Digitalization-Enabling a Real-time, Personalized and Relevant Customer Experience

Arvind Thakur, CEO, NIIT Technologies Limited

Digital transformation is an imperative for companies across the globe. CXOs or CIOs not investing in Digital technologies may render the business as irrelevant. Bringing in the appropriate technology is normally a simpler issue, managing the change is more challenging. Senior executive involvement therefore is a must for successful digital transformation. The responsibilities of CXOs include articulating the vision of the future digital state, making appropriate investments knowing that not all projects will be successful, and ensuring regular wins. Knowing what to focus on is therefore key to set an agenda. The impact of Digital on the business is so profound that CEOs need to plan for regular updates on technology, from both internal groups and external parties like industry analysts; to keep themselves abreast of developments.

Investments in Digital technologies enhance customer experience. Customers perceive significant value if engagements are timely and relevant. Digital technologies can provide value by leveraging mobility to infer the context (time & location) around a transaction, coupled with advanced analytics they can provide insights into what the next best action could be, thereby enabling a real-time, personalized and relevant customer experience. Banks, financial institutions and insurance providers are embracing digital analytics in a big way. A customer may choose a mobile phone for spontaneous interaction, but may prefer other channels in different times of the day to complete a transaction. Airlines all over the world are engaged in making their websites responsive so they can provide a multichannel experience to their customers. The rise of Flipkart, Snapdeal, Uber, Ola, Oyo, Airbnb are testimony to the disruption that Digital technologies are creating and value it delivers.

As our dependence on Digital grows, so does our vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Cyber Security is a significant business risk requiring the attention of risk management committees at the board level. Executives need to receive regular briefings on the changing threat landscape and the impact on their business. Senior executives should also have a clear strategy to account for customer related data, and governance to ensure that critical assets are well protected. In a connected world, vendors are also partners and may have access to sensitive information. Senior executives need to ensure that vendors/partners are also included in the ambit of security policies.

While the potential of Digital and its impact is enormous, business processes, culture, business models, and mindset lags the implementation of new technology. Unless changes in some of the aforementioned dimensions are executed in tandem with these new technologies, companies will struggle to realize the full value from these investments. It's easy to bring in technology but more difficult to manage the change. This is a productivity paradox. I believe that we are still in early days of the Digital revolution and I expect its adoption to accelerate rapidly to a whole new level in the coming years, completely changing the way we interact and do business.