Don’t garnish, but infuse: Your mantra for success with digital initiatives

Several organisations are scurrying into action with mobile applications. But take caution over how you view mobility - your success from digital transformation may well be hinged on that

Jaisundar Venkat
Updated: Oct 30, 2015 09:03:02 AM UTC

A process professional with nearly 20 years’ experience in delivering business technology solutions to organizations, Jaisundar Venkat is Consulting Partner at Wipro Technologies where he leads Business Process Management (BPM) consulting. In this role, he helps global companies achieve benefits of BPM by empowering business through IT. Starting off with consultative selling of MRP II in India (yes, consultative selling of MRP II!) in the 90’s, Jaisundar has worn the dual hat of business and technology consulting in areas including ERP, SFA, CRM, Self Service, Online Payments, SCM and Corporate Performance Management. He has worked closely with large Indian firms formulating strategies for Sales Management, Field Service, Revenue and Corporate Performance Management. Jaisundar’s personal crusade for ‘applied technology’ – getting IT to deliver true value – led him to Process Management during the early 2000s and he has since been a self-confessed fanatic of BPM. He is recognized as a thought leader and industry influencer in business technology, specifically BPM. Jaisundar is active on twitter on topics related to BPM, Digital & Big Data and you can find him @bouncingthots He also writes for several online publications and at his own blog site, Bouncing Thoughts The views expressed in these blog posts do not reflect those of his employer.

By letting mobility in, you are opening the door to more customer interaction moments of truth

Image: Shutterstock

The penetration of Mobile internet in India has seen dramatic growth in recent years and is likely to cross 1 billion connections before 2016. Last year, the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) estimated that the value of digital payments in India would touch $20 billion. It is impossible to ignore the repercussions of these indicators for businesses on the need to better engage and serve new-age customers.

The Mobile Phone has become invaluable The first text message I received from my bank was around a decade ago. That must be true for you too. Back then, text message notifications were an add-on service that customers needed to register for. Once you registered, text alerts were sent for every banking transaction made.

These alerts were available for transactions on credit cards, debit cards and in general any banking transaction triggered on your account. The mobile phone was not yet smart then and notifications via SMS were typically one-way and were primarily introduced to prevent fraudulent activity. Of course, there was a little more—I could compose a text message by typing ‘BALANCE’ and send it to a specific number to know my account balance via SMS.

I still receive these alerts, but the utility of the phone for my financial transactions has changed dramatically. I now have an app the bank has given me, from which I can do a host of things—check balances, look up nearest ATMs, transfer money, initiate service requests, make utility payments and so on.

Starting off as a passive platform around a decade ago, and serving very well as one-way alerts, the variety of things that can be done with smartphones today is incredible. Notably, we are no longer passive recipients of information from the bank. We are now able to conduct real transactions that we traditionally could only do at a branch or over a desktop browser from home or office.

Change in Lifestyle
What started off as a passive platform for one-way alerts, the things you can do with a mobile phone today are innumerable. Whether it is finding a restaurant and getting driving directions to that place, or ordering a specific cuisine right from home, to managing travel and holidays, or, as I recently discovered, managing the service needs of your car, the smartphone has really become invaluable today—and is increasingly being seen more as a utility than just a fancy accessory.
In this shift, more transactions are conducted on the device and these have really become two-way—data of some kind is being received and sent.

It is about engagement potential - not just the Device.
So, really there are two important implications of the way mobile is impacting organisations—one is the change it is bringing on the delivery side. The interfaces, the convenience, user experience etc., are all dramatically improving and are allowing firms to enable and engage with customers better and in radically new ways. In fact, mobile apps are a great way to prompt customer self-service and even action to unlock new cross and up-selling opportunities.

The second implication—which is probably more important, is that from a single system generated alert that sends data (through text alerts) to a mobile device, we are now increasing the number of points in organisational processes where mobile devices are actively ‘in conversation with’ your customer. As we pack more functionality on the app, we are allowing a larger number of processes with touch points to mobile devices. These touch points are no longer passive—they are points where two-way communication is required and in many cases, points that are actually triggering new actions, instructions, data exchange, events and entire processes themselves.

The qualitative impact of your digital transformation programme is a result of how well you deal with these two aspects.

The Need to Rethink Process
So the bottom-line is that we are no longer looking at mobile touch points the way we viewed text alerts 10 years ago. Mobility cannot be adequately leveraged by slapping on mobile extensions to old processes. We are really not ‘garnishing’ our processes, but actually infusing ‘mobile’ into existing processes.

The need to ‘infuse’ mobile is going to have a disruption effect of sorts on your processes involved. Mobile will demand a different degree of responsiveness from your existing processes. The old way of thinking of a process and workflow has to be re-visited. Gaps in poorly-designed business processes are likely to get exposed easier if they aren’t first re-contextualised for your digital initiatives, and so we really are talking about a definitive process transformation that dovetails into your mobility initiatives.

It’s about the customer
By letting mobile in, you are opening the door to more customer interaction moments of truth. There are innumerable instances where a single bad customer experience has rippled across the internet causing significant damage to brands and that can well happen to any brand, because there is another very important ‘revolution’ called social networking with which the mobile revolution is intricately intertwined.

They are both happening from the same device, and what connects the two is merely a few flicks of the thumb.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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