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Perspectives

Digital Process Acupuncture: How Precisely Administered Digital Technologies Can Spark Outsize Results

2016-03-31


Our latest research reveals that by applying digital remedies to targeted process areas, organizations can relieve operational stress and generate improvements that ripple across the value chain.

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Digital Process Acupuncture

Our digital lives began with one change in behavior: downloading an app that transformed our transportation, entertainment, banking or vacation-planning habits, for instance, or sending images rather than texts from our smartphones to share information, experiences or impressions. These pinpoint changes have created a ripple effect that now enhances our interactions worldwide. 

Similarly, we believe such precision twists on digitization can also bring value to entire organizational value chains. We call this “digital process acupuncture,” or the targeted use of digital technologies to relieve operational stress that builds up at critical process bottlenecks. The result: new forms of value, improved business outcomes and a better experience for all participants. Examples include capturing images with drones to reduce insurance underwriting risk and bring insurers closer to real customer needs; using digital wallets and beacon technologies to create shopper awareness and boost retail sales; using sensors, IoT or RFID for real-time monitoring to streamline business supply chains. 

To better understand digital process acupuncture, we conducted a study of 321 North American and European executives across industries and asked how they were dealing with business process digitization. Here’s just a few highlights from the study: 

  • Leaders are prioritizing front-office and customer-facing processes. About 64% of healthcare payers claim to have digitized enrollment and billing services, for example, and 67% of retailers said they have digitized their B2C channels.

  • Process digitization can boost both top- and bottom-line results by more than 18%. Insurers experienced the greatest cost reductions and revenue boosts, while healthcare payers saw the lowest cost and revenue benefits (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1

  • Major benefits of digitization come from value chain and process integration. For example, nearly two-thirds of banks, insurers and healthcare payers – and roughly half of retailers – cited digitization as yielding high levels of value chain integration (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

  • Security is a continuing issue. Roughly 59% of respondents cite data security as the chief issue today as their digital processes proliferate.

Our study suggests that process digitization doesn’t need to start as a radical, invasive undertaking. Through targeted approaches and a thorough understanding of how processes interconnect and interact, businesses can use digital technologies to change a process or experience to drive major business impact. At the same time, digital process acupuncture does disrupt the “old way of doing things,” and is all about optimizing processes that can efficiently and effectively move the needle on business strategy.

What matters most is lasting outcomes that can result in sustained health and rejuvenation of the whole business — which is why a digital process acupuncture approach can be such an effective way to get started.

For an in-depth look at our study results, as well as an analysis of how to get started with digital process acupuncture, please read our report "Digital Process Acupuncture: How Small Changes Can Heal Business, and Spark Big Results," or learn more at www.futureofwork.com.   

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Digital Process Acupuncture: How Precisely Administered Digital Technologies Can Spark Outsize Results