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Changing lives: Think big to tap new digital value

The true value of digital


Article by Rory Yates

The digital opportunity lies not in simply putting existing processes online but by using technology to think big and completely reimagine business models.

Realising the true value from digital requires organisations to think much bigger than simply putting existing processes online. It’s a more cultured approach that looks at the meaning products and services have in customers’ lives and using technology to unlock barriers and completely reimagine those relationships.

The UK is a relatively mature market for digital and there are already many organisations doing digital. However, the big opportunity and real value comes from not simply doing digital but being digital. Organisations need to change their mindset from simply digitising – putting offline processes online – to thinking about how they can use technology to completely reimagine business models and the relationship with their customers.

Twenty years ago, looking at banking and insurance, it was all about taking the offline transaction process and putting it online. We never asked ourselves about the relationship that the customer had with the bank manager or broker. The real opportunity now is to start asking ourselves about that relationship, homing in on the right data points and services that suit those relationships in the digital age.

This comes from not simply doing digital but by being more responsive in a world that is being disrupted and changing exponentially in this fourth industrial revolution.

Making that shift is about organisations changing. We work with a lot of companies on their digital maturity. We take them from cluttered to cultured. That means moving them from the slightly fragmented and inconsistent way they might currently do  digital, to a more cultured embrace of the digital world, putting in place the right conditions for their people to operate. 

Digital affecting customers’ lives

It’s definetly about asking bigger questions on the meaning an organisation’s products and services have in people’s lives and then looking at new forms of value that can be created by reimagining those relationships.

Take the example of a sporting institution in the UK that we are working with. It is using digital to really change people’s relationships with that sport, from a mum with her child knowing where to go to the match, through to other factors that really integrate that sport into their day-to-day lives. More sporting facilities might not make the real shift to greater participation but helping that mum get her son to a match via a car pooling app might well be the answer. When we look at people’s lives in the wider context of that sport we realise there are lots of barriers that they face. Digital can unlock a lot of those barriers.

Another example is a utility operator that we are helping along the journey from doing digital inconsistently to a more cultured approach, one where it’s embracing digital. Organisations in that sector have traditionally only had to see themselves in terms of the source and distribution of those utilities and not their consumption. In the 21st century, with disruption from factors such as environmental stewardship, those utilities now need to be involved in how to make consumption smarter and better managed. Digital is key to that.

The major opportunity to unlock this new value is centred around technology. It is far more than just the interface and interaction with the customer. Technology is disruptive and critical to reimagining the relationship with that customer. Here at Cognizant we have all those digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality – and at scale. We have now also married that core strength in technology with the world of human-centred design that looks at customers and human behaviour. We bring those two worlds together to hit the sweet spot for true digital transformation.

Relearning Leadership

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