By Neelesh Kripalani
The Coronavirus pandemic has catapulted digital transformation to the top of the must-haves in the minds of CIOs. It has been a go-to enabler for organizations to enhance their customer experience and generate higher ROI. Businesses with brick-and-mortar presence were shifting their approach towards building a digital presence to stay relevant and ahead of their competition.
Many have already begun their digital transformation journey, while some are in the designing phase. Technology landscape is dynamic in nature. While the pandemic forced businesses to adopt digital drivers such as automation, big data, digital workforce, etc., they were soon replaced with the next big wave of digital transformation. This new wave has brought in new trends that will shape up the next normal. Let’s look at 5 such trends that will soon become the next must-haves.
- Customer Experience Reimagined
It’s not just about having best products anymore. The new wave of millennials prefers convenience over loyalty. Create digital experiences that support modern web in the form of progressive web apps, true native mobile apps with best-in class UX, intelligent chat-bots, conversational apps, wearables, and immersive experiences that leverage augmented reality. Organizations are trying to maximize the use of components and backend integration that leads to a unified and seamless experience across channels.
The next big thing in Customer experience (CX) is to design amazing applications for any audience across any device with no limits on user experience taking full advantage of the underlying device OS for native and full power of modern browsers for web. Omni-channel tools eliminate data siloes and bring all the data at one place. Be it a web presence, a physical store visit, or a mobile application click, omni-channel binds all customer-facing interfaces together, integrated at the back-end, and helps in better CX and data visibility across the board.
- Data and User Privacy
In the wake of privacy concerns amongst digital users, we will be seeing organizations focusing on user and data privacy. This will soon become a unique selling proposition for many to leapfrog their competitors. This could mean that users in the next normal will be able to allow/deny access to their data residing on applications, web and other digital channels. The user will be the owner of his/her data. Data privacy has shaken even multi-national brethren, forcing them to comply with new regulations laid by authorities. EU has already entered the game with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance policy and other regions have followed suit.
- APIs – The Road to Cloud
Cloud is already adopted by most organizations to create seamless business continuity and fasten go-to market. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are key in building economies of scale. From converting legacy infrastructure to micro-services, APIs will help businesses to reduce data silos and create collaborative experiences. It will also help them convert scattered applications into one behemoth of a data mart, helping them in making critical business-decisions and increase their overall ROI.
- XaaS (Everything-as-a-Service)
As-a-Service (aaS) has already become the norm to become a truly digital-native enterprise. The new trend in the aaS model is Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) where services rendered and delivered will completely reside on the cloud with virtual access to almost everything. Tools such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role in building those services, or augmenting existing services to achieve the digital-native status quo.
- AIaaS (Artificial Intelligence-as-a-Service)
AI technologies are already used by 77% of consumers. A number of technological innovations such as data processing, and face & speech recognition have become possible due to AI. AI is a vast area that includes AI platforms, chat-bots, machine learning (algorithm category consisting of various libraries and frameworks), deep learning and analytics.
AI has led to rise in the use of machine learning in computing. AI has contributed significantly in creating a framework for cloud computing. Many IT industry giants are already betting huge on AIaaS (Artificial Intelligence as a Service) with new line of services such as digital assistance, cognitive computing, machine learning, business intelligence, and so on.
These services can have significant impact on day-to-day lives of the consumers. With the help of vital statistics from health-care organizations, AI can help identify patterns and predict the desired outcome of a given situation in a focused environment. AI can also help in tracking of smart devices, thereby, creating a footprint of individuals. It can help marketers and advertisers with predictive data on what one is likely to do in a given event. This will help marketers to show relevant ads to consumers at the right time that could help them fetch better returns for their marketing dollars.
Needless to say, the new wave of digital technology trends can reduce human interactions, increase productivity, initiate automation, and simplify lives. Organizations need to understand the importance of this technology paradigm shift, and leverage it to create digital ecosystems and become future-ready enterprises to welcome the next normal with both hands.
(The author is Senior Vice President and Head- Center of Excellence – Clover Infotech and the views expressed in this article are his own)