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Thursday, April 16, 2015
The goal of digital initiatives have clearly gone far beyond to be a matter of smooth and trouble-free provision of digital technologies. Leading edge enterprises state their goal of digital initiatives as one that can and should create a path for new way of doing business with customers and also as an general enabler of operational efficiency working at digital speed and scale and by extension serve as a catalyst for growth.
The real challenge comes in when in their respective laudable initiatives for growth, many enterprises may tend to take ownership of technology decisions for themselves and tend to operate on the belief that they would know the means to digitalize their part of the business including purchase and transformation programs, potentially in the process creating a fragmented and incoherent islands across the enterprise. The enterprise concerns about such an approach and their outcomes. How can enterprises put in place a program to manage this overall digression while pursuing their digital initiatives is a ringing concern begging an answer. We will briefly attempt to take a shot in getting some concrete answers here.
Digital transformation is a long journey - it’s a marathon and not just a sprint. Today’s enterprises are living in the most accelerated innovation lifecycle ever seen in the history of mankind. Leading edge enterprises recognize and try to take advantage of the fact that digital technologies have created a new sense and purpose for consumer behavior with very different ways of engagement. Added to this is the increasing global wealth and the propensity to spend more in the consumer era.
Staying ahead of the curve - While the explosion of connectivity, data and internet of things have created great opportunities for innovation , the fact of the matter is that these provide great difficulties to organizations as well. In the nee spend paradigm, more bang for the buck with frozen or near frozen levels of budget are expected to bring greater value and in shorter time with larger positive impact. External service providers can step in here -providing the much needed services on storage, development and processing paraphernalia. In fact, a new niche of value added data providers are emerging who can provide valuable insights with the data that enterprises have with them. Niches can get richer and deeper experience and expertise - enterprises should always look for leveraging them. Digital speed and scale are very different and in many ways characterize what digital business actually means.
People - It can be easily said that look for change agents, who are versatile and flexible, who are the tree shakers bringing in change and who understand the forces that are driving the market now in terms of trends, technology and business. It’s so difficult to find them or mould them to fit these expectations. unfortunately digital transformation would perforce demand these changes in people inside enterprises. Every enterprise is entitled to minimize risks but the risk profile and propensity should move higher over time and needs to adapt to a changing market and develop mitigation proposals, while keeping an eye on growth.
Technology - An unstoppable stream of technology advances keep happening at a blistering pace and breakthroughs are getting reported much more than usual. Some of these technologies can have a deep impact in the way business can get conducted changing people and organizational behaviour and sometimes transforming the value chain. It's a judgemental call which set o technologies and business models can create such a deep impact and enterprises need to be alert in constantly looking for and assessing such opportunities.Robust scenario planning exercises including emerging opportunities, assumption busting, changing the status quo and competitive advantage assessments need to be conducted in an effective way regularly.
Enter the Chief Digital Officer(CDO) - Any enterprise not taking the initiative for digitalization would be missing out majorly on getting competitive and securing long term success for themselves. This is regardless of the industry that an enterprise falls under - from museums to special events industry - every industry is going to get engulfed in the wave of digitization. The existing leadership dispensation may not be rightly equipped to drive the needed changes required to capitalize on the digital wave. Consequently, the emergence of the chief digital officer (CDO) is essential for the new age of digital business.The chief digital officer will be the primary mover for transforming regular business into digital business besides creating new digital centric business models In embracing digital tenets of running an enterprise, the basic nature of functioning of the enterprise undergoes massive changes. Digital business brings in its own expectations that include cultural shifts as part of a new digital DNA - every part of work - why, what, where and how are susceptible to big changes. And, the gamut of changes covers areas like business models and extending into data, security, digital platforms and the extended digital ecosystem - all need to be properly leveraged to help enterprise remain competitive -in the short term to longer term. The CDO is integral to planning and executing digital transformation in the enterprise.
As I wrote here, every transformation efforts brings along with it substantial degree of risk. Digital proponents leverage the fact that the business strategies that embrace. New process models and couple powerful new technologies are transforming the way we do business and the vibrant nature of the marketplace. It’s clear that yesteryears paradigm of economic and business models are too inadequate to secure future years success. New paradigms need to be created, starting with the vision to innovate and enormous energy and skills to stay the course and realize quantifiable benefits. The core ability needed to enable digital transformation rests around customer centricity and a focus on making their businesses different through technology but not per se on the technologies. No technology should be deployed without a fully thought through vision of how it advances business goals, addresses customer needs, or both. Beyond that, technology should be so tightly intertwined with strategy that the two drive and reinforce each other.
