Saturday, 12 September 2015

Wearable Technology: Bringing Digital Disruption to our Lives !!

Do you remember Captain James Kirk using his wrist watch to communicate with the crew of the Starship Enterprise back in 1966?

Today, almost after 50 years, it has finally become a reality!

Digital disruption is occurring in all business functions all around the world. Wearables are becoming mainstream and disrupting almost every industry, with the biggest impact being seen in customer service, healthcare and manufacturing.

Wearables currently stand at the stage where smartphones were back in 2007. Apple had just launched iPhone and the App store, but nobody could envision the vast range of applications that would soon become available. At that point, the iPhone was just considered to be a better phone, a music repository and a way to browse the web.

That is now a thing of the past.

Today, wearables come in various forms, like smart watches, health trackers, Google Glass, interactive clothing, gesture controllers and list goes on. With wearables, we can enter into an exciting new realm of augmented reality, with an enhanced experience of what we see, hear and touch.

Insurers are using wearables like Google Glass to record claims information in the field in order to process them faster.

In healthcare, implanted bio sensors can capture and transmit health data, from heart rate and blood oxygen levels, to glucose sensors — to help identify risks and make diagnoses.

Smart watches can alert users when their blood sugar is low or if they have an irregular heartbeat. With wearables, anyone can carry a personal trainer on their body at all times.

Here are some other examples of wearables in our lives today:

ADAMM is a wearable technology that provides a complete solution for managing your asthma. It collects data on cough counting, respiration and heart rate, along with medication reminders provided in an app or online portal for accessing your daily status from anywhere.

If you or someone you know suffers from lower back pain, Valedo may be a solution. The device attaches to a person’s back and uses smart sensors that communicate with a companion app to guide the user through a series of therapeutic exercises.

Helius by Proteus Digital Health is the first-ever digestible microchip, and is used to detect when a patient takes their medication. The data is transmitted to a companion app, enabling doctors and caregivers to tell if the person is taking their prescribed medicines at the correct time.

Physicians at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital used Google Glass to perform a surgery to help remove a tumor and reconstruct an abdominal wall. Some hospitals are hoping to improve training by using wearable cameras to stream and record live surgeries as seen through the eyes of a surgeon.

Disney has developed the wearable MagicBand, a wrist band capable of monitoring visitors and collecting data about their behavior in theme parks. It also enables visitors to pay for food or merchandise, access hotel rooms, manage tickets, and skip the lines at popular attractions.

Google’s smart contact lens prototype helps measure blood glucose levels in tears for people with diabetes.

Nymi is a biometric security wristband that could someday replace all your passwords and keys.

These wearables have the potential to make our lives healthy, more secure, and more convenient — but there are a number of challenges which need to be resolved soon.

Sooner or later, all of us are identified by the data we generate, and wearables represent a quantum leap in the type and quantity of data collected — which is both an interesting and a scary proposition. 

As wearables become more mainstream, consumers need to be aware of what data is shared, which third parties have access to it, and what they will do with that information.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Are You Becoming a Digital Dinosaur?

Digital disruption is happening everywhere you look. It is impacting businesses of any size, in any industry, market and geography. 

Digital technology is changing the way we socialize, communicate, research, learn and work.

If organizations do not adapt to this fast-changing paradigm, then extinction may be closer than they think!

Digital technologies overwhelmed Kodak, a true titan of the film business. Other big brands like Borders, Circuit City and Blockbuster suffered the same fate. The dominance of Blackberry and Nokia was overshadowed by Apple and Android smartphones.

According to a report entitled “The Future of Business is Digital by Nigel Fenwick of Forrester Research, to survive this digital extinction, businesses must integrate digital practices into their entire business models, from customer experience to internal operations.

There are only a handful of leaders who have successfully managed to turn the tables on these disruptive forces and breathe new life into their companies.

  • Nike transformed from a sneaker company to a digital sports licensing company.
  • The Sprint “Ninja” training program encourages employee engagement and enables outreach to thousands of customers they don’t hear from in formal channels, or can’t respond to through social media.
  • AT&T is entering the home security market with its Digital Life service, enabling customers to remotely control everything in the home, from alarms to lights to door locks.
  • Starbucks overcame a commodity product like coffee by designing a unique digital experience for customers via where customers can share, discuss and vote on ideas to make their digital experience with Starbucks richer. They now have a bank of 200,000+ ideas to implement from.

Many businesses get stuck on enhancing efficiency and decreasing costs, as opposed to taking risks to innovate and boost agility. 

