This is the consensus view of an MIT Technology Review Insights survey of 210 members of tech executives, conducted in March 2021. These respondents report that they want –and still often lack– the ability to develop new electronic channels and services quickly, and also to optimize them in real time.
Underpinning these waves of electronic transformation are two basic drivers: the capability to function and understand customers better, and also the requirement to boost workers’ ability to work more effectively toward those goals.
Two-thirds of respondents indicated that more efficient customer experience delivery was the most critical objective. This was followed closely by the use of analytics and insight to improve products and services (60%). Increasing team collaboration and communication, and increasing security of digital assets and intellectual property came in joint third, with around 55% each.
All the digital objectives are integrally linked to improving customer and employee engagement, retention, and activation. Richard Jefts, vice president and general manager of HCL’s Digital Solutions, notes that increasing team collaboration and communication received additional attention over the last year.
“With covid-19, management teams needed to ensure that business could continue indefinitely, which has meant new heights of adoption of collaboration capabilities and the usage of the very low code by employees to digitize business processes to bridge the gaps,” says Jefts.
Miao Song, Brussels-based chief information officer of Mars Petcare, notes that digitalization has been steadily redefining her company’s global pet nutrition and veterinary services businesses. “Our online business has witnessed double-digit expansion, and the resulting volume of customer data permits us to forecast demand better,” says Song.
Digital tools also allow more and better market data to be gathered and utilized quickly. Song points out that AI-enabled image recognition tools are being used by Mars’ sales reps to scan retailers’ shelves and generate insight for better inventory management.
As Mars’ reliance on AI and analytics is growing throughout the organization, it is teaching many workers to use low-code tools to reinforce their internal capacities. Low code is a software development approach that requires little to no coding to create applications and processes, allowing users with no formal knowledge of coding or software development to create applications.
“Everybody in our company needs to become a data analyst–not just IT team members,” says Song, talking of Mars’ efforts to increase digital literacy in a bid to enhance visibility across the company’s supply chain, refine pricing strategies, and develop new products and services.
Song notes that promoting the use of low-code development tools through hackathons and other activities has been an important part of Mars’ efforts:”we need to break the notion that only IT can access and use our data resources,” she adds.
Customer experience is (still) king
Survey respondents have indicated that they’ve seen significantly increased functionality in customer expertise processes since undertaking digital transformation efforts. Moving into the next Year, consumer experie