A digital strategy that focuses on specific business outcomes leveraging various forms of digital technologies can create a massive edge for the enterprise. Sustainable edge comes in where the physical world and digital universe come together in creating new value. Digital winners get there by thinking big and small together transforming processes, creating/validating/rebooting business models and enabling new waves of customer experience. Any company large or small, old or new can use this digital technology to create a winning edge for its business and perhaps, its industry.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Digital technology is clearly driving massive change in enterprise and consumer behavior, prompting business and brands to rethink the way they reimagine the ecosystem in which they operate and in their strategies to reach, engage and retain customers. In simple terms, it can be said that the customers expect more from the business that they choose to do business with, thereby putting enormous pressure on the enterprise. The heightened expectation on business translates into pressure on all aspects of the business - marketing to fulfillment and this is a collective reflection of how enterprises value and deliver on the customer experience. As noted earlier, optimized customer experience can effectively help enterprises sell 20x more offers – leading to anywhere from a 30% to 100% increase in conversions and more importantly in a few years from now, the expectation is that customer experience will triumph product, price differentiation across many sectors. Think Netfilx, Starbucks and Amazon experience and project these in the various sectors - that reality could be faster than general expectations. Now there is evidence to suggest that business that provide the best forms of customer experience see a huge upside in their potential and the corollary fact that poor customer experience would drive customers to competition for sure underlies the criticality of investing there. This is both defensive and an aggressive move for success and growth.
This new normal brings with it both abundant opportunities coupled with associated set of challenges.. As a result, enterprises today recognize that their ability to win and retain customers will have to massively leverage the experience and the overall journey that they can offer to their customers. Enterprises genuinely get caught up in getting things done when they have the plans conceptualized well and the plan -action - result gap is always a matter of concern for business leaders attempting to get their enterprise into a leadership position by embracing the best and the upcoming tenets. They are aware of the substantial challenges that they would face in transitioning to an experience centric world. They also very well realize that their organizations need to be glued into a process with strong linkages to system, data , analytics and being able to reach the customers through all the channels. Every enterprise should focus on getting a digital DNA like signature that would uniquely represent their customer acquisition, advocacy, retention and delight plans.
Digital is really on the verge of seamlessly integrating with the core world of business and promising to transform with the proliferation of multiple digital channels . The stage is now set for digital transformation to be one of the most critical initiatives for enterprises and early adopters are clearly reporting huge success out of such efforts I would define digital transformation as the action around digital strategy that focuses on specific business outcomes leveraging various forms of digital technologies can create an edge for the enterprise. Enterprises need to conquer the quest of shifts that are happening in the realms of social, organization and technology. These may manifest as outcomes that include the likes of new business models and approaches to customer delight using digital technologies. Let’s now look at some practical ways where key success factors of digitally led customer experience initiatives can be focussed on inside enterprises. Based on the lessons of the pioneers, who have successfully managed mastery of the opportunity and waded the challenges, it is seen:
A. The marketplace is not homogeneous and customers really demand varied services across the spectrum - digital customer experience must deliver a continual range of interactive experience. Customer experience is not the average of “aha” moment or other moments of truth The sum of all good and bad interactions drive the overall experience across all possible moments of interaction is what matters. Imagine talking in the social media about the good and bad moments of customer experience - then enterprises would realize the need to best and consistent throughout. These businesses have users, customers, devices, or interactions numbered in the hundreds of millions, billions, or more. Countless ways of of interactions and data points, and these in turn, mean that events with only a one-in-a-million probability are happening many times a day. Many enterprises start with focusing a lot on either getting the experience or the back office right - neither is enough of their own. The key leap needed here is to move from engaging to providing experience leveraging analytics by closing the loop. In the digital world, enterprises can track each click, navigation path - points of entry, stay and exit and can gain enormous insights. and enterprises can gain this power by powerful data analysis. Data is king, whether it comes from the outward-facing systems of engagement or inward-facing systems of record. The most effective digital business efforts will enable closing the loop at ease. This must be done by meticulous integration, standardization, analysis and application of data from both types of system covering all processes into business planning and management.
B. Consistent and seamlessly connected experience across all channel of interaction with the customers. Many times enterprises tailor experience specific to channels owing to their operational reasons and internal processes. this flexibility is passe. The more flexibility that we provide for customers to interact in their own comfortable ways - the more endearing the customer experience is going to be. Digital age needs demand cross channel consistency and utmost ease in doing business, this includes laying elegant solutions leveraging common third party services like payments as part of customer experience.
C. Niche, Context & The Ultimate: Superior experience is a tablestake in engaging customers - the real differentiated/innovative value comes out of getting the context right - this means being able to integrate everything from the profile to location to navigation to entity of interest and provide a super personalized manner of interaction for the customer and if we add the dimension of being the best by integrating vertical/niche experience, the game really gets ready to be won by enterprise in winning the customer. Many times, the niche capabilities may force business to leverage their own expertise before the market is able to provide those as affordable common services.
Digitalization is redefining the nature of of competition among industries by easy market expansion - achieved through lowering the cost of entering markets and providing opportunity to scale up and scale wide in impressive ways.Every enterprise will find its own ways and means of delivering customer experience but what has been captured above is a clear common denominator.Of course, enterprises need to carefully calibrate and define their own models of success in the digital age; but they can’t succeed without mastering customer experience, monetization models and platform resilience and, digital business transformation is a journey that takes many years and quantum efforts to stabilize, so the effort requires constant focus to sustain and grow.|
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