Sunday, 12 November 2017

User Experience Design - a key to Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is moving any company into future. Well, this statement is true for Disney, Nestle, Apple, Amazon and other leaders as they focused mostly on the customer/user experience.

Digital Transformation is in almost every c-level magazine, blog and whitepaper and executives do not want someone comes in and disrupt their business.

If you want to reap the rewards of the digital revolution, a smooth, easy and positive user experience is vital.

People may not be getting technically proficient, but they have become more comfortable using their smartphones to download music, find the nearest movie theatre or pay for purchases. This raises the bar for user experience.

Today organizations are adopting Mobility, Analytics and Internet of Things for Digital. However, solutions, which are not intuitive, responsive and social, does not have a place in customer’s list. So it becomes appropriate for companies to get into the user experience space.

A UX design can supercharge productivity, add immense value to customer interactions, and help employees love their jobs.

It is extremely important to do an accurate analysis of users, their needs by conducting surveys, workshops to design the UX.

Here are six major criteria for UX design:
·      Easy to find: How easy it is to find a site or application
·      Ease of use: How easy it is to use the site or application, how easy to learn
·      Easy to access: How easy it is to access the site or application, easy to understand, easy to reach
·      Usefulness: How useful the features and functions are and they meet my needs
·      Elements of desirability: Will make users like the product’s looks and feel and visual appeal
·      Credibility: How much users trust the site or application, creating the overall brand experience

Overall UX design should have short navigation steps so users require very few clicks to get the information they want. It should be based on responsive web designs so application maintain full functionality, usability and appeal on different browsers and screens from desktop to laptops to tablets to smartphones.

Once you have applied these criteria it is also important to measure the results, for future course correction. One initial KPI is user adoption rates, which should be higher than 60%.

The great user interface makes the experience better, transactions easier, decision making simple and cuts down the operational costs. 

It is the deciding factor for keeping/loosing or successfully engaging a customer.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Top 5 Big Data use cases in Digital Age

Today data volumes are growing exponentially and it is coming from various sources like sensor data from the Internet of Things, log files, social media files like audio/video, call center call logs and all the organization internal data. 

An organization who harness this data and exploit it for their advantage are surviving the competition even from nontraditional players.

Big data has become the foundation for digital transformation.

Though the big data opportunity is growing rapidly, the top two big data challenges that organizations face are determining how to get value out of big data and defining a big data strategy.

Unless you acquire, store and retain the internal data from organization coupled with all the external data from call logs, audio/video files, customer surveys etc. there will be fewer chances of applying analytics on top of it.

Here are top 5 use cases businesses are deploying to get a competitive advantage.

1.   Customer 360-degree view: A lot of companies had problems integrating large bulk of customer data between various databases and warehouse systems. They are not completely sure of which key metrics to use for profiling customers. Hence creating customer 360-degree view became the foundation for customer analytics. It can capture all customer interactions which can be used for further analytics.

2.   Fraud detection and prevention: Financial crimes, fraudulent claims and data breaches are the most common challenges faced by organizations across various industries. Thanks to big data analytics and machine learning, today’s fraud prevention systems are much better at detecting criminal activity and preventing false positives. Today with help of Big Data platforms, banks can store all the historical data they have which can help in better fraud detection.

3.   Recommendation engines: In this digital age, every business is trying hyper-personalization using recommendation engines to give you a right offer at right time. organizations that haven't taken advantage of their big data in this way may lose customers to competitors or may lose out on upsell or cross-sell opportunities

4.   Sentiment Analysis: Today, it is important to know consumer emotions while they are interacting with your business and use that for improving customer satisfaction. Big data and social media channels together help in analyzing customer sentiments which gives organizations a clear picture of what they need to do to outperform their competitors. Disney, Nestle, Toyota is spending huge money and efforts on keeping their customer’s happy.

5.   Predictive and preventive maintenance: With internet of things and sensor technology data is captured from machines, equipment, and devices in real time. All the data is put to use for predicting the failures up front and reduce unplanned downtime and maintenance costs. Companies like GE are using Digital Twins in their wind farm to drive down the cost of electricity.

Big Data is nothing new today and companies are building data lakes to take advantage of storing and retaining any number of years’ worth of history.  

There are many more use cases but which other use cases you can think of that measure the success of an organization?

