Why technology leaders must adopt new approaches and processes in the digital era
Anupam Kulkarni Jan 04th 2018

Last week, I had attended a private meeting that ushered high-level technology leaders from well-known companies who share a common history in the digital transformation (DX) movement in India. The propensity of businesses to adopt new technological strategies poses a matter of question to businesses far and wide. Ideas like an IoT-driven (Internet of Things) ecosystem intrigues many, but few advocate its implementation.

This led me to collate my thoughts on why technology leaders must move on from the old to the new and meet the digital requirements of today’s robust mechanisms.

1. Create Great Customer Experience: One of the biggest reasons to adopt new technology is to service the needs of a customer who is omnipresent on a digital platform. The power of digital transformation is to help brick and mortar retailers adapt to a world where e-commerce thrives. The high frequency of customer traffic is the prize which every retailer is after. Big Data Analytics brings much needed parity to traditional retailers in delivering a differentiated customer experience. This is possible through custom-designed software.

2. Become More Efficient: It is important to note that automation brings maximum efficiency in terms of cost and downtime. As computers become more sophisticated, it gets easier to process data and retrieve information faster. Technological breakthroughs enable automation to reduce and ultimately replace physical manpower. Furthermore, efficiency whether in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or automation can eliminate manual tasks that are consuming and conducive of unwanted errors. Efficient use of cloud storage saves costs and empowers accessibility to a large extent.

3. Gain More Customers: Competition across various sectors battle over customers who are increasingly demanding quick redressal and personalized services. Customers prefer not to spend time on a digital platform to identify the desired goods or services. The point for digital transformation is to reduce down time and optimize the costs for swift transactions. Customers are becoming more fickle and expect greater business transparency and corporate responsibility. Increased comfort with technology and high usage of online channels feeds this shift. When newer technology surpasses older systems, it is not only progressing in terms of look, feel and design, but also in terms of security as that is the most important factor of customer retention.

4. Get Ahead of Competition: New competitors are flooding almost every market. Due to widespread networking and communication facilities, deregulation of policies such as low prices, and innovative advancements like digital marketing, some companies take on competition in closed quarters. In many cases, ‘gamification’ of certain elements invites intrinsic motivation based upon achieving progress. Innovative organizations can move quickly ahead, adapting to avoid challenges, capitalising on growth areas and eroding the market share of traditional competition.

Technology leaders, as one can also attribute them to holding dual roles of a technical architect as well as a manager, should focus on growing the business. Their leadership in the digital era will spell the next steps of the business to take on heaps of challenges at the mountain of competition. If they have to write code to grow the business, so should they. If they have to focus elsewhere and interact with the customer, they must. The utmost priority of the leader is to draw observation from their dynamic environment and implement the right approach at the right time.

The reluctance to adapt to digital advancements costs a marketer time and efficiency. The longer that it takes to realize it, the heavier opportunity costs that will accumulate. A fundamental mistake that tech leaders make in the ambit of digital integration is to lose focus of how the customer is adapting to the changes, while focusing too much on how the business is benefitting or vice versa. How can innovation impact a customer’s journey in deriving the best experience with a product or service?

The digital age is fundamentally transforming the way private and public organizations operate. The high drive for innovation is influencing operating models by forcing companies to develop new ideas, and constantly test service delivery processes. As Steve Jobs once said, "You have to start with the customer experience, and work backwards to the Technology.”. The customer comes first, only then can we discuss the awesomeness of technology.

The author is Co-Founder of iauro Systems.

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