Executives fear for survival for lack of digital investments

A recent global survey of more than 900 executives across 12 industries by Accenture found that only 13 per cent companies are positioned to drive both growth and efficiency with digital. The report further states that 64 per cent of the executives fear for their company’s survival if they are unable to deliver on these two imperatives with their digital investments. Companies no longer perceive digitisation as an end state. Instead it is an ongoing process aimed at two objectives — greater operating efficiency and new customer experiences.

Realising the potential of digitisation, 96 per cent of the senior executives surveyed by Accenture said that they were investing in digital to pursue these twin goals. Some of the leading retail companies in India, for example, have started leveraging digital technologies such as virtual reality to enhance in-store customer experiences and drive sales, simultaneously adopting digital to optimise operations and achieve higher operational efficiencies.

In an era when over 800 million individuals across the globe are keen to consume hyper-personalised experiences, as many as 84 per cent of the executives believe that delivering differentiated customer experiences will strengthen their competitive advantage. For example, a leading private sector bank in India uses a combination of technologies to create a virtual customer-service assistant which allows customers to carry out transactions and request services by simply typing in a message.

This has enabled the company to deliver improved customer experiences. The chief digital officer (CDO) is a critical player in the company’s success in the digital era. The CDO defines the digital reinvention road map and helps lead the organisation through the journey.

The survey report recommends three steps for CDOs to succeed in digital transformation: First, develop a “digital strategy and road map” for the business, rather than simply infusing digital in the strategy of the firm. Second, set the agenda in the C-suitee; and third, manage implementation.

Machine learning is changing landscape for marketers

The transformative impact of voice, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) is being felt across the entire business landscape with 55 per cent of marketers surveyed agreeing that ML will allow them to make better decisions in 2018, according to iProspect’s third annual 2018 Future Focus whitepaper.

The whitepaper which examines how machines and technology are impacting marketing and advertising in the year ahead. About 56 per cent of the marketers highlighted “effectively managing large data sets to deliver personalisation and relevant one-to-one experience” as their main priority in 2018.

iProspect interviewed 250 of their global clients, including FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies, and used the real-time feedback to outline key insights and priorities necessary for businesses to thrive in our fast moving, high expectation digital economy.

“Advances in machine learning will allow for greater effectiveness and efficiency in marketing communications, freeing both marketers and agencies to focus on adding strategic value,” said Shenda Loughnane, global chief strategy officer, iProspect. “Brands will need to understand how to balance the human versus machine elements of their business in order to leverage the full value of both.”

This year’s whitepaper also discusses new machine rules. These include: Enhanced customer experience — closing the gap between consumer expectation and brand reality. Digital assistants are the new gatekeepers; AI and ML transforming marketing — the powerful impact that can be unlocked by brands who have effectively leveraged joint human and machines strategies; Commerce everywhere — the shrinking distance between inspiration and conversion, and the shift from discovery to transaction; and the rise of Amazon, the everything store — mastering the new marketplace to stand out.

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