Consumer digital companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Netflix are changing the way consumers interact and behave. These disrupters are shaking up the marketplace and adapting and responding to customer needs far quicker than their enterprise counterparts. So as a business, if you’re not prepared to build for disruption, you’ll be left behind.
Digital transformation is also high on the agenda of governments with the Australian Federal government allocating an extra $70.1 million over the next four years in its recent federal budget, enabling its Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to deliver new digital platforms for the government.
While enterprises such as those in the banking and airline sectors are on the road to digitally transforming their organisations, they are often less agile and take longer to roll out such projects in part due to the size of the organisation. Customisation, differentiation and speed are key factors in winning over customers.
So how can enterprises adapt to compete in this ever-changing landscape?
Work smart when you create an app or website. Instead of building your own ecosystem, leverage existing ones and team up with current brands and companies as well as their channels to do this instead of creating your own.
There are three things you need to consider.
Firstly, it’s crucial that you build your business identity. With 80 per cent of the world’s consumer digital market comprising of only a handful of apps, namely Facebook and Google, the first step you need to take is to align yourself with a side (Windows Live, Facebook, Google etc.) and make sure your platform is compatible across these.
Identify your core strengths and leverage those strengths to venture one degree beyond your traditional business boundary. In other words, what are non-compete businesses that compliment your core business and could add value to your overall proposition if you partnered? Good examples of this are the moves the supermarket chains have made into financial services or the retail giants who are partnering with transport and logistics companies.
You don’t need to own every customer experience. You need to focus on your core and not waste time and money building something when you can buy it. For example, don’t build CRM, use existing solutions. Only if there’s no de facto then you should become it.
Be pragmatic and work with what you’ve got — API and microservices — are the new technologies you should be using as these solutions have the ability to be implemented quickly and effortlessly. This will be how you stay agile and tackle disruption.
Secondly, integrate voice technology as much as possible. Artificial Intelligence in voice is starting to take off and it’s easy to have a parrot that can mimic back at you but what if it can be predictive? By using machine learning, voice technology can learn from situations and data and, in time, respond to customers as well as a call centre operator.
The consumer space is moving quickly in this arena but enterprises are still slow on the up take. However, Air New Zealand is now doing this very effectively, using chatbots to enable customers to book flights.
And lastly, consider implementing shards which is similar to notifications on steroids. Shards can provide a highly contextual, personalised, ‘out-of-app’ experience. If you can condense the key things you need to get a response out of, then users don’t need to use the mobile app. Once you combine this with intelligent voice technology, you can condense it even more. Eventually, you reach a point where consumers can say ‘Check me into my flight’ and the action is complete.
By combining ‘Identity’, ‘Voice’ and ‘Shards’, enterprises can build disruptive platforms. Customers will be able to say, “Can I have more milk, eggs and cheese?” to their mobile and get their groceries delivered the next day.
Only enterprises that customise, anticipate and respond to customers quickly can gain marketshare and survive.
Thor Essman is founder and CEO, Versent
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