Ask a millennial for their details over the phone and you are likely to be met with suspicion and skepticism – yet ask them via a screen and the answer will be a barrage of information.
The rise in digital has lead to a complete cultural shift in the way modern customers interact with enterprise. With this progression comes the internet of things (IoT), which will expedite this shift.
Customers’ expectations to access brands around the clock, along with the ability to connect with peers and answer any question online, has led to an expansion of cloud-based apps, big data and data science.
Co-founder of the first US cellular telephone company, Peter Lewis, coined the term ‘internet of things’ in the 1980s to describe a ubiquitous network of sensors connected to the internet that delivers information about the physical world directly to enterprise systems without human intervention.
Advancements in technology, such as alternate power sources, improved bandwidth technologies and scalable digital addresses, like IPv6, have made IoT more accessible.
IoT is a dynamic part of the digital movement. The focus for companies is now shifting to customer experience management (CEM), away from a product centric mentality. Consumers want hyperpersonalised experiences, so online businesses need to be proactive, guided by data and technology to maintain a high level of service availability, continuity and quality.
Using IoT for an advantage
Inanimate objects are becoming smart, with devices now able to undertake two-way communication, control other devices and react or advise humans with ‘intelligence’. These devices are used by businesses to access information and data that in the past was inaccessible or time consuming to collect.
Companies use this information to change the landscape of services offered, with technology start-ups such as Uber (online taxi booking service), TrackR (app based tracking device) and WhatsApp (online communication tool) leveraging the progress of smartphones.
The pace, variety and depth of information gathered by IoT provides detailed insight into customer behaviour ranging from service consumption to product engagement, which will determine how to offer and personalise new services.
In business-to-business consumer verticals, the information collected contributes to the automation and optimisation of services, for example with auto transport in mining.
By using analytics and artificial intelligence, businesses can go beyond finding ways to adapt to customer experience trends and demands to now predict and deliver accurate customer experiences proactively.
As more data becomes available to organisations, increased regulations come into play to protect the customer’s personally identifiable information (PII). Technology must be in place to anonymise and mask the data.
In the next couple of years, as regulations such as GDPR and Know Your Customer (KYC) start to be enforced, companies need to be very clear on how they store and move PII gathered from IoT devices.
The first logical step to being more digital is to audit existing service offerings and analyse how they can be optimised to use the data gathered from IoT to improve current offers.
With IoT enabled, companies will have more insights on service consumption, behavioural factors and operational aspects. Companies can then engage customers to complete actions via push notifications or nudges, and control the service provided by implementing accurate real-time change.
Digital transformation needs to be a top-down process. Senior management must have a view of the risk-based system and application architecture map, highlighting specific impacts to the business and technology.
At the same time the whole company needs to be involved in a customer-centric strategy. If these processes are in place the time and resources required for the transformation will be reduced.
Adapting corporate culture to modern demands is often the most difficult aspect of transformation. However, if employees understand the value of the project, this makes it easier to convey to their customers.
The main hurdle traditional companies encounter with service transformation is legacy systems. A large-scale, rip-and-replace approach for digitisation is not viable in some instances, and the best path is to adapt a technological layer sitting in between upstream and downstream systems. This layer can connect the dots on data collection, correlation, process automation, service moulding, offering, provisioning and monetisation to improve customer offerings.
Competition is fierce and customers are fickle, in order to retain customers, organisations need to be front and centre of the consumer’s mind. Digitisation is helping companies increase revenue inflow and reduce costs, which has lead to cross-industry consolidation and partnerships. This trend had been seen from the increase of acquisitions in the technology, media and telecommunication sectors, where nearly £580 billion dollars’ worth of deals were completed last year.
Acquisitions are one method of forming partnerships – others include mergers and joint ventures. New partnerships could increase the variety of new offerings, proving to consumers enterprises are no longer product focused.
The main aim of these partnerships is to provide the customer with one single interface enabling cross bundling and services by connecting various industries, seen with Uber partnering with Spotify to bring a customer’s soundtracks to their ride, or retail chain House of Fraser partnering with Challenger Banks to make its image more appealing to millennials.
A key factor to a successful partnership is making the participating entities agile to market demand and open to sharing data, and having a common goal of customer-centricity.
The desire to digitise has unearthed different partnership models compared with traditional ones. In the past, partnerships were more like mergers where one company owned the roadmap. Now partnerships are more collaborative, such as with Orange and Viasat’s deal. Digital has changed how a partnership contributes to the bottom line. In the, future IoT could change this even further.
Leveling the playing field
IoT has unified innovations across several industries and narrowed the gap between them, meaning in the future one industry segment won’t take all the economics.
Cohesive partnerships and organisations will have to plan for a future based on the ecosystem they want to be involved with, rather than trying to do everything on their own.
The competitive market is becoming flat thanks to IoT as more companies work together to offer bundled packages that prevent brand stagnation and customer churn. Once the data privacy aspect is handled appropriately, customer service offerings and products will become more precise.
By obtaining more data, companies can evolve to meet their customers’ desires. IoT is a win-win situation for consumers – now organisations must make it a win-win for themselves.
Sourced from SunTec