Manufacturing Firms Could Do Better With A Focus On Customer Experience

Ashutosh Sharma

Companies are turning to digital to do one of the three things: improve customer experience (CX) using digital technologies; improve their operational efficiency to better serve customers; and launch new business models.

The manufacturing and industrial sectors are undergoing a similar transformation. In my recent discussions with leaders in this market, Industry 4.0 and smart factory dominate the conversations, but the discussions quickly shift to the Internet of things (IoT). While the industrial internet is the most significant manifestation of the digital revolution in these sectors, we are also coming across a broader range of digital initiatives from manufacturing firms.

Tech vendors and systems integrators working with manufacturing firms have identified two types of engagements emerging. Infosys’ Global Head of the Manufacturing Vertical, Nitesh Bansal opined that one set of firms are taking charge of sensors and monitors that they own and leveraging the data assets to improve predictive maintenance, asset efficiency and improve track and trace. Outcomes from these digital operational excellence (DOX) initiatives include:

  • Collecting data and analyzing it for better predictive maintenance
  • Empowering technicians to do their job better by providing actionable directions at the point of maintenance
  • Using augmented reality to help with quick diagnosis and fix
  • Increasing the asset throughput while increasing safety using automated self-driven vehicles
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Nokia “Connects” Network Services To Customer Experience

Dan Bieler

Nokia’s services division recently hosted an analyst event where it elaborated on the interlinkage between network services and network infrastructure. Of course, network services matter to businesses and telcos because they help technology managers to better manage infrastructure complexity and to modernize network infrastructure with the goal of making networks faster and more reliable. However, there are more fundamental implications:

  • Network services add value to products and open new business areas. Customers want features and services that are relevant to them in the immediate context of their needs and desires. As more products become connected, network services will play a critical role in developing and enhancing such features. Moreover, network services play a central role in driving augmented and virtual-reality solutions in outdoor conditions, such as those already used in manufacturing by Caterpillar or in construction by BAM Group.
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The No. 1 Barrier To Effective Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

In a recent post, I wrote about how digital experiences shape customer perceptions of value. But it's easy to forget that your organization's culture also shapes your customer's perception of value.

Earlier this week, I was moderating a panel on digital transformation at a Software AG event in New York. In opening the event, Kevin Niblock, Software AG's North America President and COO, described digital business as "a cultural phenomenon." Organizational culture plays an enormous role in the ability of a company's employees to transform a traditional business into a digital business.

If you're not the CEO, you might be forgiven for thinking that you have little control over your corporate culture. But we all have the opportunity to shape our organization's culture. And while nurturing the company culture is arguably one of the most important jobs of the CEO, it is also a critical capability for any leader.

Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Lou Gerstner, reminds us of this in an excellent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article: "The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation". Gerstner writes: "What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities."

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Vertical clouds - less useful than you're meant to believe, but still useful

Paul Miller

How often have you been told you can't use a mainstream public cloud provider? Quite often, probably, especially if you happen to work in a regulated industry like banking or healthcare. And what justifications are you given? The regulator "won't let you," no doubt? That's a good one. And "it's not secure" is often pretty close behind. Either that, or the argument that generic public cloud infrastructure can't possibly meet your very special, very unique, very carefully crafted mix of requirements?

Sadly, despite the frequency with which they're trotted out, these attempts at justification stand a pretty good chance of being either hearsay, or just complete nonsense.

It's easy not to change, and to justify your inertia with reference to the scary, punitive, hopelessly luddite regulator.  It's easy to continue lovingly polishing the hideously complex snowflake your internal computing environment has become. It's far harder to look at the truth behind the hearsay, and to work out when doing something different might — or might not — be the better approach for your business, and its effort to win, serve, and retain customers.

My latest report, Bespoke Vertical Clouds Become Less Important As Public Clouds Do More, takes a look at some of the rationale for using vertical cloud solutions in these situations. Often — but definitely not always — you may discover that a generic public cloud provider will do the job just as well. Or maybe even better.

Bosch And SAP Agree A Strategic Internet Of Things (IoT) Partnership To Facilitate Data Orchestration

Dan Bieler

I recently attended an event at which Bosch and SAP announced a major partnership to more closely align their respective cloud and software expertise around the industrial internet of things. This partnership underlines the fact that SAP and Bosch are prepared to significantly transform their respective business models to generate new value for their customers. The SAP and Bosch partnership focuses on two main items:

  • SAP will add SAP Hana database to Bosch IoT Cloud. Bosch customers will be able to access SAP Hana in the Bosch IoT Cloud with the goal of processing large quantities of data in near-real time. This makes it easier for Bosch’s customers to run analytics of IoT sensor data in the SAP Hana environment.
  • Bosch will make its IoT microservices available to SAP on SAP Hana Cloud Platform. This move will facilitate the safe connection of different devices and components, including vehicles, manufacturing machinery, and smart tools, with open platforms. Customers will benefit from a broad range of emerging services to support their business processes.
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Consultancies are adapting to the digital world

