Digital Experience Initiatives Focus On Consistency And Uniformity

BW Businessworld in collaboration with Microsoft India met a few C-level executives in Bengaluru to gather evangelical and historical perspectives on the end outcomes for the customers and the employees

A fascinating relationship has emerged between the connected reality of the digital world and the resulting digital experiences. Every new connection adds to experience, therefore, raising the bar and establishing a new normal in the world of digital technologies. Connected Experience can be called the condensed outcome of all transformations led by digital technologies and a lagging indicator of digital success. The ‘Connected’ in the term connected experience represents technology and, therefore, it is the right balance between business models of the future and engineering capabilities.

Chintamani Padmanabhan, Sales Director, Enterprise Services, Microsoft India shared why Microsoft is after the Holy Grail of connected experience. “At Microsoft, we believe there are four foundational pillars to any Digital transformation. The pillars are; engage your customers, empower your employees, optimize your operations, and transform your products. What is equally necessary is a connected ecosystem to enable connected experiences through digital transformation,” said Ms. Padmanabhan in her opening remarks.

The findings from the discussion are as follows:

Anchoring Marketing technology on Indian realities

Indian marketers have to find Indian problems and Indian approaches to address them. Copying what has worked in other consumer markets in the world will not work as each market is nuanced. Bringing out the peculiarity of Indian consumer market, Balasubramanian Somasundaram, Digital advisor, Microsoft India, added, “it is actually one-third of the consumers would drive two-thirds of the revenue in India. Hence identifying them is a clear priority.”

How exactly is the Indian market different from other consumer markets? “India is a difficult market and a unique market given that customers have less brand loyalty. It is different in developed markets, where consumers don’t change brands. For example, if you are a Walmart or a Target or a Nike customer, then you are less likely to shift to competing brands,” pointed out Dipanjan Basu, CFO, Myntra. He further added, “The consumer marketing strategy in India should be how you wow the customer by creating innovative customer experiences that are technology driven.”

Talking about the loyalty aspect of Indian customers Jiten Mahendra, VP, Marketing, Max Fashion, said, “Loyalty is fragile as Indian customers try multiple brands, hence we need to go beyond conventional loyalty to ensure customer experience and personalisation." Veda Iyer, CMO, Mphasis India added, “Indian marketing is still in the era of mass-market thinking vs. upgrade market thinking. There is an immense need for hyper-personalization and a unified Digital avatar of the customer.”

Achieving Digital Success

India’s consumer market has caught the attention of global investors with huge investments getting into India’s e-commerce market. Both the offline and online retail formats are trying to convert marketing technology into an advantage. Real estate costs have a significant impact on brick and mortar retail chains. But it would be naïve to assume that online business has an advantage due to a lower footprint of real estate leases on their P&L. “Technology gives online retailers a better reach than brick and mortar retail, but whether it is an advantage or not, it will purely depend on whether the use of technology lowers the supply chain costs compared to real estate costs incurred by brick and mortar retail chains,” said Myntra’s Basu.

We also see deep discounting plays in online retail. How can Technology alter this? “Demand shaping and coaching the client are characteristics of the B2B market. Those concepts need to percolate deep into the B2C space. Eventually, convenience, value and differentiated customer propositions will drive demand in e-commerce. A personalised and customised user experience on any e-commerce platform will build brand loyalty and will drive customer behaviour shaping,” said Basu.

Creating a Culture of Experimentation

Only those companies that continue to bring new ideas to the market will survive. Max Fashion’s Mahendra added that conventional business is bound to find it challenging to experiment with technology. “Business wants more valuable proposition whereas technology wants the minimum viable product,” he said. 

Technology sourcing often leads to very long cycles of validation. Businesses should adopt subscription and trial licenses to try new technologies to solve the business problems. It is important to start with the business problem and then finding the technology to solve that problem. Dola Mukherjee, AVP, HR, Biocon, brought in the HR angle. “Shaping the organisational culture solely depends on the effectiveness of communication within that organisation,” said Mukherjee. “Enabling an environment of performance and effective communication within the organisation ensures that employees chisel at the right marbles,” she added.

Data Is Only The Start…

Data and management talent are the basis of decision making governance within an organisation. “It’s not the amount of data you have but the business insights that comes from it that matters,” said Nitin Bhate, CMO, GE South Asia. Data is very important in today’s and future context, but it’s only the start. Raghavendra Vaidya, SVP, IT, Mercedes Benz Research and Development India, added, “With digitisation, it is but obvious that companies will find themselves acquiring lots and lots of data. However, it is crucial to know what role the data plays in the business strategy for the company.” Sanjeev Babel, GM, Mindtree said, “Intent is beyond marketing nouns and the language. Defining the problem statement and subsequently communicating it requires pragmatism and logic.” 

Building Reliability Into Digital Systems

Bringing the rigor of reliability testing from the world of Manufacturing and applying that knowledge to software systems engineering is key to bringing consistent and uniform experiences to life. “Microservices will make Enterprise IT more reliable as it allows us to draw parallels with the assembly model from manufacturing,” said Ravi Kethana, VP, Engineering, Wipro.

The Role Of Partnership Ecosystems

“Business partnering is existential, partnering with arch competitors is a new paradigm for many established companies but is very natural for companies born in the digital world. The data regulations around the world can set companies back if they don’t come together to present a unified voice,” said Vaidya. It is not just the regulations that are forcing companies to partner, but also time to market. Data based products require advanced skills that are generally not available internally. “Data science skills can be outsourced or hired depending on the criticality of the data,” said Mphasis India’s Iyer. Microsoft India’s Sales Director, Chintamani Padmanabhan said, “Data sharing partnerships would emerge as the data you have may not be important to you but for someone else.”

The Digital divide

Business decision-makers need to ensure that digital technologies diffuse uniformly across the organisation. Nitin Bhate, CMO, GE South Asia, said, “All employees, whether it is a shop floor worker or someone doing field service, need to enter the digital era. Every person is a digital and industrial person. Digital divide can come in the way of the digital-first thinking, which is crucial for innovation.” 

Concluding remarks

The end outcome driving the pursuit of technology has always been enhancing the quality of life. We are witnessing value migration since the last two decades on the back of massive digital revolution unfolding across most of the world as we speak. The migration of value means the migration of employees and customers. Organizations that experiment, take risks and partner to create truly secular connected experiences for their employees and customers would be able to survive the headwinds of value migration. 

Balasubramanian Somasundaram, Digital Advisor, Microsoft India, in his concluding remarks said, “The Industrial era was largely based on value exchanges while the digital era with time will be more about value-in-use as a result of bringing context to content in real time to deliver a connected experience.” While connected experience is enabled by science, the goal should always be to convert digital experiences into superlative human experiences sentient across the buyer, employee journey. 

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World