By : Kumar Gaurav, VP Sales and Marketing at Nihilent
Digital era has brought in its wake the imperative for all businesses and institutions, including those in the traditional mould, to transform into customer centric, agile and responsive digital enterprises. Internet has made the world go flat and made it possible for enterprises of all sizes to compete as equals by adopting digital technologies across marketing, product development, customer service and supply chain operations.
Disruptive technology heralding change across verticals
Disruptive technology has completely changed the way enterprises operate. Hitherto, businesses used to innovate and deliver based on their capabilities and their understanding of the market. The idea now is being turned on its head. It has become necessary to bring the customer into the centre of operations and build the product/service in line with customer needs. In order to enhance customer experience, many businesses are today adopting the idea of co-creation, wherein the role of customers in the process of product innovation is key. The field of supply chain is waiting to get completely disrupted as more and more companies starts leveraging 3D printing. No more will you be storing spare parts or working with multiple moulds to shape-up the product but will start using 3D printing to print them off a design. Recently a fully functional bike was printed, assembled and ridden using metal additives. Similarly, in retail, businesses with a better grip over consumer behaviour are connecting with them on social channels, mobile phones and are personalizing offerings. The banking industry has embraced digital transformation in a big way and the trend can only go north. While innovations like mobile and tab banking, payment gateways are already seeing extensive adoption, there are newer technologies which promise to take digital banking to the next level. For instance, blockchain technology, used to record Bitcoin transactions is expected to disrupt the entire market. Insurance is getting transformed as well, with a new set of products aligned with customer behaviour. Say, the variability of insurance premium based on our driving record is a tactic that is being increasingly used. At the same time, the marketing of these new products is changing, with more targeted messaging and customer-focused events.
Digital initiatives, not the bastion of CIOs only anymore
Today, most of the technology initiatives are being driven by function heads. For example, in e-commerce in retail, IT reports to the business head, who is responsible for directing the course of the business. Store managers reporting to COOs are driving analytics driven business activities such as installing customer information gathering tools like beacon and near-field communications within the store. The data collected is being used to understand customer preferences, or conversion ratios, and even impact visual planograms. In healthcare, whether it is tracking the health of an individual, or helping them becoming more vigilant about their individual health, ideas are being generated by business operations heads.
Shift from individual technologies to delivering integrated solutions
When business can no longer afford to be operating in isolation, it is difficult for the technology enabling the operations to exist in the past. Individual applications, technologies which limit interoperability are being replaced by integrated solutions that enable plug and play capabilities, scalability and interoperability. Uber and the other platforms like Airbnb or Urban Clap that follow the aggregator model indicate how integrated solutions are offering enhanced customer experience. For instance, Uber allows other companies like PayTM to not only offer easy payment solutions to customers, but also in return tap into their own customer base. We can see a huge transformation in companies that used to initially focus on Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) framework, now focusing on Application Programming Interface (API). Those who can consume APIs based on standard guidelines can now connect better.
Much of current transformation is driven by customer needs. The customer feels more empowered and feels the ease of doing business. However, there is still the need to convey the idea that businesses are changing towards a more customer centric model. Customers are becoming loyal to their own need, and are likely to shift easily. Companies can’t just rely on one-off outreach programs for customers through marketing campaigns but they have to be in constant touch, understanding the need communicating and selling.
The successful company will be the one who is present where the customer is.