Marc Cecere

The age of the customer is characterized by customer empowerment, digital technology, and new business models. These factors are changing who buys consulting, what they're expecting, how consultants execute on these projects, and how clients pay for them. As a result, firms including Deloitte, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cognizant and others are changing delivery, hiring and contracting models to:

  • Enable reusable assets and software solutions to comprise the bulk of consulting projects. As clients in an increasingly fast world move away from multi year projects, they expect consultants to do the same. Prefab consulting allows consultants to come in with the majority of the work done and focus their problem solving on the issues that are the most unique to that client. This creates a partially “out of the box” solution that eliminates repetitive work from client to client and reduces lead time considerably.
  • Gradually replace technical generalists with specialists. As prefab consulting takes over the work which generalist MBA grads have done in the past, consultants will look to specialists to solve the complex and unique problems that remain after the reusable assets finish the front end work.
  • Provide near immediate access through On demand consulting. In a connected world where we are used to have everything at our fingertips, consultants are expected to be there in our moment of need as well. Consultancies will need to find the experts, make them available, provide context for the questions and connect them with the client- all at the touch of a button.
  • Change the client vs consultancy mindset through co-creation and risk based contracts. Traditional contracts create conflicting goals between the client and consultants. Value-based contracts create greater collaboration as both parties will be striving towards the same metrics.
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Update Your Balanced Scorecard With Business Outcome And Agility Metrics

Martha Bennett

We’ve entered the age of the customer, where powerful customers are disrupting every industry.  In response, companies will have to change how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services directly to their customers and through their partners. CIOs and their teams are crucial to these strategic responses and will have to track transformation and performance with new metrics to go beyond their traditional IT approach to include the business technology (BT) strategy — technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.

Existing approaches to Balanced Scorecards deliver limited value in this new environment. This is why Forrester has created an updated Tech Management Balanced Scorecard (based on the original framework proposed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton) in which we recommend an approach that addresses four components: business outcomes, agility, health, and service (see Figure).

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How To Unlock Tech Industry Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

It's no surprise that tech companies are vested in the digital transformation of their customers. But many tech companies find it difficult to leave their product-centric models behind and focus on customer outcomes. That's just one of the findings from the research published on digital transformation in the tech sector.

True customer obsession demands an outside-in perspective. Tech companies must learn to see their business from the perspective of their customers; beginning with customer desires and working back to the new digital capabilities that can enable the outcomes that satisfy those desires.

But a common problem for tech companies is their business structure. Built around successful products, the P&L structure in most tech companies reflects internal strength — business capabilities if you like — the structure optimizes the ability to bring specific products and product features to market. But from the outside looking in, the product structure can seem at odds with what the customer wants. I can't count how many times the same company has treated me like a new customer, even though I already own one of the products made by the brand — my guess is you've had a similar experience.

Of course this isn't a problem unique to the tech industry. But the tech industry sits at the heart of the digital transformation of many businesses — helping their customers take advantage of their technology to transform their businesses. So you might be forgiven for expecting the tech industry to have figured out it's own transformation already. Not so much.

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BMC Wants A Greater Share Of The Digital Economy

Nigel Fenwick

Last week I attended BMC's Engage event, an analyst forum in Vegas, as a guest of BMC. Like every other technology vendor, BMC would like a greater share of the emerging digital economy.

With more and more businesses moving to the public cloud, I have no doubt in my mind that the on-prem data center market will diminish quickly over the coming years. I also expect mainframes to go the way of the dodo within 10 years, but many others have previously predicted the demise of mainframes and time has proven them wrong, so I accept I may also be premature.

BMC, a bastion of IT operations, now wants to help IT leaders become drivers of digital business. Indeed, BMC has positioned many of the current raft of product offerings to help tech leaders deliver a more efficient and agile tech capability for the business. And this is important. One of the biggest challenges for many large technology teams is their lack of agility. In the age of the customer, tech teams need to tap into every opportunity (and automation capability) to drive greater agility and efficiency throughout their technology delivery capabilities.

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Forrester Continues To Lead CX Research In China And Shares The Vision With Chinese Practitioners

Travis Wu

Forrester conducted another successful conference last Friday, September 1, at our Customer Experience (CX) Marketing Shanghai 2016 Forum.With insightful content, influential industry speakers, and great event organization, we are grateful for the excellent feedback that we received from the delegates who were present.

A total of 190 CX and marketing professionals attended this event, joined by 23 Forresterites from all over the globe. As the event host, I was approached by many attendees during the networking breaks and at the end of the event who unanimously expressed their appreciation and their willingness to work with Forrester for their CX initiatives. CX, though in its early stage in the China market, is getting traction from senior leadership in many organizations, and Forrester is definitely at the forefront of CX research in challenging thinking and leading change.

Forrester analysts and our distinguished guest speakers shared their insights into the following topics with the audience:

  • Innovation. From the latest digital trends to design thinking, companies now have access to an arsenal of methodologies and tools to improve their CX and drive sustainable business growth with CX excellence.
  • Social. Social media is indeed an integral part of our lives, and CX and marketing pros ought to leverage it to take their CX to the next level. Speakers from Tencent, IHG, Decathlon, and Social Touch showcased their thought leadership in this area and demonstrated that social media can help up your game and generate tangible results.
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