Business Today

Companies must have roadmap to implement digital agenda

Every industry segment wants to leverage enablers like social media, mobility, analytics, cloud, internet of things etc to enhance business and hence every CEO today has a 'Digital agenda' mandate. Government agencies are not lagging behind and they too have started riding the digital wave.

Sarit Bose | July 6, 2015 | Updated 11:01 IST

Sarit Bose
The adoption of digital technologies is crucial to organisations that wish to survive and move ahead in the dynamic business ecosystem.

Digital technologies, riding on cheaper and faster communication medium, internet and mobile devices, have opened up Pandora's Box for the industry. Improved and enhanced customer experience, operational cost optimisation, data monetisation, information security and regulatory compliance have become the order of the day in running a successful, safe and profitable business.

Every industry segment wants to leverage enablers like social media, mobility, analytics, cloud, internet of things etc to enhance business and hence every CEO today has a 'Digital agenda' mandate. Government agencies are not lagging behind and they too have started riding the digital wave.

Let us go through a few examples of how organisations have been using disruptive digital innovations to drive positive business outcomes:

The success of Facebook games like FourSquare, Farmville has inspired the Banking and Financial Services industries to use Gamification as a tool to drive revenue maximisation programs. RaboBank in Netherlands played with the idea of applying game-design thinking to non-game context, like everyday banking, to achieve a higher level of customer engagement and solve problems.

They designed a gaming application for mortgage products, where they engaged their prospective customers through interactive game-styled applications to plan their mortgages and in the process, educated them about mortgages in a layman's language. Potential clients who became customers were awarded reward points which could be encashed or used online for redemption. This endeavour generated a 30 per cent rise in customer volume and at the same time, increased the number of 'less risky' customers as they became more aware of the mortgage products.  

Automobile giant Porsche made their manufacturing facilities more agile and efficient through digital transformation. Parts are delivered hourly and are tracked in real-time, so any short-notice changes can still be incorporated smoothly. This allows customers to change their car specifications until the last minute, which is the ultimate level of personal attention. All inventories are eliminated, as are waiting times, leaving behind a perfectly coordinated process chain.

Taking it a step further, WiFi connectivity has helped Porsche create predictive maintenance programs for their customers, so that they can enjoy an even better experience. This attitude of constant improvement can account for much of Porsche's success and serves as an impressive example of what businesses can achieve with digital transformation.

Dabur in India had been connecting to Indian women consumers for the last few decades using traditional media before it decided to take the digital route. With a zeal to connect to modern affluent Indian women who still value their traditions, they launched a four-minute campaign named 'Bold and Beautiful' on YouTube.

It was a short musical video saluting the courage of a woman who fought cancer to lead a beautiful life full of courage and dignity. This video went viral immediately after it was launched and it generated more than three million views in less than two days. This was not merely an advertisement; it helped Dabur's consumer engagement scale unimaginable heights.

A brand survey exercise conducted showed a 11 per cent rise in band awareness and a whopping 246 per cent increase in brand recall. Effective digital marketing complemented by efficient campaign effectiveness analytics helped Dabur reinforce their brand awareness and brand value in a highly competitive Indian market place.  

These examples are just a the tip of the iceberg; the benefits of digital transformation are manifold ranging from smart city programs to e-commerce; connected health to omni-channel customer experience and machine-to-machine integration to social CRM to name a few.

Digital agenda demands unstructured data of large volume being generated by unreliable sources to be processed by the enterprise e.g. RFID data, data from smart meters, data from GPS, Machine to Machine (M2M) data, social media etc.

And there lies the challenge and risk; organisations have to now deal with unprecedented volume of data from all these sources, data of different forms, accuracy and quality of this data, ownership of the data, etc. These facts pose a tough challenge to the existing data management strategy, human resource skillset, technology and operating mechanism. Preparing to embrace the shift

This shift would not only affect IT, but would have a significant impact on business operations too. It would be imperative to enforce strong security and risk management framework in place to deal with security issues and loopholes emerging from this new model. New regulations would evolve in terms of customer privacy protection, data exchange and interchange; time to react to these new regulations would be critical for business agility. While every organisation today is on social media; not many have a published social media policy and guideline!

The agenda cannot be achieved without an effective digital strategy and an execution framework being put in place. Since a change of this magnitude involves time, money and risk of failure, it is important for the organisations to do a proper assessment at the very onset and create a business case supported by an implementation roadmap. Right building blocks have to be in place to get a positive return out of the digital agenda investments being made.

Whether being leveraged for cost optimisation or predictive insights to enhancing customer experience, digital will have an enormous role in shaping business of tomorrow and in taking consumerism to the next level.

The author is Director, Protiviti India

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