Capabilities for the competitive digital enterprise


Jacques Fouché, Head of Strategic Consulting, Ovations Group

Digitization has affected every aspect of our lives, the way we live, the way we work and – essential for your business – the way we consume. It has changed the way customers want to interact with your business.

Convenience is a priority. Customers now have higher expectations, they want to follow their orders and tolerance levels are low. Without the necessary digital technology, it becomes unlikely that your business can support this level of service.

Jacques Fouché, head of strategic advice at Ovations Group, says organizations should see technology as an opportunity to compete with companies that have set up to get the most out of digital. “Start-ups often offer competitive products at low prices and can deliver a great customer experience using the latest technology and lean internal structures. “

He advises: “To stay competitive in your industry and increase your market share, you need to start automating business processes that deliver value to the customer, to improve their overall experience and exceed their expectations.”

Fouché identifies two key digital drivers: customer experience (CX) and the price of digital catalysts.

“The customer experience is now recognized as the most critical factor for the success of a business and is seen as an important differentiator in the market. Customers expect a level of service you can only provide through the adoption of emerging technologies. Service levels at all points of customer interaction should be a key goal for every business.

Second, Fouché says that although the cost of digital tools has been prohibitive, cloud computing has started to break down that barrier, providing access to digital solutions to a wide range of organizations and IT budgets.

In the context of the current pandemic, remote working and new purchasing behaviors have caused many business owners and executives to rethink digital and the role that emerging technologies should play in the future of businesses.

A digital business is a business that provides customers with a physical product or service digitally, such as Uber, Takealot or even online banking, where interaction is digital from start to finish, Fouché says.

He believes that the foundation of a digital business includes the following four elements:

  • A set of standardized business processes across internal functions to ensure a consistent customer experience;
  • The ability to forecast and meet customer demand levels and meet their requirements on time;
  • Use your customer knowledge to promote personalization; and
  • The ability to deliver new products and features quickly – digital businesses need to be able to experiment and react quickly.

“Technology is just one tool to create a better customer experience, but being a successful digital business also requires changing the way your organization operates. He must align with the way customers interact with him; this will significantly improve the customer experience.

But how do companies go about implementing digital and a customer-centric operating model? To support the service levels and knowledge required by your customers, organizations may consider the following, according to Fouché:

  • Continuously optimize, automate and improve business processes. Consider robotic process automation (RPA) which uses software bots to automate highly repetitive routine tasks typically performed by knowledge workers. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) allows robots to mimic human tasks such as pattern recognition and decision making.
  • To support customer insight and personalization, you need enhanced data processing capabilities and big data technologies that integrate customer information at all touchpoints. Supplement that with machine learning (ML) to provide the predictive analytics needed to drive personalized marketing and fraud prevention.
  • From a software perspective, the transition from a monolithic architecture to a micro-services architecture will improve scalability and flexibility and allow the digital enterprise to create new features and application instances, and expose the API to partners in your business ecosystem.
  • From an infrastructure perspective, a hybrid multi-cloud strategy offers the possibility of optimizing costs; if you match workloads to the most appropriate IT model, you are optimizing the workload architecture correctly and continuously tracking spend. Consider both containers and serverless to balance your portability requirements while being aware of vendor lockdown.
  • From a people perspective, you need better collaboration between development and operations and other stakeholders such as information security. Rely on agile software development practices that bridge the gap between business and developers by extending it to operations. Integrate security and rationalization principles into your DevOps environment to streamline the faster delivery of the products digital businesses need.
  • Finally, strong cybersecurity and fraud strategies to protect the organization and your customers from emerging technological threats are mandatory. It is increasingly difficult for a business to recover from cyber attacks and data breaches.

A digitally savvy management team is needed to drive the necessary change within the company, not only in technology, but also in culture and ways of working. He says, “For years business and IT have focused on alignment and integration, but in the digital enterprise, the leader needs to collaborate on people, processes and technology, in context. of customer value. These stakeholders need to establish an integrated program organized around customer journeys, where they focus on those that generate the most value.

The CIO must ensure that IT and the business are working towards the same goal of improving the customer experience.

However, central IT functions have lost some control over IT resources and services due to the unprecedented adoption of emerging technologies directly by business units in what is known as shadow IT. Technology decisions and acquisitions are gradually bypassing IT, increasing IT spending and the number of vendors to manage.

Fouché advises IT to encourage business units to collaborate with them when choosing an emerging technology provider. “To make sure you’re getting business value and a competitive advantage, IT needs to become the trusted advisor and negotiator. IT should play a key role in identifying how you are implementing emerging technologies to improve your customer experience. This involves involving customers in the design process from the start to improve the chances of success. “

The IT department should also identify the new skills and expertise needed and establish a sourcing model that will best support the adoption of technology trends.

Fouché concludes: “Traditional, that is to say non-digitized, businesses will eventually find it difficult to compete and meet customer expectations. For some, survival will be at stake. Traditional businesses have more legacy to manage than new entrants, but new entrants often perform well and need to find the right balance to stay competitive.

“Putting the hype aside, I think all businesses should at least recognize that digital can enable more efficient business models. Go digital instead, rather than being left unprepared. “

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