Digital Transformation- A New Necessity for the Customer Experience

Vadeesh Budramane, SVP- IT Services, SutherlandWhen we say Digital, what comes to one’s mind could vary from people to people. For some, it’s something to do with data and technology. For others, it’s specifically about SMAC, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality, and so on. For some others still, it could mean User Experience or Customer Experience or consumerism in general. And the definition is contextual and has evolved over the past few years. Digital essentially is about business; it’s about value creation. It’s about new streams of revenue, increased profits, reduced cycle time to go to market, and establishing edge over competition. It’s about organizational transformation. It leverages among many others 360-degree view of the customer, optimizes interactions & transactions, and delivers personalized experience. It involves people & process, data & technology, automation & cognitive computing, and contextual interactivity.

Some of the digital transformations are disruptive while others are nonpervasive. Note that digital is not new; users will realize that digital has been around for a while now when they consider the innovations such as that of internet, email, digital camera, smartphones, and so on. The following illustrate ongoing digital transformation applied to various business contexts across industry segments.

The Internet of Things is beginning to change medical equipment and technology. It includes wearable technology for monitoring heartbeat, blood pressure and several other vital parameters. It could be used by staff at a remote oil rig to send out alerts for emergency medical help. It could be used for telemedicine as well. These help with emergency medical help at low cost. There are several other use cases where in Internet of Things is leveraged for remote monitoring & preventive maintenance of equipment thus reducing equipment downtime and loss of revenue.
Japan Airlines now uses Microsoft's HoloLens to teach engineers how a jet engine works. It uses mixed reality to blend realistic 3D hologram of an engine right in front of users. They can easily access and study different parts of the jet engine. They can also see how the plane mechanically operates. It’s such a contrast to traditional class room training or supplying voluminous manuals. It’s not about an eLearning tool but gamification of training so that training is fun, and then delivering it on SaaS basis. In general, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality is redefining training and product demonstrations. This is the case across the industry segment. For example, it's used to make training easily accessible on need basis post sales, for users of Computer Tomography(CT). That reduces the dependency on limited trainers and brings down the training & support costs significantly. Though, Conversational AI is not mature yet, virtual assistants have started to impact shopping experience positively; one can check how a dress looks on them without having to actually wear it. As the technology matures, this is expected to be as disruptive as smartphones.

Digital business means collaboration in an increasingly connected world, involving customers and stakeholders

Mobile wallets and other non banking institutions have pushed the increase in digital payments in India, piggy backing on internet & smartphone penetration. They offer cheap and easy way of transferring money peer to peer,thus disrupting the marketplace. India is headed for 10X growth in digital payments over the next four years, according to a new study by Google (Alphabet Inc.) and Boston Consulting Group. Half the India’s internet users are expected to use digital payment by 2020.

Health Insurance companies employ solutions that will send out context-sensitive campaigns, for example, to the newly married, recommending attractive health plans, and as the prospective buyer shows interest,chatbots will help with the process of enrolling. The experience will be seamless. Health insurance companies proactively offer lower premium plan to members with high premium but low utilization. Such solutions help generate leads, convert prospects into members, engage with members & reduce churn, and maximize customer life time value for the health insurance companies.

ISVs are transforming their products for enhanced User Experience and SaaS enablement, and are employing DevOPs for cutting down on time it takes to go to market. DevOPs is about automating the process of build testdeploy bringing down the cost and enhancing quality.

So, Digital essentially means new way of doing business. It could mean completely new business or transforming legacy business. Digital business means collaboration in an increasingly connected world, involving customers and stakeholders. It’s about faster decision making and rapid action. These form the key ingredients for any team that’s aiming to go digital.