LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. Google. And now, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Uber, AirBnB, Waze, GoPro, and many more.
References to these companies quickly bring to mind qualities such as new-age technology, high growth, never-seen-before business models, and importantly, long-term survival uncertainty.
They have ushered in the third digital wave where everyone is looking beyond conventional models – ‘digital transformation’ being the buzzword.
But what is transformative today can be outdated tomorrow. Long-term survival is suspect, despite huge valuations but no visible insight into sustainable revenues or profits. So, where should companies invest in order to make digital transformation economical in the future?
A New Approach We know from experience that any transformation initiative should align strategies with not only front-office systems, but also focus on the back-office. We have seen several examples of companies floundering growth and reaching the ‘point of deceleration’ due to insufficient focus on optimising basic functions such as finance and accounting, procurement, supply chain, HR, and internal productivity processes.
The result is a huge void in sustainable organisational models – one that combines newer ‘systems of engagement’ with the classic ‘systems of record’. In fact, emerging “digital BPO” models are gearing up to support the rapid growth in digital technology, with critical linkage to business models especially for tech, social, and new-age media companies.
Hyper valuations are great but unless best-in-class systems are developed, there will be challenges in sustaining growth. This does not mean outsource everything. But consider an approach that internalises sustainable balanced models – not only as home-grown organic initiatives, but also by partnering with global service providers, who can quickly address these gaps.
Survival of the Lithest
Nimbleness demands investments to build tools, platforms, and processes that cater to the new digital ecosystem. New-age technology companies are looking at:
The Way Forward: Business Process Industry Platform-as-a-Service (BPIPS)
From a provider’s perspective, what is needed is a strong linkage of its business models to the enterprise customer’s business models. Eventually, this would help create unique industry-specific platforms and build IP to differentiate. While, this would help lead and institutionalise innovation, it would also disrupt traditional models, pushing providers to think beyond BPaaS (business process as a service) / cloud-enabled platforms. However, on the brighter side, vertical industry-specific platforms would offer true differentiation built around BPIPS.
By combining industry platforms, software and services, BPIPS will help develop different commercial business models to deliver value to clients and grow new revenue streams. But a standalone approach cannot deliver results. Enterprises need to collaborate and respond to challenges together – to drive positive recognition across our internal and external stakeholders. For instance, tech companies can build platforms / IP for ‘multi-channel client experience’ that deliver tailored customer experiences across omni-channels, while ensuring alignment with product innovation and engineering at the backend. This can be achieved through a single integrated platform that links continuous process improvements in product engineering and back-office processes. Additionally leverage ‘analytics on-demand’ to closely monitor customer insights, customer behaviour, and link these to product engineering in a SaaS (software as a service) environment. This would lead to innovation and a differentiated customer experience.
By building industry platform solutions that closely interlink business processes in the digital age, providers along with their enterprise customers can build cross-industry platform portfolios that can shape new models and offer enterprises ways to reduce their reliance on labour-based services and clunky antiquated on-premise technologies.
Benefits from Next-Gen Technology
For global system integrators, this is a new landscape. A great deal of business-outcome-based play will likely take shape. The underlying economics will change. Eventually, providers will have to exhibit thinking on par with new-age digital enterprises. This really means guiding companies to not just invest in the right cloud-based technologies, but also bringing together elements of BPO operations, infrastructure, technology support, and organisational realignment. This would help accrue maximum benefits from outsourcing and cloud as a seamless, integrated service. This ultimately drives wide scale transformation of business processes, enabled by next-generation intelligent platforms and tools with front-office digital themes known as ‘BPO-as-a-stack service’.
Experiment, Disrupt, Innovate
The new digital ecosystem offers unique ways to get closer to the customer. But sustainability would depend on innovation and building bolder business models. Those who are willing to experiment, and do not fear failure will emerge winners in this exciting journey. Companies have to disrupt traditional models. The eventual winner is, of course, the consumer. And thiss undoubtedly paves the way to lead innovation and build business-process-led software / IP for greater consumer and global impact.
- By Amit Puri, Portfolio Sales Leader, Infosys BPO
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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