes long economic cycles (decades-long) driven by technological innovation, societal change and economic activity. While past waves were fuelled by physical advancements like electricity, the digital era has accelerated the pace. 

Here's a quick look at the six waves: 

Wave 1: Power loom and hydropower kick-started factory production. 

Wave 2: Steam power revolutionised transportation and construction. 

Wave 3: Electricity and mass production transformed homes and industries. 

Wave 4: Computers ushered in the Information Age. 

Wave 5: Personal computers, the internet, and mobile technologies connected the world. 

Wave 6: We're now in the wave of renewable energy, with (for example) AI, and the metaverse, shaping a sustainable and interconnected future. 

These waves illustrate the evolving nature of technology and its profound impact on society and the economy, reflecting Mastek's ongoing dedication to embracing innovation and driving meaningful change in the digital realm. 

Riding the Current Wave: The Rise of New Frontiers 

As we navigate the current wave of innovation, one technology that stands out for its transformative potential is Generative AI (Gen AI), which is capable of creating realistic text, code, images, and even music. This opens doors across industries, from enhancing creativity and efficiency to personalising user experiences, accelerating the build/development of software and accelerating innovation. At Mastek, we're harnessing the power of Gen AI, across Build and Run processes, but with a keen eye on responsible development and ethical controls. 

Anticipating the Next Wave 

Looking into the future, I see several technological advancements with the potential to define the next wave of innovation. Quantum computing promises to revolutionise fields like materials science and drug discovery while bio-printing could pave the way for personalised medicine and organ regeneration. Additionally, the continued evolution of artificial intelligence will likely permeate every facet of our lives, blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds. To prepare for these transformative trends, businesses must foster a culture of continuous learning and embrace a growth mindset. 

Simplify the Complex 

As a technocrat, I've witnessed both the incredible potential and the complexities of technology. While its purpose is to simplify and streamline our lives, the reality is often quite different. We've all encountered the frustration of overly complex interfaces, like the button-laden remote controls, (or 5-level menu structures) that leave us feeling more confused than empowered. This disconnect between the promise and the reality of technology is a challenge we at Mastek are passionate about addressing. 

Though technology has evolved by leaps and bounds with time, Mastek has stayed where it was since its inception, with its passion for making technology, digital transformations and innovations simple, clutter-free and accessible to all. 

Mastek simplifies digital transformations through actionable frameworks 

Mastek's unique approach prioritises outcomes first, with technology enabling those outcomes. Take, for example, the Oracle HCM Cloud Solution we implemented for a client. It streamlined HR tasks, freeing up time for proactive support, improved recruitment visibility for faster hiring, empowered managers, and reduced data duplication. This is just one example of how our patented Mastek Glide 4.0 framework and expertise in Cloud, DevSecOps, Data Fusion, and AI empower us to achieve real-world results for our clients. 

Across Digital solutions, Mastek has built accelerators and agile processes to drive faster and higher quality outcomes, from accelerated DevSecOps to Testing & Quality Assurance, to Salesforce No/Low Code accelerators, to Data & Analytics lifecycle tools, our rigorous outcome and customer focus drives enabling the journey with digital technology. 

How Do Businesses Continue to Succeed in this Age of Innovation? 

In my near four-decade career, I've seen leading businesses ride the many waves of innovation successfully. Here's what works: 

  • People-Centric Approach: Success, to me, revolves around a dedicated and empowered team. Ensure every voice is heard and valued. 
  • Embracing Change: Every change is an opportunity to learn and grow, and in today’s world, it’s the only ‘inevitable’, embrace the waves, experiment and take calculated risks. 
  • Winning Big, Not Resting on Laurels: Always strive for continuous improvement, embrace setbacks and victories alike, and exceed your expectations. Fail Fast is a common agile mantra, you should always remember that failure is the stepping stone to larger success, if you learn from this, and drive forward with the learning you have received. 
  • Cultivating a Culture of Innovation: Focus on delivering promises and evaluating all perspectives and inputs. Diversity of thought should be actively encouraged to enable holistic and enduring solutions to be created. Not forgetting prioritising tangible results, over mere rituals in our pursuit of innovation. 

Simplify Digital with Mastek 

The digital landscape is a constant wave of innovation, and staying ahead requires continuous learning and agility. Mastek's "Simplify Digital" offering is here to help businesses navigate this ever-changing tide. 

Explore Mastek's approach to co-create a future-proof strategy that keeps you ahead of the curve:


Topics: Digital Transformation, AI, ML

Steve Latchem

Written by Steve Latchem

Steve Latchem is a Strategic Advisor to Mastek UK and helps drive our strategy to increase investment and capability in the Public Sector, building on the solid foundations we have already established. He is a highly experienced Digital Technologist in the secure government sector, with 39 years of experience, including working at the UK MOD across multiple Deputy Director roles, including Chief Technologist, Head of Professions for Architecture & Engineering, DevOps and Cloud strategy/delivery and Head of Innovation. Earlier in his career, Steve led the design and delivery of digital architectures and programmes for a range of Mastek clients across the globe, and for global service integrators and Fortune 500 companies. Steve has consulted all over the world on digital solutions and agile processes, he is a patent inventor of a Cloud Security solution, co-author of 4 books on Software Architecture and Agile Processes and contributor to international standards in software integration.

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