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The future is digital: Engaging customers in the age of intelligent processes

By the Enterprise team on February 2, 2017

Filed under IT Leader

“Leaders in digital transformation generate an average of $100 million more in additional operating income each year.”

—Keystone Strategy Interviews, October 2015–March 2016

The world is at a tipping point—the beginning of an IT revolution that will alter the way we live, work, and relate to each other. The changes are coming fast, disrupting industries with new products and business models; up-ending marketing and product development to satisfy hyperconnected customers; and raising IT standards to support a mobile-first workforce. Companies are updating their tools to support telecommuting and multi-device-owning employees even as a shortage of skilled talent looms.

The driving force behind this digital transformation revolution is the Internet of Things (IoT), made up of connected, intelligent solutions for customer-facing and internal processes. If you’re not sure where to start with the IoT, how do you proceed? And how will you join the digital revolution while also managing the everyday processes and systems that keep your company’s doors open?

The first step is to create a clear plan. Begin by deciding what area of business you want to improve first. To get you started, Microsoft has identified four core areas of digital transformation:

  • Engaging customers
  • Empowering employees
  • Optimizing operations
  • Transforming products

No matter what the IT trends are, hearing, understanding, and responding to your customers’ needs is a key priority. The best opportunity for most businesses to start their digital transformations—and to generate more revenue—is to focus on customer engagement first.

The benefits of becoming a digital-first company

Digital transformation isn’t about technology alone. It’s about getting a more unified, connected view of—and more flexibility in—the basic functions of your business. With that kind of agility, you can meet whatever the future throws at you. And when you have a better view of customer engagement, your employees can deliver the heart of your message in a more personalized, seamless way.

Customer engagement: Transformation begins with a single step

To become part of the revolution, organizations are approaching transformation as “rapid incrementalism”—looking at what defines success and altering their existing structures incrementally to enhance them. For example, with customer engagement, your business can look at more holistic ways to:

  • Approach customer centricity across the company.
  • Reach out and personalize interactions with customers.
  • Use data to understand what consumers want now.
  • Partner marketing leaders with IT to select the most strategic tools and solutions.

It’s a chance to rethink customer engagement in whatever way best fits your organization. Your customers are out there on dozens of channels researching and talking about brands, so the opportunities to join the conversation are endless.

To build your new solution, base it on tools and technology you already use, such as:

  • Using social media listening and outreach.
  • Mining existing data to generate a 360-degree view of customer relationships.
  • Creating roadmaps to take you step by step into better engagement.

Start as big or small as you want, and integrate other pillars of digital transformation—employee empowerment, operation optimization, and product transformation—one at a time. Because every business is at a different stage of digital maturity, Microsoft has developed a model to help you successfully lead your organization along the path to complete digital transformation.

For more details, real-life examples, and answers on how to create your roadmap for becoming a digital-first business, download the e-book: Your Roadmap for a Digital-First Business (Transformation at Microsoft).

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