To avoid digital extinction, successful organizations have adopted the following broad steps:

  • Understand the online landscape and build customer-friendly websites
  • Utilize search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for quicker hits to web sites
  • Train employees and customer-facing stakeholders to use all forms of social media to engage customers
  • Adopt mobile enablement in every customer interaction
  • Use Big Data analytics for better customer insights and action
  • Modernize their legacy systems to address real time on demand data requests 

Today’s consumer expects easy access to information anytime, anywhere, on any device. To successfully deliver this digital expectation, enterprises must understand their customers as people, not transactions.

A great example of this deeper understanding is Starwood hotels, who analyzed customer data and launched nine separate brands, segmented by affordability ranging from value brands like “Four Points by Sheraton” and “Westin” to its “Luxury Collection” and “St. Regis” properties.

This demonstrates that although customers may not be able to completely control their journey, businesses need to carefully map the customer journey and be present where they are. In addition, digital transformation provides more real-time engagement platforms to acquire, retain, and grow consumers than traditional models.

Enterprises that adapt, evolve and exploit this new digital reality will thrive, while those that do not, will be lost to the sands of time like Dinosaur !!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

CMO-CIO relationship in Digital world !!

In today’s digital age, organizations expend a lot of effort to reach out to their customers digitally and enhance every touch point. Mobile technology, social media, cloud computing, embedded devices, big data and analytics have radically changed the nature of work and competition.

As mentioned in my previous post, “Digital Consumer – A True Superman,” consumers have so much information at their fingertips anytime, anywhere, and with any device that it puts a lot of pressure on organizations to become digital in the here and now.

There is a huge debate as to who should lead this digital transformation: the CMO or the CIO?
In general, CIOs are concerned with technology and costs, while CMOs are focused on creating a unique and engaging customer experience. In order to be successful, the two need to come together and understand each other's world.

Today’s CMOs are expected to leverage disruptive technologies, and thus may receive more technology funding than their IT counterparts. CMOs understand the real power of digital channels, because the marketing department has historically taken the lead for most of the online activities that have been developed over the last few decades. They own the customer-facing touch points of the company, which are increasingly becoming digital.

They also know how to engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company — in the store, on the phone, or responding to an e-mail, blog post, or online review.

The CMO understands the need for transformation, but may not have a firm grasp on the risks involved as they pertain to the support and security to do it properly.

On the other hand, CIOs understand technology better than anyone and own the IT strategy and platforms. Moreover, their responsibilities come with budget constraints, strict policies, and processes which require a traditional type of management. This can be challenging to align with the attitude required for digital transformation.

Hence, CMOs and CIOs must work together to deliver a compelling digital transformation and enhance the customer experience. Here are some of the ways that the CMO and CIO can and should work together:
  • Both the CMO and CIO should be present for day-to-day campaign creation and idea generation
  • The CIO should ensure that they are minimizing mundane cost-center activities that keep them behind closed doors and away from the CMO
  • CIOs should ensure there is time to engage and mix with the marketing team.  Ideally, IT and marketing should occupy the same floor of the building
  • If face-to-face meetings are not possible, leverage digital communication channels like video chats, online meetings, etc.
  • Both the CMO and CIO should be committed to building strong analytics capabilities in order to achieve a 360 degree view of their customers and implement predictive, prescriptive analytics and sentiment analysis for customer insights

The “iceberg” analogy holds true here.  The 10% of the iceberg that customer sees above the water is the CMO and the Marketing team. In reality, the CIO and their team are the other 90% of that iceberg — floating below the surface and holding the other 10% above water so it can be seen.

In terms of best practices, below are some great examples of true collaboration and teamwork between CMOs and CIOs.
  •  At Nationwide Insurance, the CMO and CIO host a dinner for their leaders each quarter, for the explicit purpose of building friendship and trust within their teams.
  • Dell Vice President and CIO Adriana Karaboutis and Senior Vice President and CMO Karen Quintos teamed up with the shared goal of creating a single view of the company's customers, giving them an edge over the completion.
  • Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest Labs brings everyone together — from user-experience, management, and algorithm teams — so that their teams know every aspect of their product, from design and marketing to user experience.
  • NetApp, a leader in data storage, builds a healthy CMO-CIO relationship by requiring members of the marketing and IT teams to do regular “tours of duty” on the other side, which helps in understanding technology with marketing.

Just as the CMO collaborates with the CEO and other leaders to strategize a shared approach for designing, building, operating, and renewing customer touch points, he or she also needs input and assistance from the CIO to help build the digital backbone.

With digital at the top of the agenda for every company, both the CMO and CIO need to work together in close collaboration to be successful. It will indeed take equal parts of understanding the market dynamics of digital savvy consumers and practical know-how of the digital backbone to make their digital goals a reality.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Digital Transformation impacting Customer journey!!

Digital transformation is omnipresent. It has already been changing our behavior as human beings.

More than ever, Customer expectations matter.  Don't like that app that you just downloaded?  You can give it a bad review.  No response from the developers means lost customers, or worse, going out of business. Such a bad customer experience posted on Twitter, Facebook and various other social media channels can be very detrimental to your brand.

