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Business and Technology Insights

Digital Transformation: Building customer loyalty

 
May 17, 2016

Digital Transformation: Building customer loyaltyHow do you keep your customer at the center of your business while moving through company-wide digital transformation initiatives?I had the pleasure of joining SAPs Radio session: The Future of the Future, Coffee Break with Game-Changers to discuss this topic with Ira Berk, SAPs VP of Digital Transformation Solutions and renowned futurist, Gray Scott.

Tune into Digital Mindset: Keeping your customer at the center of your business as we share experiences and strategies that help companies win the race to go digital and transform their business to ensure they keep up with constantly evolving customer expectations and build loyalty.

In the race to go digital, companies need be prepared to address three main threats:

  1. Competition from different and new angles
  2. Rapidly advancing technology
  3. Relentless pressure to boost quarterly profits

As your company focuses on finding solutions for these challenges, are you forgetting to keep your customer at the center of your business model and decision making? How will you predict, design and give your customer a new service or product before they even know they want it?

As companies embark on large scale digital transformation initiatives, it is easy to lose sight of customers needs and experience. This can be a fatal flaw. In the wise words of author and MIT professor, Michael Martin Hammer, Technology is the easy part. People are the hard part.

Digital transformation isnt about the technology, its about the end result. The need to satisfy customers certainly isnt a new one. However, in the digital economy, we are expected and enabled to use the latest technology to understand our customers and predict what they will want and needbetter and faster than ever before. Todays big data and predictive analytics represent a tremendous shift in a companys ability to do this and are really at the heart of modern customer experience, enabling us to tell the customer what they want before they know themselves.

SAPs S/4HANA next generation business platform is an excellent example of technology that enables business in this way. In this two minute video, we showcase an example of the digital transformation possible with SAP S/4HANA, and how it reduces business complexities, eliminates silos, and enables a company to better understand and serve customers. When properly integrated into your digital transformation strategy, SAP S/4HANA really should not be considered a technology upgraderather, an upgrade for your business.

So, how do you keep your customers needs at the forefront of your digital transformation initiative? I recommend keeping a few guiding principles in mind:

  1. Some things never change. Strategy, culture, and leadership are the basic ingredients. This will be even more evident in the digital world and needs to be holistic and enterprise-wide.
  2. Customer experience is not about the technology. It is about personalization, convenience, speed, and connectivity. A user interface is like a joke: if you have to explain it, it is not good. You will not have second and third chances to be sticky.
  3. Integrating on-line (digital) and off-line (human) will be critical to the customer experience. You must map and understand the customer experience.
  4. Your customer centricity will never be more evident than when there is a problem. Social media and other digital technologies will expose this shortcoming and it could be fatal.
  5. Your digital transformation will be driven by both technology and the evolution of customer behavior.

As many companies have learned the hard way, a bad customer experience is no longer limited to ones circle of friends. Mishaps often happen offline, and these stories can go viral when companies dont handle them properly to satisfy customers. How many times have you seen a friends post of a bad travel experience, products shipped that never arrived or a frustrating customer service experience?

Companies run a risk if they dont realize that customer experience trumps functions and features every time. I hope that you will have a chance to tune into our Digital Mindset SAP Radio session and share your thoughts here. If you have questions, please let me know if youd like to learn more about TCS approach to helping companies adopt a digital mindset or meet our team innovating around the latest capabilities with SAP S/4HANA.

Dan currently leads digital transformation work as part of TCS' Consulting & Enterprise Solutions business and has over 23 years of experience assisting global organizations with their most challenging business transformation programs. Dan has advised Fortune 500 companies to drive operational and financial improvements through the implementation of ERP systems, the outsourcing of non-core capabilities, the migration of back office functions to a shared services business model, and the enablement of new technology innovations such as cloud, mobility, and big data.