Digitization as a strategic business asset

Technology – can either make or break your business.

Smarter technologies like Intelligent Machines, AI-powered bots, Robotics have transformed the way humans live on a daily basis.

Forrester defines Digital Transformation as a fundamental shift in how firm drives revenue and delivers value”.

And what does that mean?

At its very core, its putting technological innovation at the fulcrum of your business. As opposed to the traditional way where it starts with People>Process>Techology.

(Further Reading from IBM on putting intelligent machines at the core)

Example: Your customer has discovered that your closest competitor has a fast, intuitive AI-powered mobile commerce app with great design and user experience that operates at a rattling speed. They’re deeply engaged with the brand, loving the experience and enjoying the desired outcome.

This has immediately raised the bar for ‘your retail business’ to deliver a similar or a better offering. And if such a mismatch happens multiple times a year, this results in a mental model to constantly push your internal product and engineering teams to ship faster, better features. The choice largely boils down to three options, particularly for customer focussed companies:

  1. Exceed your customer expectations
  2. Meet your customer expectations
  3. Play catch-up to your customer expectations

Fact: If your experience does not meet the customer’s expectation, there are high chances of your business becoming less relevant.

Why? Because in the above example your experience is not providing the amount of emotional value and desired outcome the customer is expecting.

Another example: Once customers have learned that your competitor has lower prices for same (or similar products delivering the same value). Now, the expectation is immediately raised for you to lower your prices. If you don’t have dynamic pricing capabilities, you probably just lost the price conscious customer to your competitor.

This is particularly important in the eCommerce business, as the price can be a big decision making factor for online purchasing.

As obvious as it sounds, there will never be a day where customers will want higher prices. (They might pay more for a better design and a finer quality, but that deviates from the point…)

In May 2016, more than half of the 9000 consumers surveyed by Valassis reported they spent 2 hours a week looking for deals, coupons and saving techniques online. And 42% of saved over $30 on weekly savings to buy daily essentials, with using at-least six coupons. As consumers are getting busy with their daily lives, they want to get the most bang for the buck for their grocery errands. 

So a solution could be as simple as pushing the coupon on the mobile app or even better, enabling the coupon on the product detail pages, which makes a big difference for the price conscious consumer. Now the customer no longer has to search online for coupons, by doing so, you’re essentially raising the bar of the customer experience.

In both the scenarios, technology has the innate power to be a ‘strategic business asset’ by lowering operating costs, raising the bar and improving the customer experience.

2018 gartner

Thinking points: 

  • If your business had an AI-first mentality, how would the customer churn be?
  • Which problematic use cases could leverage the list of above technologies?
  • What will raise the bar on customer experience?
  • If you’re running a large warehouse, can robots assist the human intensive jobs?
  • If you have a 1000 person call center, can AI-powered chatbots assist to increase your service efficiency and be more cost-effective?

Asking such hard questions helps companies inculcate a Digital Thinking mentality that will allow them to deeply understand customer needs and meet their emotional desires.