The Next Web Conference, held in Amsterdam later this week, is set to make one thing very clear: to remain competitive organizations need a robust and flexible business model to support the rapid and radically changing digital revolution. Up until now the digital revolution has been mainly about information. Customers have had increasing levels of access to static and dynamic information which allows them to take on more control and create new expectations inthe interactionwith organizations.
At Accenture we believe the future of the digital revolution will be about the interaction. Organizations will be challenged to design and deliver personalized interactions between themselves and their (potential) customers. Customers demand that suppliers understand their needs and they expect a tailored experience. Therefore organizations need to take an active step to make use of the available data and continue to enrich the customer profile with new data obtained during the interactions or via external sources. In addition organizations also need to take note of the customers increasing willingness to interact with their peers through social platforms. Enabling these peer to peer interactions is vital to create brand awareness and market penetration of organizations products and services.
Shifting from information to interaction
How organizations respond to this shift from information to interaction will be a major factor in their success or failure. An important element in the creation of the new business model is designing processes and implementing supporting tools to allow employees to also embrace ‘digital’. But to ensure any new business model is sustainable, there are two key threats which need to be address:.
Threat 1: The Need for Speed
To stay competitive or get ahead of the game companies need to shorten the time-to-market for new products and services from months to days. Innovation centers and IT departments need to work with new agile product and system development technologies to keep the pace high while ensuring maximum flexibility. Next to focusing on the people and the processes new services as cloud computing will play a key role in delivering speed and flexibility to the infrastructure and data storage and processing requirements. These new technology developments are paving the way to a more even playing field and increasing competition as smaller scale organizations are able to make quicker improvements to the pace of change than larger organizations.
Threat 2: The Need for Accessibility
Today’s customers expect organizations to offer multiple interaction channels from which they are in control of the channel choice. But aconsistent and transparent end to end multi-channel experience is not easy to neither create nor maintain. Many organizations today are unable to deliver this due to legacy systems and a heavily product driven organization. A key success element for organizations when defining ‘accessibility’ is to ensure not to limit the strategy based on what the direct competition is offering. Customers today are comparing the services and accessibility of organizations,expecting the same accessibility from their telecommunications provider as from their bank. The threat of accessibility is an area where we are seeing some major shakeups -take for example Google – who is talking about starting an online bank.
We believe that organizations have to take on the digital revolution head on by integrating digital into their business model. To ensure success leadership is needed from the entire C-suite to ensure alignment of the business and IT priorities and to allow for one clear vision and strategic delivery path for the organization. Employees themselves will need to be retrained for the required digital skills and competencies to ensure excellence in the delivery towards the customers.
I am looking forward to lively debates on these and many other topics during The Next Web conference and I look forward to seeing you there.