When Customers interact with organizations, they don’t see departments; they see one single organization. They interact across various touch points for product searches, information gathering, price comparisons, reviews, ratings, to finally purchases, and sharing feedback. Digital Transformation will optimize the entire customer journey and help in delivering real results.
Today’s multi-channel customer is:
  • Better informed in real time, digitally
  • More demanding due to loads of information availability
  • Will jump channels at any point with so many options
Let us see what are the major steps in customer journey & which are moments of truths ( customer interactions) that are:
  • Most important to the customer
  • Most painful to the customer
  • Create loyalty 


Aware : With high internet adoption the range of available information is limitless Digital Display adds, TV commercials, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, customer campaigns.

Research: Customers are doing research on all the available digital channels for the product they want. Search engines, Online reviews and comparisons,Social inputs from friends and families.

Consider: Customer considers to buy the product they wish

Buy : Unlike old days, they buy the product mostly online.

Engage : Organizations engage with customers via omni-channels such as: Calls, Mobiles, Emails, SMS, Surveys, Social Media etc.

Service: Customers decide when, how and by whom they want to be serviced. Automated self service preferred. Based on the customer experience in this overall journey they become loyal or move on to competition

Companies are identifying such key journeys, gauging their current performance over each touch point, redesigning the customer experience with simplified, standard end to end digital processes. This helps in looking at the business from outside in.

Zipcar, the car rental company maps the customer journey from the first time they go to web site through the last time they ever use one of the cars and decide not to be a member any more.

Lego understand what is and what is not important to customer journey and design a “wow” experience to improve it.

Eurostar held a workshop for board members and they were encouraged to role-play even dressing up in costumes in order to map highs and lows of the customer journey from London to Paris. This helped Eurostar treat business and tourist travelers differently, improved the wow factor, reduced the costs.

Nike does not do advertising anymore as they have become part of personal fitness with digital transformation.

Rather than only cautiously protecting an existing business, companies need to understand the end-user and adopt innovative digital technologies and business practices. There is a need to disrupt your own business early before someone else does.

We live in an end-user-centered world and organizations must recognize that their customers and even employees have higher and ever-evolving expectations.

Understanding these customer journeys, the decisions they make and feelings they have along the way is essential part of digital transformation !!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Digital Consumer - a true SuperMan!!

Till 90s if we wanted  to buy the Nike shoes, the only option was to go to the brick and mortar store of the Nike, look at all the shoes kept on the racks, try out the one's we like & buy them. Today the scenario is changed drastically – we have amazon, ebay, Flipkart which shows complete range of shoes, are they in stock or out of stock, detailed features of the each category and above all very attractive or completely free shipping.

Due to this tsunami of information available at finger tips, via so many different channels, Consumer has truly become a Superman as he/she knows more than the product manufacturer.

Today we are surrounded by digital technologies. From school to working environments it has now become impossible to avoid some type of digital culture wherever we are. Young people ages 8 to 18 now spend nearly every waking moment using media more than 8 hours a day, when they are not in school/college.

Digital has fundamentally impacted our lives as well as the way organizations carry out their businesses. Big organizations like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are leading the change, while challengers like Uber (Taxi ride sharing service), Tesla (Electric cars), Airbnb (Rental accommodation in 190 countries) disrupt one industry after the other and giving Consumer the most power to pick and choose.

Unfortunately several industries and companies didn’t anticipate this digital wave and “lost the game” along the way.
  • Blockbuster Video rentals filed for bankruptcy in 2010 due to digital video streaming competition from Netflix, Redbox.
  • Polaroid instant photo camera company filed bankruptcy in 2001 due to Digital photography
  • Kodak films filed bankruptcy in 2012 again due to digital cameras
  • Borders book store went out of business in 2011 due to rise of eBooks,
  • Britannica oldest English Encyclopaedia stopped the printed edition in 2010
Companies are making all the efforts to meet the consumer at the zero moment of truth. The zero moment of truth is when someone has an interest in a brand and goes online to Google it and the impression they get from all these online touch points that will influence, before they even make it to the first moment of truth, that is choosing your brand.

Companies are trying to reach consumers anytime, anyplace, any device. Consumer relationship has changed drastically in Digital era. With the ubiquity of the Internet and mobile devices, and the rise of Social, that relationship has become much more personal. Consumers now expect the same treatment from brands that they used to only get from a neighborhood store. They expect you to remember who they are, tailor their experience, and give them expert advice and recommendations.

Digital is becoming the integral part of our lives with vehicle navigation GPS system, Fitness monitors, wearable devices, beacons, Internet of Things, Connected homes on WiFi, smart watches, smartphones, gaming, e-books etc; you will find we are immersed in Digital life.


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