Re-thinking IT rules for the digital era
"Digital transformation is created by technology but it is not about technology. It is about how we do business and engage new customers," declared IDC Vice President of Research, Digital Transformation, Serge Findling. "Integrating technology in new business capabilities is the essence of competition in the digital economy, and CIOs play a critical role in recalibrating their IT capabilities and embracing the new rules that govern the digital era.
"The new challenges focus on improving customer experiences and optimising the use of data to provide a competitive edge," stated Findling. "Customer transformation is reinventing businesses. New IT capabilities are fostering innovation with the customer experience increasingly channelled towards experimental engagement and augmented reality which senses the different needs of customers along their journey, and then providing them with a consistent integrated experience."
Findling warned that businesses may feel discouraged with the initial pace of change. "The results of digital transformation may be slow early on," he said. "However, once these capabilities are in place, it accelerates changes which you can use, scale and redeploy throughout your enterprise. If you invest in building the capabilities, you will see its benefits in the long run."
Acknowledging the mismatch between what employers want and the skills students possess upon graduation, education institutions have themselves transformed their methodology to meet the change in workplace expectations.
"Today's students have grown up in a world where everything and everyone is connected. They have the ability to seek information on their own and are less dependent on teachers. They are now connectors, creators and constructionists who are used to working and interacting as a team," said Taylor's Education Group Chief Learning Officer, Dr Daniel Tan. "This has an impact as education is no longer just about content, but the way students are taught."
"Industry 4.0 is based on the use of cyber-physical systems. Today's workplace emphasises on how people relate, work and coordinate with others. Employers are looking at cognitive ability and flexibility as much as knowledge and skills," said Tan.
A cautionary tale
The final speaker of the day, Sime Darby Bhd SVP, Head Group Innovation & Business Performance Management, Group Strategy & Innovation, Rafiza Ghazali provided a cautionary tale as she shared her organisation's experience in the push towards digital disruption.
The conglomerate had recently developed an application which bought together the different products and services the group offered across its property, automotive, healthcare and retail divisions. The idea was to prioritise what the group thought customers wanted, and to reach out to customers beyond the traditional modes of engagement.
"The results, however, was disappointing with little demand for the application," said Rafiza. "We found that customers still preferred the personalised service of receiving calls to persuade them of the benefits of our products and services. They also had privacy concerns and were being overwhelmed by the number of applications available in the market."
"What we learned from that experience was that going digital is not the answer to everything. Digital adoption cannot be forced. Customer needs still exceeds business needs," she added.
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