Imagine this: after hours of browsing, a customer finalizes his online shopping cart, and proceeds to make the payment. He encounters an error and his order is not placed; however, his card gets debited for the cart value. Panicking, the shopper goes to the website for a customer care number, when his attention is grabbed by a reassuring text message from the seller: “Dear customer, we noticed that your payment did not go through. Here’s what you can do next while we guarantee a refund for $XX.XX, within seven working days. Click on this link to get in touch with us.” Though the buyer’s shopping experience was not flawless, he is satisfied with the prompt response from the seller and decides to return and re-order from the same website.
To support such superior customer experiences, companies need not only real-time presence across various customer touchpoints, but also constant innovation embedded in their culture. Digital platforms are complex to develop and even more challenging to operate as they seek to transform the way business has been conventionally done.
Or take a supply chain example. A shipment of fresh pineapples sails from Costa Rica enroute to Tokyo. Bad weather causes delays, and in the midst of the long journey one of the sensors in the container raises an alert that the temperature of the storage is rising. Real-time surveillance and alerts made possible through a connected digital platform prevent damages worth thousands of dollars. In the meanwhile, the owner of the shipment is being constantly updated of the delays and actions being taken to protect the shipment, who in turn is able to share these with the recipient. The digital service thus ensures that the business goal of the connected platform reaches the end customer.
In a world where most businesses are in the process of going digital, the next big thing after successful digital transformation is to craft a service model that is designed to realize the benefits of the transformation for the enterprise and its customers. Today, organizations do not want to stop with digitalization, but seek to invest in a continuous cycle of innovation in the ongoing operations of the platform. That is the only way of sustaining the success of these transformation efforts.
The Prevalence of Omnipresent Digital Touchpoints
Businesses with next-gen operations are always geared to introduce technologies like automation, AR/VR, blockchain, etc., across multiple functions and are open to enter new markets for ensuring sustainability or creating new revenue streams. They identify digital transformation to be a well-rounded initiative that reflects within every business function. To that end, what was enough for a digital business a few years back – a website or mobile apps for line of business applications – no longer holds good today.
In recent times, digital touchpoints have grown exponentially. These digital touchpoints can be anything from a website to a kiosk or a chatbot, a smartphone application, a smart home device, ATM, or a robotic arm capable of interacting with a human or a machine. Though the consumer industry is at the forefront of this trend, enterprise businesses are also not far behind.
With such a broad spectrum of digital touchpoints, comes the need to manage, execute, and maintain them without compromising on quality and consistency. This brings forth the next generation of managed services, where businesses and service providers should jointly take up the complete responsibility of planning, executing and managing these touchpoints. For businesses that move forward rapidly with their digital initiatives, this new digital business service model can help deliver rewarding micro-experiences. A service provider can manage everything from coalescing various digital touchpoints, accounting for service quality across the board, and upping the innovation game constantly.
Typically, such a model must include the following:
- The service provider takes ownership for creating an innovation bed internally which can optionally comprise members from the business they serve. This avoids delegating ‘innovation’ to the organization, which often leaves ideas abandoned during the transition to the service provider. The team can include design thinkers, supported by business specialists and digital tech experts – such as IoT, cloud, and blockchain – depending on which technology is most relevant to the industry.
- Budgets for the innovation projects are set aside by the service provider within the program team to propel or set the wheels in motion. To incentivize further, the service provider can fund these programs and offer profit-sharing schemes for breakthrough innovation.
- A proactive engagement model must be established, where high-level business requirements and approvals for the same can be assessed and executed in shorter cycles for rapid delivery. This reduces innovative schemes going amiss during a complex approval process along the hierarchy chain.
- In order to keep these brands ahead of the curve, service providers must embed a constant culture of learning and digital hands-on for the business’ client service team, through hackathons and tech contests.
- All application transformations and enhancements must be delivered together through agile delivery by inter-disciplinary teams.
Resilience Remains a Key Driver
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of resilience and how connected digital ecosystems are the backbone for the delivery of goods and services. A well-designed resilient digital business service model is key to succeeding in the coming years. In a climate where businesses are functioning with a ‘less is more’ policy, mostly in terms of their manpower, a digital-first framework gives them a head start in their respective market segments. Delegating intelligence to machines and more importantly, delegating such programs to service providers will give businesses the much-needed bandwidth to focus on and execute their core proposition.
TCS Business 4.0TM value drivers emphasize the practice of making the best out of limited resources, by banking on the abundance of digital capabilities. The time to act is now: businesses must act fast to move beyond digital transformation and into the practice of delivering next-gen digital micro-experiences.