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How to deliver digital ‘at scale’

Article by Cognizant

Unlearning old ways of doing things and putting the customer at the heart of your operation

Organisations undertaking digital transformation understand the significance of getting it right – how a root-and-branch change to some of the most fundamental parts of the organisation can deliver benefits that are felt across everything they do. For larger enterprises, however, the need for success is felt even more keenly given the levels of staff, processes and investment involved. So how can organisations do digital well at scale?

For Vivek Daga, Cognizant's head of UK & Ireland, there are two fundamental challenges businesses need to consider when tackling digital at scale.

"The first is unlearning old ways of doing things: that includes ways of working or structures, sometimes even culture," he says. "The second fundamental challenge really is being able to put the customer at the heart of how they operate."

Simon Erdmann, Cognizant’s Digital Business leader Switzerland, agrees that doing digital at scale successfully means becoming more customer-centric – and shifting the business up a gear as a result. "Nowadays, in the digital age, you need to be iterative, you need to be fast and you need to quickly adapt to customer expectations more fluidly and more seamlessly than in the past… Now, we talk about days and weeks then the long old cycle of weeks and years."

As well as putting customers at the heart of their business, organisations seeking to achieve digital at scale need to think about building a wider network or suppliers and partners around them.

According to Michael Rundshagen, Cognizant Business Consulting Germany, the biggest opportunities for digital at scale come when organisations take an outward-looking approach: meaning whenever companies are "focusing on building platforms, opening their back-end and building ecosystems, instead of just focusing on the front end".

Almost by their very definition, digital programmes mean putting in place the appropriate technologies to support changes happening elsewhere in the organisation.

"Looking at the opportunities of using digital at scale, we see that innovation is going to play an important role. Using new cloud-based technologies, like cognitive services, will allow companies to explore, and learn fast, what these new emerging technologies can provide, in terms of services and new products to develop," said Edgard Beckand, Strategy director of Mirabeau.

Digital at scale means different things depending on the industry involved. In financial services, for example, Cognizant has seen banks undertaking projects to move away from legacy services and distribute the architecture using micro services instead. Others, meanwhile, are using robotic process automation for straight-through processing.

"We're working with most of the banks in the Benelux region, where we are implementing distribution platforms and new customer journeys using the latest technologies," Saket Gulati, Market Head Cognizant Netherlands, said.

For those working in the scientific research sector, digital at scale can be used to help make smarter decisions around how data is used.  

"To deliver digital at scale, life science and pharma companies especially should look into clinical trials," said Erdmann. While focusing on how digital technologies can be used to analyse the data the trial creates, organisations should "spend more time in using customer insight and patient insights and the data that's available to properly select the peer group for the clinical trial because that's one of the things that could help them save millions within that trial".

While the nature of digital at scale will vary between industries, there are some commonalities between projects: moving faster, building ecosystems and, above all, putting the customer first.

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