More and more companies are going digital, embracing analytics, and leveraging their data to turn insights into higher revenues, reduced costs, and overall business growth. According to analysts, the big data analytics market is expected to reach nearly $50B by 2020.
Managing digital technologies in this new age is about more than improving process, it’s about creating unique services for competitive advantage. This is particularly vital in a changing technology landscape enabled by mobility, cloud computing, big data, intuitive analytics, social media and other digital solutions. The key for IT leaders is to figure out how to use this information to give their organization its digital edge.
Those organizations that embrace digital transformation can radically change their business models in a short period of time, providing a sustainable edge based on elevated insight, agility, and the continuous innovation that today’s digital world demands.
Let’s look at two organizations; Starbucks and Novartis, that have successfully used digital strategy for competitive advantage.
Starbucks: Transforming and Engaging Customer Experience
Starbucks was having financial difficulties in the mid-2000s. Sales were plummeting and Starbucks had to shut down numerous underperforming stores. On a digital level, the company was far behind its competitors.
In 2008, in an effort to boost sales and improve the customer experience, Starbucks offered free Wi-Fi in Starbucks stores. By 2012 the company booked $3 billion in payments via its loyalty card. Starbucks led the way in mobile payments too, processing 3 million mobile payments a week. Close social media engagement with customers also allowed it to collect over 50,000 innovation ideas. Today, by taking 10 seconds off every card or mobile phone transaction, it has cut customers’ time-in-line by 900,000 hours per year. Most of its solutions were digitally light as it used existing technologies such as Wi-Fi, mobile payments and social media, but it successfully integrated these technologies to improve customer engagement and operational efficiency.
The company continues to invest in software and mobile apps, for example, that enable its employees to easily access information like work schedules from their smartphones.
Novartis: Changing the Sales Engagement Model with Customers
Over the last decade, as a result of declining sales in drug products reaching maturity, Novartis was forced to repeatedly restructure the sales force and cut positions. Traditionally the organization had sales representatives perform several visits per day, communicating company priorities and drug-related information, but collected little information about the patients who used the drugs, and hardly any information was exchanged between doctors and sales reps or between reps. Novartis had no idea which drug was being sold or used or when.
To change this, Novartis decided to equip the company’s 25,000 sales representatives globally with iPads within two years. Despite initial challenges, the team managed to work seamlessly to push forward the technology deployment within a detailed timeline that outlined the milestones and key stakeholders in terms of key leadership events, core team direction and steering committee guidance. The deployment also integrated a new CRM rollout linked to an innovative product information presentation standard called the LaunchPad. By using the LaunchPad standards developed specially for the Novartis iPad, sales representatives could pull any information they needed during a sales meeting – from interactive graphs to patient case studies – or call a specialist at headquarters on the spot if needed. This technology device completely changed Novartis’s selling model. Sales representatives’ lifestyle improved as sales calls were recorded on the spot, and they could do all their travel and expense reporting between doctor visits, thereby eliminating after-work administration. Most significantly, the digital transformation is now changing the operating culture of the division globally as well as the integration around more useful customer and product information and analytics to improve customer engagement.
Often these companies don’t have the tools to analyze how the businesses is running – from end to end or across their supply chain – and consequently they can’t properly leverage the complete digital lifecycle or realize the full value of their offerings.
Many of today’s companies are dealing with data silos and disconnected processes preventing them from maximizing their opportunities. It is of little (or perhaps, negative) value to provide customers with a ‘cool’ mobile application that facilitates product or service ordering when the applications is not connected to all the back-end transaction processing systems such as Order Entry; Inventory and Warehouse Management; Billing and Invoicing; Fulfillment; Marketing and Merchandising; or Customer Service Support, to name a few.
The Litcom Approach
In today’s highly complex and technologically integrated business marketplace, leading companies are continually exploring new business models, developing new user experiences and creating new marketing and sales channels and platforms. Achieving competitive advantage today requires a digital transformation that includes:
Operating smarter and faster with end-to-end connected business processes;
Providing customers with real-time, personalized experiences that reach them just as they need them;
Bringing new products and services to market that disrupt the status quo; and
Making business decisions based on up-to-date, integrated data analytics provided by digital solutions.