According to an article by Suresh Rangarajan, Head of Communications at Tata Motors, in the past decade we have created several new tools and platforms to transform our business environments to be more efficient, productive and cost-effective. It’s become a tidal wave
Today, we hold advanced computing capabilities in our pockets. The smartphone is the first piece. For the end user, it has been life-changing. We can order food, book a cab, buy a shoe, navigate in a new city, and connect with friends at the click of a button.
Businesses that are using technologies like automation are achieving faster engagement, in-house communication, better focus on strategic priorities, and lastly a better project completion rate.
Just consider how payments were accepted in the past. Businesses had to manually deal with each individual client/ customer to complete a transaction. Today, payments are just a few taps away. With mobile wallets that reside as apps in phones, paying for products and selling them has got so much easier. That’s just one of the products on the modern technological revolution.
Five prominent technologies
- Internet of Things – (IoT): Research by IEEE suggests that we will have more than 50 million connected devices by the year 2020. These devices include smartphones, smart TVs, automobiles, wearables, and anything else connected to the internet. When you are interacting with a device using the internet, you are essentially uploading a lot of information. For instance, when you are browsing through some products in a shopping portal like Amazon.com, you are essentially marking your preferences. Based on your personal research, location, age and several other factors, Amazon.com will suggest new products the next time you log in. That’s the charm of IoT. For all modern marketers, data is the most important ingredient to success. Since so much information is being uploaded every minute, it is by using IoT that businesses can seek to target better. Companies can take advantage of IoT by coming up with more relevant and effective advertisements for individual customers. The chances of a conversion automatically get higher.
- Big Data solutions: To be able to sell products and services, businessmen need to understand who they are selling to. Big Data is a combination of tools that helps them manage huge data sets and understand customer preferences, patterns, and trends better.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is expected to increase worldwide revenues of global business from $8 billion in 2016 to $47 billion or more by the year 2020, and this encompasses a very broad range of industries. Businesses are now dealing with huge volumes of real-time data to ensure personalised experiences for consumers. New technologies like AI, robotics, machine learning, deep learning, and cognitive computing have been a real driver in this context.
- Blockchain: Blockchain database technology is like a digitally distributed ledger which maintains a growing list of records in a decentralised server. The data records kept can be anything ranging from smart contracts to Bitcoins. The main advantage is the encryption and authentication it provides when managing data records. Currently, it’s being used by financial organisations like Swiss Bank UBS and other global banks. However, the implications of the technology are far reaching. In a recent example, Australia Post is developing a technology based on Blockchain to come up with an e-voting system for Victoria State.
- Virtual Reality – (VR): As human beings, we like to experience things rather than blindly believe in what is pitched to us. For instance, when you are planning to invest in an estate that is currently under development, you have no way of seeing the end product and so would be apprehensive of any investment. VR solves this! A virtual tour will give you a fair idea of the space and the sales pitch will hold more meaning.
VR is also a multisensory experience where you can emotionally connect with a product or service. Using VR, businesses like are allowing their customers an experience of how new furniture would look and feel in their homes even before they have purchased it. It’s all about engagement. In the future, every business would include VR in their customer engagement process – from marketing to installation and even support and service.
The challenges ahead
Digital transformation for most businesses is probably the next reincarnation of the promises of technology. Most of the digitisation is existent in top companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and the like.
90% of global businesses are still on their way to fully understand the implications and potential of such a transformation.
The first thing that is holding them back is the understanding of how digitisation can improve their business processes. As humans, we are always comfortable with routines and getting out of the comfort zone needs a bigger push than the world just talking about it. Businesses find these technologies too complicated to understand. It is for business leaders to do the research to propagate opportunities in simpler terms to employees.
Apart from that, digitisation does need a substantial amount of investment which most companies aren’t yet ready for.
Also, companies need to hire special expertise to oversee the implementation of the same while overlooking the associated risks.
Andrew MacAfee, from MIT, suggests that, “Find a part of your organisation that’s led by somebody who’s a little bit more comfortable working with data, who’s got a team of geeks that are part of her team and do an experiment about becoming more data-driven in forecasting, in market analysis, in product design and/ or in human capital management. Do an experiment. It’s not going to ruin the company. It’s not going to break the bank. And then learn from it.”