Firms must embrace new digital tools

21 February 2013

NEW YORK: Business leaders need to understand and embrace the opportunities offered by the convergence of social media, mobile computing, analytics and the cloud, a study has claimed.

The Accenture Technology Vision 2013 report argued that as technology is now such a vital aspect of companies' operations, every business is a digital business, and senior leaders have to be able to drive value from the new tools that affect their firm.

"Organisations and their leaders need to hit the reset button on how they use technology to drive market differentiation, deepen customer relationships, and deliver growth and profitability," said Paul Daugherty, Accenture's chief technology officer.

The technology is there already, he added, but "a new digital mindset is required to harness the potential".

The recommendations contained in the report include leveraging technology to create digital relationships at scale. Mobile communications channels, social media and context-based services also mean companies (and brands) can communicate directly with consumers and customise experiences for every interaction, regardless of the channel.

Other steps involve collecting the right data – with a strategy that sees this information as a supply chain rather than a warehouse – and utilising it more quickly to generate insights and subsequent actions.

An example cited was that of the Ford Motor Company which, understanding that drivers of its hybrid vehicles preferred to use electricity rather than petrol, developed an algorithm seeking to achieve just this goal, and thus increase customer satisfaction.

It used vehicles' inbuilt GPS to make deductions about when drivers were close to home, and so likely to be within range of a battery charge, to ensure their cars continued to run on electricity instead of switching to gasoline.

"To succeed,", said Daughterty, "organisations must leverage IT innovations to derive insights that enable them to optimise their enterprise, take advantage of emerging opportunities, strengthen customer loyalty, and deliver better business outcomes."

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff