Build an engine for digital transformation


This is the consensus of the MIT Technology Review Insights survey of 210 technology executives conducted in March 2021. These interviewees reported that they needed – but still often lacked – the ability to quickly develop new digital channels and services and optimize them in real time.

Supporting these waves of digital transformation are two basic drivers: the ability to better serve and understand customers, and the need to improve the ability of employees to achieve these goals more effectively.

Two-thirds of respondents said that more effective customer experience delivery is the most critical goal. This is followed by the use of analytics and insights to improve products and services (60%). Increasing team collaboration and communication, as well as increasing the security of digital assets and intellectual property, ranked third, each accounting for about 55%.

All digital goals are closely related to increasing customer and employee engagement, retention, and activation. Richard Jefts, vice president and general manager of HCL Digital Solutions, pointed out that in the past year, increased teamwork and communication have received additional attention.

Jefts said: “With covid-19, the management team needs to ensure that the business can continue remotely, which means adopting a new level of collaboration capabilities and the use of low-code employees to digitize business processes to bridge the gap.”

Miao Song, Mars Petcare’s CIO in Brussels, pointed out that digitalization has been steadily redefining his company’s global pet nutrition and veterinary services business. “Our online business has achieved double-digit growth, and the resulting large amount of customer data allows us to better predict demand,” Song said.

Digital tools also allow more and better market data to be collected and utilized quickly. Song pointed out that Mars sales representatives are using AI-enabled image recognition tools to scan retailers’ shelves and provide insights for better inventory management.

As Mars increasingly relies on artificial intelligence and analytics throughout the organization, it is teaching many employees to use low-code tools to enhance their internal capabilities. Low code is a software development method that requires almost no coding to build applications and processes, allowing users without formal coding or software development knowledge to create applications.

“Everyone in our company needs to be a data analyst, not just a member of the IT team,” Song said of Mars’ efforts to improve digital literacy to increase visibility across the company’s supply chain, improve pricing strategies, and develop new products and services .

Song pointed out that promoting the use of low-code development tools through hackathons and other activities has always been an important part of Mars’ efforts: “We need to break the notion that only IT can access and use our data resources,” she added.

Customer experience (still) is king

Survey respondents stated that they have seen a significant improvement in the performance of the customer experience process since they began their digital transformation efforts. In the coming year, customer experience is still the top priority.

Respondents specifically seek to improve digital channels, followed by analysis and support personalization, and artificial intelligence or automated customer engagement tools. Other digital capabilities are being built to adapt to changes in customer and partner expectations and requirements, and to simplify the customer experience process by providing multiple experience functions.

Alan Pritchard, head of ICT services at Austin Health, a public hospital group based in Melbourne, Australia, explained that his company’s digital transformation process began to accelerate long before the impact of covid-19 began.

“The 2019 service review model shows that home monitoring and home care are critical to our future service delivery-so even before the pandemic, our health strategy focused on improving digital channels and increasing our support to the outside world Pritchard said, and pointed out that in order to implement Austin Health’s outreach strategy, a common customer relationship management (CRM) platform needs to be established.

“Although some future service models can be provided through telemedicine plans or device integration, there is still a lot of work to be done to see how you can communicate electronically with people about their health,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard observed that the organization’s general CRM platform needs to accommodate many independent professional departments, “each department wants its own application to communicate electronically with patients.”

Managing numerous independent application development processes is complicated, although “there are common patterns in the way departments interact with patients in appointments, preparations, and follow-up processes,” Pritchard said. “So we need a highly reusable platform, not a series of An application built on custom code.”

This, coupled with the need to allocate some control and customization through multiple departments, led Prichard’s team on a low-code path.

This is largely related to the experience of our survey cohort: more than 75% of respondents said they have increased their use of digital development platforms (including low-code), and more than 80% of respondents have increased their use of work in the last year. Investment priority of flow management tools.

download Full report.

This content was produced by Insights, the custom content division of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editors of MIT Technology Review.



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