Sunday, 29 October 2017

3 building blocks of Digital Transformation

Today almost every industry is experiencing significant digital disruption. Every business is eager to get on this bandwagon and strive to survive. CEOs are facing this biggest questions of how to transform the organization?

Digital Transformation has come as big tsunami wave, either you can ride it like an expert surfer, or go under and get to the bottom.

Companies start the process of transformation but more often fail to integrate across departments and take advantage of intelligence it generates.

There are 3 building blocks to start with baby steps and they are:

Integration, Intelligence & Impact.

How do you use these 3 building blocks to achieve digital transformation?

Integration: Integrate Organizational data & employees, as digital technologies bring greater connectivity between people and processes.
·        Acquire an ability to acquire, store, retain & track data about every process and customers. Use the big data as a foundational platform. This ability offers a unique opportunity for a company to become a truly responsive organization offering rapid quality improvement and learning.
·        Create a transparent repository or sharing mechanism of the efforts undertaken across the company’s different departments. This helps market the successes and boost the morale of the teams.

Intelligence: Intelligence, with digital technologies brought by exceptional amounts of data of business ecosystems from consumers to competitors.
·        Social Listening: In today’s world it is extremely important to gauge the brand perception by the consumer. This typically involves acquiring basic social media analytics skills giving instant access to online conversations and activities about brands and topics. These reveals opportunities to increase brand awareness and reputation.
·        Digital Insights: By applying visualization on data from external social conversations to internal organization which help to optimize operational decision-making
·        Digital Foresight: By utilizing analytics on top of all the data and integrate these insights at a strategic level. These foresights from consumers, competitors provide an ability to take a corrective course of action on the future decisions.

Impact: The Impact relates to the kind of customer value a company can bring by leveraging digital which builds the brand loyalty.
·        Digital Technologies like Mobility, APIs, Microservices create a tremendous opportunity to connect with customers.
·        Driving Engagement: Systematically using digital and non-digital interactions and involvement from customers to increase value.
·        Leading Disruptions: Use digital technologies to produce a self-generated stream of innovations whereby products and services are continuously improved.


Use these building blocks for taking baby steps in digital transformation. Later apply the strategy, culture, and operation plan to execute without fail.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

How to get Human element in Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword. No industry is left behind. 

We’re currently in a new wave of digital transformation with new technologies, processes, business models and opportunities popping up in the market faster than we can blink & think.

All the companies are using big data, machine learning, cloud, smart devices and Internet of Things to achieve digital. But these are just means or vehicle to achieve it whereas you need a human to drive it.

It is easy to get wrapped by technology but without considering human element the transformation process will fail.

CEOs are taking a digital-first approach to change the culture of organizations. This shift starts at the top and requires complete employee buy-in to achieve success.

Digital transformation can’t thrive unless your organization has a culture that’s willing and able to embrace it. Organization-wide adoption requires teams to change their attitude, automate the processes, shift their thinking and reject the status quo.

People are engaged by people. Productive and satisfied employees who like their work, go out of the way to satisfy customers. 

How to get this human element on your side in Digital Transformation?

·        Know your customers – customers are not just records but they are also humans, know their behaviors, their motivations, what they like, dislike and their desires
·        Engage with employees – elaborate on what is in it for me, people need to know what is the change and how it will benefit them
·        Focus on human collaboration, learning, and innovation for digital which yields better ideas, better results

Digitization is by no means de-humanization. It is 20% technology but 80% human touch. Without a strong involvement and without taking the human element into account on all levels, digital projects are going to fail.


The best results will occur when technology and humans collaborate to create an entire ecosystem, which technology alone cannot achieve.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Digital in the Age of Customer !!

Today’s customers are like a King. They are in the driver’s seat, with the power of the internet and social media tools creating tons of information. With the strong influence of smartphones, all the information is at their fingertips.

We are living in interesting times of Industry 4.0. Consumers are now on the cusp of a hyper-personalized era with fundamental changes in terms of choice, consumption, ownership and overall experience of products and services.

This is called “Age of the Customer”.

Digital technologies and customer focus are going hand-in-hand.  New channels, new devices, new service providers have changed our lives.

Look around and you’ll see that digital transformation is so omnipresent that it has touched nearly every industry.

