Despite the technology available to us, organisations have traditionally been cautious in their approach to building a new roadmap for their infrastructure. Arun Rangaraju believes now is the time for us to be braver and bolder in our approach to digital innovation.
When we think of technology, take artificial intelligence (AI) for example, it’s very natural to focus on specific use cases. Chatbots are bandied around as a common example as recently highlighted by my colleague Uphaar Agrawalla in his latest blog
. They are however very specific to customer engagement and the need to streamline customer enquiries. I recently tried the chatbot of a US telco. After asking a few questions, it redirected me to a real agent for what I thought was a fairly simple request to suspend my connection. In this case, it actually made the experience worse! Chatbots are great when executed in the right way with Natural Language Processing (NLP) built in.
Redefining digital transformation
Now implementing a chatbot could be categorised as a digital transformation – as in it has digitally transformed the customer service experience to enable a more efficient process. My view is that this is too narrow a definition – we must think bigger and wider than that.
So, let me define digital transformation; a term that often loses its meaning because it is used so freely:
"Digital transformation is about using the latest technologies to enable a new business model that allows an enterprise to serve its customers better, cheaper and faster".
As you can see, enabling a new business model means reinventing many parts of the supply chain – the supplier ecosystem, manufacturing, distribution, sales and service experience. I have used the broad term - latest technologies - to cover software products, platforms and devices that enhance connectedness across the supply chain.
The biggest question that enterprises face today is where and how to start their digital journey. The trap they often fall into is to take a piecemeal approach – e.g. implement a new cloud-based CRM system or install sensors in their equipment because they seem like the cool thing to do.
What we at Mindtree do is help enterprises plot their customer journey map (CJM); we identify their customer and buyer personas, help them think through their new business model and, only then, do we evaluate the technology options available. It’s a business first, consulting-led approach where we use Design Thinking principles.
Once the initial workshop is completed and the personas are validated through field and end-user research, we invite clients to our ideation spaces across the globe (Digital Pumpkins
) to work through the to-be CJM and prototypes.
What differentiates us from other players and especially creative agencies is our deep understanding of the industry domain, a team of experts well versed with emerging technologies and experience in driving the change. E.g. we used IoT sensors and video analytics linked to an SAP Digital Core to help a real estate company convert create a set of connected and smart buildings to drive better customer experience while reducing operational costs like energy.
Similarly, we helped a European retailer predict when a customer will need an in-store sales person and measure the effectiveness of in-store marketing. The solution used a combination of video analytics driven assisted selling and
The technology revolution is here to stay
The technology revolution is here to stay. Companies better learn how to make it work to their advantage rather than have a competitor exploit it and put them out of business.
Many of the companies that we work with in our focus verticals like Consumer Products and Goods (CPG), Insurance and Manufacturing are not technology innovators but fast followers. We help them through rapid prototyping and Proof of Concepts (POCs) that can be done in a matter of weeks. We also try to use our relationships with the Independent Software Vendors to get this done without making our clients invest in licences.
It’s a journey
Digital transformation is not a one-off project; it is a continuous journey where companies will need to experiment with different technologies and either succeed or ‘fail fast’ and move on. Only those that embrace the technology and organizational change will be able to reinvent themselves. Reinvention is no longer a nice to have; it’s the key to survival.