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Hoping Your Mobile App Will Bring Digital Transformation? Think Again

August 5, 2016 by Dinesh Sharma 43

Next-generation processes are spanning across multiple organizations internally and over the business network to boost efficiency.

While there is value in this capability, the most game-changing aspect is how these processes connect to devices and enhance the customer experience.

For a Live Business to succeed, every area must deliver coordinated responses to dynamic customer needs to develop long-term customer relationships. It isn’t enough to have a digital customer experience; rather a Live Business connects this digital experience throughout every facet of the company – from employees through partners to assets – to essentially deliver processes driven in the moment across the complete enterprise.

A Mobile App Alone Does Not Bring Digital Transformation 

Over the past few years, it’s been very common to see all sorts of organizations come out with mobile apps. Ranging from banking to utilities, there are a variety of new ways to interact with enterprises that offer distinctly different value propositions.

Recently, I was struck by a colleague’s story about an interaction with his cable TV service provider in the United States. He downloaded a newly released mobile app and submitted an order for a new service component. He was very impressed with the mobile application and considered it as a significant step up from the industry’s reputation for poor customer service.

After a week passed by, he called the company for support and seized this opportunity to check the status of his order. Much to my colleague’s chagrin, there appeared to be no record of the order in the order processing application. After he had gone through the process of ordering the service on the mobile app, the service rep exclaimed, “Aaah! Now I understand!”

What happened? The mobile app was not connected directly to the backend processing system that maintains all order histories. In fact, the entire process required a processing agent to print any orders from the mobile app and then manually key them into the backend system.

It’s pretty obvious to see what’s wrong with this picture. This is “digital washing” at its worst. The company projected an image of being on top of the digital transformation trend by giving its customers perceived access to order entry through their mobile device. However, this was, in fact, just a façade.

Unfortunately, digital washing is all too common. Some companies feel that a mobile app provides a doorway to this era of hyperconnectivity. It’s definitely a start, but that’s all it is – a start. Without connecting to every facet of your company, you are selling yourself short – and you will ultimately lose the confidence of your customers.

Putting It All Together

Despite its reputation for valuing stability over risk, banks can use digital technology to run simpler and faster, use live data and predictive analytics, and partner with business networks to offer frictionless customer solutions on any device, all while reducing cycle times. With this approach, banks are positioned to become an integral part of their customers’ daily lives.

Imagine parking your hybrid car in a parking garage in a space equipped with a fast charger. When you are finished running errands, you unplug your vehicle, and the display on the charging station shows the amount of electric power you used and the total charge. As you leave your parking space, the payment is automatically processed through the prepaid e-wallet incorporated into your car’s in-dash electronics system.

As you leave the garage, the ramp display shows the parking fee. Thanks to the near-field communication transmission between your car’s electronics and the garage, the charge also displays on your in-dash screen. You approve the purchase, which is charged against your e-wallet, and you drive home.

When you login to your bank account, your current car electricity use, the corresponding charge, and a parking fee are automatically assigned to the appropriate category and displayed in your personal finance management tab, which analyzes your current period against your historical spending. This is plotted against your monthly budget to improve tracking. You also have an option to review how your detailed car expenditures compare to those of similar customers.

Since your bank also offers car insurance, you decided to share your connected car data with your bank when you were approved for a car loan. Your bank monitors your driving habits, use, average speed, and other relevant telematics data. Based on your driving habits, the bank automatically adjusts your premium downward and notifies you of the adjustment when you login to your online bank account.

Your bank also knows that your regular 36,000-mile service is due next month. Given that your bank participates in a business network that connects small firms and consumers, the bank presents you with a list of approved and highest-rated car mechanics that are close to your location and gives you an option to schedule an appointment. Based on live, predictive analytics, your bank also knows that you will need a loan to finance the service and offers you a short-term, low-interest loan to cover the expense.

The advantages of this scenario are significant: Companies will see an increase in fundamental competitive factors including higher return on assets; increased customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty; improved net promoter scores; and new revenue streams.

For more on the digital economy and its impact, check out the research paper “Live Business: The Digitization of Everything” on the Digitalist Magazine online. 

Dinesh Sharma is the Vice President of Digital Economy at SAP

This story originally appeared on The Digitalist Magazine as part of the 10 Weeks of Live Business series.

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