(Photo by James Cullum)
How can you improve your business with tech?
That was a question tackled in five parts by Kevin Niblock on Thursday morning. The Software AG President discussed unleashing a digital vision at his company’s Innovation Tour at the Marriott Marquis in D.C. on Thursday. The event continues Friday, as well. Overall, the event aims to provide insights on digital transformation, which is the process of introducing new technologies that introduce more efficiency to businesses and large organizations.
Niblock’s talk made clear that the technology applies both to internal operations, as well as customer-facing products. Here are the steps Niblock touched on during the talk:
1. Improve the customer experience.
Creating an exceptional customer experience is key to a company’s digital transformation, Niblock said, adding that many manufacturers and retailers that are traditionally behind the curve have been hiring web developers to create user-friendly apps for a customer base that has become more insular with the way they shop.
“The speed and convenience of how we’re getting used to interacting with technologies is changing dramatically, and I think companies are being compared to those users experiences,” he said. “I can never remember which shoe was what size, and why don’t I have the buying history on my app? Why do I not know all the jackets and shirts that I bought so I know when I’m buying a tie what will match? The expectations are getting higher and higher.”
2. The use of data
Many companies have failed to understand how to monetize their data, from historical to event enabled to real-time, Niblock said.
“I don’t know where you are on your data journey, but as the farther you get through it, I think you’ll realize that you need to think about your architecture differently,” he said. “You know, we have historical data… but now we need event enabled data from the systems, and then correlating with real-time data. We correlate all of those things, because all of that data gives context to what that app needs to do and say and build for that interaction.”
3. Merging the physical and digital worlds
Software.org predicts that 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Phones, watches and even toothbrushes are reaping the benefits of tech.
“They’re going to put sensors in mirrors and toothbrushes to analyze how well you are brushing your teeth,” Niblock said. “I think that’s just an example of how crazy things are in terms of putting devices in them. Now, the challenge is that you turn those devices on and you get streams of data coming at you and you’re going to have to figure out how to analyze it.”
4. Create a 21st century architecture
Doing business in the future means building a reliable infrastructure quickly while being forward thinking.
“What is your three year plan? What is the architecture you’re working toward?” Niblock asked. “Very few companies bring it all together and think about the transformational architecture they need to build the things that they really want to build in the future.”
5. The Chief Digital Officer
Should every company have a chief digital officer? Niblock said taking the role seriously is essential to a digital transformation.
“You know, there’s 19,000 CDOs on LinkedIn right now,” Niblock said. “A true CDO knows the business, where it needs to go and understand technology and how to use it strategically… People who have the vision of how to use technology differently to improve the business they run. That’s what we need more of.”