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When Innovations Collide: The Intersection of Social, Mobile and Traditional Channels

 

The future of sustained competitive advantage hinges on the ability to effectively manage the collision of disruptive innovations. The digital disruption driven by mobile, social, big data, cloud and the consumerization of IT is affecting every industry. Though much has been said about these individual areas of innovation, the areas of intersection – critical to creating value from these innovations – have mostly been ignored. As innovations collide, the intersection must be effectively managed – or the result is distributed chaos.

As the digital disruption takes hold across every company, in every industry, the need to transform becomes a business imperative – and future digital strategies will define success or failure. Digital strategies to manage the collision of innovation should have big data at the center and cloud computing as the backbone. The strategy should then focus on the intersection of social, mobile and traditional channels and provide a blueprint to manage the intersection in the context of the broader business strategy.

In parallel, while this collision is unfolding, a larger number of employees will be bringing their devices to work, and shadow IT efforts will be emboldened by cloud applications and a more IT-savvy business user. This will cause many companies to look at new organizational models as part of their strategy.

Blurring Lines between Digital and Business Strategies

Digital is the core component of business strategy because digital disruption is fundamentally changing industries.

Consider what many companies face today:

  • Value chain disruption
  • Business model changes
  • New organizational models
  • The unification of business and IT
  • A portfolio of relationships – and the collaborative strength required to manage them
  • The need to be prescriptive – and the analytic strength required to get there

In the following section, we provide a snapshot of how digital strategies could disrupt traditional business strategies in the insurance and retail industries.

Digital Disruption in the Insurance Industry

Regulation, competition and technology are all factors, but none more significant than the rising expectations of customers. At a broad level, the industry is embracing the notion of putting the customer at the center of the enterprise and driving major transformation initiatives across the industry.

Social Media: There is a lot of buzz around social CRM. Though regulatory compliance issues still pose a challenge, social media continues to gain traction as a tool for agents. Social computing is also being considered as an enabler of collaboration and training and is increasingly being used as a platform for policyholders to share information and create a community.

Mobility: Insurers are aggressively going mobile and adding applications to their service offerings. Some of these applications change the claim experience and enable the reporting of claims from the site of the loss over a smartphone. Others allow prospects to get quotes, check their coverage, make payments or track claims statuses. Still others provide guidance to prospects and help determine how much life insurance they might need. Consider that some carriers are experimenting with QR codes in marketing materials, which when scanned provide information or quotes via web pages. Not all applications are customer-facing, as insurers also focus on supporting agents with client discussions and facilitating the work of claims adjusters in the field.

Big Data: The other major digital disruptor in this industry is “Big Data.” The exploding flow of data from social, mobile and instrumented channels is driving an aggressive focus on advanced analytics. Leveraging all data – structured and unstructured – is a growing practice in every industry, and the insurance industry is pursuing value on both the claims and underwriting sides of its business. More insight from social data could add tremendous value to fraud and underwriting analysis, while data from sensors and monitors will enable new pricing scenarios.

Digital Disruption in the Retail Industry

The retail industry is dealing with a rapid consumer adoption of social and mobile innovation that is driving higher expectations and a shift from a transactional model to an experiential one.

However, research indicates that the gap between consumer expectations and what retailers are delivering remains large, making digital a critical component of retail strategies. Consumers want to check availability and pricing and, ultimately, place orders on smartphones. In a recent study, 50% of consumers said they expect to shop via tablet. They want to browse and shop via social sites, expect to use QR codes to access content on their phones and want discounts sent to their phones. In the not-so distant future, consumers will expect location-specific and even department-specific offers sent to their phones.

Experts estimate that digital information already influences about 50% of store sales, and that number is growing rapidly. The innovation collision will occur in-store, as digital is integrated with physical space. Retailers will evaluate mobile point-of-sale (POS), mobile payments, interactive mirrors, social media interaction and Wi-Fi in store. Augmented reality will be used to enhance the customer experience, reducing the number of returns from online purchases by providing consumers a better idea of what they’re buying. One example often used is that of a customer looking to buy a TV online rotating a virtual TV to see the connector points on the back and getting an idea of the actual size.

Retailers will also need to assess the role of sales associates and the evolving demands of the technology-savvy customer. Increasingly, store employees will need to be tech-savvy and have specialized product knowledge.

Therefore, business leaders must get much closer to the digital disruption occurring in their industries – or suffer the consequences when innovations collide.

In this white paper, we take a look at why the lines between digital strategy and business strategy are blurring, with a focus on the digital disruption occurring in some key industries like insurance, retail, publishing, entertainment, telecommunication and banking.

Read White Paper: When Innovations Collide (PDF, 281 KB)