The role technology plays in productivity in the digital age

Technology has changed the world in unprecedented ways, and as we become further entrenched in the digital age, so things become possible that were never even conceived of in the past.

From 3D printing to artificial intelligence, augmented reality to many new channels of communication, digitisation has revolutionised the world we live and conduct  business in. It is only at the intersection of technologies that true innovation can occur, and these innovations are critical for competitiveness in today’s business world. As a result, it has become imperative for organisations to embrace digital transformation.

One of the major drivers for organisations to embark upon the journey towards digital transformation is the need to create seamless omni-channel customer experiences. Customers now demand not only excellent customer service, but an experience that meets their expectations  across channels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across geographies. In addition, it is essential for agility and flexibility, that businesses move away from manual and paper-based processes, and improve operational efficiency through the adoption of digital solutions. Technology is also critical to a business’ ability to attract new customers and increase their revenues

An example of a seamless omni-channel customer experience may look as follows. A customer is reading a magazine, and comes across an advertisement for a vehicle. The advert contains a QR code, which the customer can scan with his or her mobile phone or tablet to receive vehicle finance offers from a bank that is partnering with the vehicle manufacturer. The customer can then apply for the finance directly from their mobile device using an app that enables the necessary documentation to be uploaded. The bank can then do an automated credit check and if the customer meets the acceptable norms then finance can be arranged immediately and the customer can proceed to the nearest dealer to collect their vehicle. This not only creates a simplified and more enjoyable customer experience, it also improves operational efficiency by eliminating manual back office processes and automating several typically onerous tasks.

This is just one simple example of digital transformation creating seamless omni-channel experiences by intersecting several existing solutions. The applications are practically endless when one considers the technology available today and solutions that may be available in the future. Local organisations are beginning to realise this potential and are rapidly embracing the transformation journey with a firm digital vision in place. IT budget is seeing a larger split in “transformation” initiatives, compared to business as usual “run” initiatives. Major spend is now being allocated to digital initiatives that will help businesses improve their service offerings, drive multi-channel customer experiences and help to create new revenue streams through innovation and enhanced agility.  

One of the greatest challenges hindering successful digital transformation is a lack of necessary skills, specifically the ability to understand digital design patterns and frameworks. In addition, lack of skill in the necessary toolsets can pose additional problems. Digital transformation requires an entirely new way of thinking and working and a completely new approach. New solutions and services as well as any changes to applications need to be implemented almost instantaneously. Months of lead time are simply no longer a possibility, as fast movers are the ones who are able to leverage competitive advantage. If your digital service or app does not deliver a personalised, intuitive and omni-channel experience, your customers will simply find another solution that does.

Digital transformation has the potential to deliver significant enhancements to agility and operational efficiency, among other tangible benefits. Some examples of applications for digital solutions include automation of customer onboarding processes, enhanced real-time 24-hour customer service through digital assistants such as chat bots, and a hyper-personalised online shopping experience. In the medical field digital innovation can help to provide intelligent patient care, such as the ability to offer preventative medicines based on data received from wearable technologies, rather than reactive care when illness arises. In addition, the Internet of Things enables assets to become connected and online, which allows for preventative maintenance, in turn helping to save time and money by addressing issues before they can cause failure.

In today’s world, technology breakthroughs are constantly redefining the way we live our everyday lives. Consumers are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and demanding, so technology innovations need to happen almost instantaneously to cater to their needs. Both consumption and delivery platforms are in a state of frequent change and evolution. The key to remaining competitive and improving business lies in the skill and ability to create not only innovation, but effective innovation that addresses a current or future customer need.

In a digital world, this requires an intersection of various different technologies to create new applications and new solutions. Some examples of these technologies include energy management, miniaturisation, machine data, Cloud, smart networks and analytics. With such a plethora of different technologies available, attaining the skills in-house to achieve innovation at the intersection of these technologies is all but impossible. It is therefore essential to partner with the right technology solutions provider. This will help businesses leverage technology to create the new services, products and breakthrough applications critical to success in the digital age.

Amit Kaundinya is the Practice Manager, Connected Enterprise Services, Wipro Limited.

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