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Digital Disruption: Putting the spotlight on the customer

Tao Ai Lei | April 19, 2016
At the recent CXO Conference in Singapore, speakers shared insights on the challenges of embarking on a digital transformation journey and how to overcome them.

CXO Sg 2016

CxO delegates from finance, operations, marketing and human resources participated at the recent CXO Conference in Singapore, where they considered the challenges of embarking on a digital transformation journey in which technology has proven to be a disruptive force.

Sandra Ng of IDC AP
Sandra Ng, Group Vice President, Practice Group, IDC Asia/Pacific

The trends of the consumerisation of IT and pay-as-you-use model in our modern economy is driving digital disruption, regardless of the market you are in, said Sandra Ng, Group Vice President, Practice Group, IDC Asia/Pacific, in the opening address. "Digital transformation is a customer-centric business strategy and is currently the biggest theme in the market."

IDC's research uncovered three common characteristics about the early digital transformers. "It typically starts with the CEO having the aspiration to be the lead in the industry they are in," said Ng.

In addition, early disrupters are able to create digital capabilities that allow them to compete very differently. Finally, they have a committed executive who is in the driver's seat in terms of the way the organisation transforms.

While the degree and pace of disruption differs, it is happening in all industries, such as Alibaba and the Wanda Group in the retail industry. In the manufacturing space, Toys 'R'Us uses 3D printers to produce rubber ducks in their stores, resulted in a convergence of the manufacturing and retail worlds.

Alternative payment providers like WeChat, Alipay, and Square from the U.S. have challenged the notion that financial services are only provided by financial institutions. There has also been the emergence of information companies like Kroger, a supermarket that generates US$100m annually from selling data insights.

However, within the Asia Pacific, its consumers may be very tech-savvy, but enterprises are lagging behind. "This creates a sense of urgency because the competition is becoming increasingly borderless, said Ng, according to the IDC DX MaturityScape Benchmark 2015-2016.

IDC believes that digital transformation strategies will focus on three areas of digital mastery. The first area is digital mastery of relationships with a focus on optimising reach and maximising relavance to the customer. An example is the Coke Zero "drinkable ad", which uses music-identification service Shazam to get viewers to sample a free Coke.

The second area is digital mastery of operations, where organisations streamline and scale operations in order to deliver customised and personalised products and services.

The first two areas will be bisected by the third area - digital mastery of information-based products and services - which is a combination of digital presence and intellectual capital and will be the leverage point that lifts how a company approaches both its relationships and its operating model.


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