Gone are the days of the 90s, when we used to rewind tapes before returning them to Blockbuster, as they have been replaced by Netflix, iPod, Spotify and their online streaming platform.

As Steve Jobs once said – You have got to start with Customer experience and work backward to the technology. He created a product like iPhone that evoked the needs & wants of the target market. Blackberry was the leader then with QWERTY keyboard. Nobody knew we will need a touchscreen phone until he made us realize what we are deprived of.

Every business began before the Internet, now faces the same challenge, how to transform to compete in a digital economy?

Creating customer value and building long-term relationships are even more challenging in a digital world as customers are well-informed, expect more, trust their friends, have millions of choices and more important have a voice which can be heard by mass.

Your understanding of your customers' context will make, or break, your ability to succeed at a customer's moment of need. Thankfully, your customers now create and leave behind digital footprints through their activity across all their touchpoints, such as websites, mobile apps, store visits, and phone calls.

All the successful digital firms like Nestle, Starbucks, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Walgreens use this data to respond, based on context and develop deeper insights about their customers by applying analytics.

Here are top 4 ways to businesses are improving the customer experience:

1.  Hyper-personalization – make them feel unique, focus on each individual journey
2.  Seize the moment of truth – act in real time to impact each and every interaction with customer
3.  Empower employees – get your employees in the game so they can go extra mile to drive customer behavior
4.  Continuous improvement – get all the departments to pass the customer information while interacting with customer

Amazon, Nike, Zappos, Apple, Starbucks and Walt Disney are the top brands, based on the customer experience they are providing in this age of the customer.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

How Robotic Process Automation helping Digital Age

Digital has brought in so many technological advances to this age and one of them is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

A simple definition of RPA is, automation of business processes across the enterprise using software robots. Any repetitive task which requires some decision making is an ideal candidate for RPA. Automation has become an integral part of Digital Transformation. Implementing these software robots to perform routine business processes and eliminate inefficiencies is the key for business leaders.

Today’s organizations often need to execute millions of repetitive and time-intensive business processes each day. Using RPA they can automate administrative functions such as customer address changes, registrations and other high-volume tasks and transactions. This helps avoids human errors & also allows employees to spend more time & focus on customer-related functions for better customer experience.

RPA is well suited for processes that are clearly defined, repeatable and rules-based. Any company that uses workforce on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high-volume, high transactional process functions, will boost their capabilities and save money and time with RPA software.

Process automation can expedite back-office tasks in finance, procurement, supply chain management, accounting, customer service and human resources, including data entry, purchase order issuing, a creation of online access credentials.

By adding the cognitive computing power of Natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine learning, businesses can achieve high-end tasks which require human interventions.

Automation of front-end operations typically involves chatbots or conversational agents. RPA can provide answers to employees or customers in natural language rather than in software code. This can help to conserve resources for large call centers and for customer interaction centers.

As RPA brings more technologically-advanced solutions to businesses around the world, they bring a multitude of benefits as below.

·       Increased Speed: routine tasks are carried out swiftly by RPA without any intervention, thereby faster time to resolution
·       Reduced labor costs due to software robots than humans
·       Enhanced employee experience: since repetitive tasks as taken care by RPA, employees can spend quality time for strategic work and enjoy their work life
·       Higher quality: better consistency & accuracy due to minimized variations and better customer service
·       Enhanced insights: by automating the data collected and applying Big Data analytics for improved efficiency
·       Scalability: robotic workforce can be scaled to any level required

BPO industry is the most benefited sector due to RPA. Insurance, Banking industries use RPA for KYC, claims processing, policy admin, statement reconciliation, credit card application processing etc.

Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, UiPath & Verint are some of the few top vendors in the market today.


Be ready for RPA storm coming in near future with the addition of artificial intelligence capabilities. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Digital Transformation in Restaurants and Food industry

Digital disruption is omnipresent, get on board or get thrown off the track.

Digital is no longer a purview of only Banking, Insurance, Healthcare or Retail. The Restaurant industry is having pressure from multiple directions. 

Today’s consumer expects fresh food, whether it is in season or not, with an exotic dining experience.

Successful restaurants recognize that the easy path to their customers' stomachs begins in their minds. They need to grab customer's attention and entice them with a memorable experience in order to trigger repeat visits.

Here are some of the applications of Digital disruption in the restaurants & food service industry:
·       Digital Signage to deliver eye-catching graphics to engage customers the moment they walk through the door
·       Online reservations using mobile app & flexibility of customization of menu as per customer taste
·       Chatbots: Restaurants are using virtual assistants to respond to customer inquiries and to process and customize customer orders. Taco Bell, Pizza hut have adopted chatbots to automate ordering process from a social media platform.
·       Robots – Restaurants are using AI-driven robots to increase capacity and speed of food preparation and delivery.
·       Recommendation engines – Developers are designing applications which use AI to help consumers choose meals & suggest foods based on their eating preferences.
·       Wi-Fi enabled dining spaces for truly engaging customer experience
·       Kiosks – Restaurants are integrating AI-driven self-service Kiosks to reduce customer waiting time and enhance the customer ordering experience.
·       Pay by phone and flexible paying options
·       Loyalty programs based on frequent visit
·       Digital supply chains to accurate demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and cost reduction.

Restaurants generate vast quantities of data through software that controls everything from scheduling food delivery and shift staffing to taking reservations to managing vendors and inventory to paying bills

Today almost every consumer is making dining decision on their smartphone.  They have tried new menu item based on the mobile ad.  Mobile payments have become the norm now in this industry. Customers would like to order quick meals via mobile and want to use mobile payments.

McDonald’s was the first store to accept Apple Pay.

Starbucks is a leader in digital transformation. Using more than 50mm Facebook fans & over 15mm Instagram followers at their disposal they mastered the social media engagement. First, they created an app to pay for coffee and food in their restaurants. Then they added the loyalty program, starting to craft hyper-personalized offers and experiences for their 24-hour connected customers. The company also developed new digital services to be enjoyed in their physical stores, achieving a highly praised omnichannel approach.

Pizza Hut has started an order and payment-enabled pepper robot. Customers can now have a personalized ordering, reduce wait time for carryout, and have a fun with the frictionless user experience.

TGI Fridays, Wendy’s and other big names have all adopted digital technology to lure their customers.

OpenTable, GrubHub, and Zomato are some of the latest apps showcasing nearby restaurants with high-quality pics, presenting a menu with exotic pictures, price, ratings etc. you can also get offers, deals instantly.

The digital technology available to restaurants has streamlined the lives of restaurant owners much like smartphones have bettered our daily lives.

Digital has entered the restaurants and food industry through the front door and brings many exciting trends.

As consumers expect Apple to come up with a new iPhone every year that makes the earlier model obsolete, similarly they want fresh ways of serving food with fantastic dining experience which is made possible by Digital disruption.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

How the Digital has changed the way we communicate

Digital Transformation has impacted every business on earth and all aspects of life today. 

Communication is the most impacted area of our life.

Way back in 1997, most of the communication was in printed form – we used to write down our contacts in a diary, read the latest news in newspapers which still exists, there were printed magazines, retailers like Argos, Radio Shack, Ikea had printed catalog of their products. We used to get that free on the doorstep and then used to cut few coupons to get discounts at the store.

Now fast forward to 2017, Today we live in “always on, always connected” world with communication from all directions.

Social Media has stormed into our world. The moment you get up in the morning, you see alerts of birthdays of your friends on Facebook, messages from Instagram or official email communication on your smartphone.

You start for your office and you get google map alert of drive time to the office. While in office you get a variety of communications from senior management on company vision to various policies from HR, to transport and other facility related stuff from Admin.

In the evening when you head back home, you get relevant personalized communications while you are driving thru city on offers, discounts, sales and the list goes on.

One of the most prominent aspects of change we have experienced this digital age is the increased number of ways we can now communicate with each other.

Employee communication plays an important role to change the culture for digital. When employees feel like they have a stake in the outcome, have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities they are more engaged and effective.

Similarly, customer experience is the biggest driver for digital communication. They seek relevant, personalized communication in real time.

There are so many examples of digital revolution in Communication:
·       Thinking mobile first for young generations
·       Creating chatbots for quick query resolution instead of calling the customer service and waiting on line
·       Creating social media strategy for customer connect
·       Giving customer service on any device, any place and anytime
·       Providing news and reminders on smartphones

Communication to customers, external media, and influencers as well as to employees is important in this digital age.

Communication has changed a lot since last few decades.

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