Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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March 24, 2016

Reimagining Customer centricity for enterprise digital journey

Todays' customer are technology savvy and with ever growing usage of digital technologies customers are looking for competitive service from their service providers. Customers are expecting service providers to deliver holistic picture across all service and empowerment to self-serve and analyze data. As per Gartner customer centricity as one of the top priority for CIOs. At a broad level, Customer centricity is to have customer at the center of your business. For example: Financial service providers should present a single view of the customer across Banking, Insurance and Retirement services for their transactions & interactions across all channels.

Todays' customer are technology savvy and with ever growing usage of digital technologies customers are looking for competitive service from their service providers. Customers are expecting service providers to deliver holistic picture across all service and empowerment to self-serve and analyze data. As per Gartner customer centricity as one of the top priority for CIOs. (Reference: http://www.1to1media.com/weblog/2015/08/the_rise_of_the_customer-centr.html)

At a broad level, Customer centricity is to have customer at the center of your business. For example: Financial service providers should present a single view of the customer across Banking, Insurance and Retirement services for their transactions & interactions across all channels. Below diagrams represents various foundation capabilities and enablers required in digital world for customer centricity.



More than ever before, IT and Business teams will shift the focus on strengthening following capabilities to get ready for customer centricity in digital world.


A. Customer 360, Single view of the customer

Achieving a single view of the customer requires a single source of truth for customer data.

Master Data Management (MDM)

  • MDM solutions are playing key role in managing golden copy of customer data across multiple lines of business and channels.
  • Newer technologies like NoSQL (Not Only SQL) are also explored for data consolidation across disparate core systems. It is easier to consolidate customer data spread across multiple systems with different schema using NoSQL features like dynamic schema and easy scaling. Example: Insurance leader used MongoDB to build customer data hub to support 360 degree view of customer.

Analytics and Data Visualization

  • Customer data is changing in social era. Todays' customer data is in unstructured format across Facebook, twitter, blogs and other social media. Traditional data warehouse which are used for structured data analysis are augmented by Big Data analytics options like Hadoop and other Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) technologies. These new technologies are preference for handling large volume unstructured data in a more cost effective way.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • Enterprises are heavily investing in modern customer relationship management (CRM) systems for building and retaining relationships with customers and to provide great customer service.


B. Omni Channel experience (Integrated multi-channel)

Consumers are using multiple channels to interact and transact. Consumers expect consistent, channel neutral experience across all channels. It is important to have single view of customer across all channels.            

Device Flexibility and Mobile capabilities

  • Consumer channel preference is changing rapidly. It is important to support device flexibility. Mobile is primary device choice for most the individuals. IT will have to adopt principles like Mobile First to provide core services over mobile to the consumer.

Social Engagement

  • Social media can be used as leading channel for engage with digital customers.  Social media can be used for wide variety of business operations i.e., from marketing to customer support.

 

C. Self-Service & Online support

  • Capabilities such as online self-servicing 24x7 portal, online chat to resolve issue online are core to online support. Ability to view transactions, bills, orders as self-service reports. Self-service reports not only adds to positive customer experience but also helps to increases business transparency which is highly valued by customer. For example: Insurers should strengthen self service capabilities in online policy update and online claim


 



March 11, 2016

Digital Transformation- What to Digital? How to Digital?

In my last Blog we talked about "WHY" part of digital transformation so as a next step in this blog we will talk about "WHAT and "HOW" part of digital transformation journey. We will see what the major pain points of customers are and how digital transformation will resolve these pain points?

Major Pain Points of Customers

  • How to deal with legacy systems in enterprises?
  • How to manage, ensure and maintain uniform digitally connected web platform?
  • How to simplify complex IT business processes?
  • How to provide unified customer/user experience (UX) across multiple channels (Agent, Web, Desktop and Mobile) products, devices and brands?
  • How to build and reuse s/w business components or digital assets across the enterprise?
  • How to engage all business stakeholders?
  • How to keep pace with rapid technological changes?
  • How to improve Insights driven business decisions?
  • How to digitize the workplace?
  • How to develop innovative solutions?

Digital Transformation: Logical Entities  

Let us see what all logical entities are involved in digital transformation. Below diagram talks about WHAT TO DIGITAL?


Digital_What_Diagram.png

















Digital Transformation: One Stop Solution, How and What to Transform?

Let us see how to implement digital transformation? Below are the major strategic approaches to digitally transform your business enterprises. It is purely based on my experience so it can't be 100% full proof, there could be other viewpoints. Let us follow the below implementation philosophy. These major digitization categories could be part of digital transformation implementation journey in any global business organizations.

Digitization of Customer and Customer Experience

Digitization of customer and unified rich customer experience is the major goal of digital transformation journey. Multi-channel consistent experience improves the customer retention rate for your business enterprise. Organizations need to re-define and re-vamp customer and agent portals and other integrated system and business processes using latest cutting edge digital technologies. Focus on smart devices, usability and accessibility aspect could be major keys for ongoing system refinements. Let us plan for following : 

  • Implement rich, optimal, high performance digitally connected customer experience based design (UXD) for customer facing applications, products and portals.
  • Implementation of Single Page Application (SPA) based on Responsive web design (RWD) standards  
  • Focus on mobility app driven approach for business critical application and portals good for wide range of smart devices, multi-channels and cross browsers.
  • Customer Delight should always be on top priority 

Digitization of Operational Process

Operational process digitization is another key area for digital transformation where organizations has to focus, redefine and revamp their internal and external operational processes like :

  • Effective unified digital broader communication across organizational units
  • Focus of employee first approach by enabling flexibility in work culture and environment
  • Intelligent decision making and performance evaluation based on logical data points with 100% transparency.
  • Formation of knowledge academy ( knowledge sharing communities) to implement  knowledge/Skill worker programs
  • Re-usability of tested and proven assets in IT simplification
  • Connect the dots to achieve high quality operational excellence

Digitization of Business Models

Business model digitization is a niche area for digital transformation where organizations has to re-structure and redesign their existing business models, below are the core refinement areas in this category

  • Design Innovative business solutions to grab customer attention
  • Design iterative road-map for new products and services
  • Focus on enterprise services integration via orchestration and augmentation
  • Evaluation and on-boarding of external and internal digital products for digitization
  • Customer centric business models based on 100% digital philosophy 

Digitization of Marketing a.k.a Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the best way to increase sales hence it plays vital role in digital transformation. Organizations simply cannot ignore its importance because of revenue involvement. Following can be considered to implement and enhance digital marketing platforms

  • Implementation of online sales platforms (portals, mobile apps, loyalty & reward program etc.)
  • Multi-channel marketing and branding of products (e-marketing, e-branding, e-commerce, m-commerce etc.)
  • Advertising platforms through social media, internet, mouth publicity, classifieds, reviews, banners and blogs etc.
  • Tracking of visitor statistics, notifications and maximum customer involvement to improve sales.   

Digitization of Social Collaboration and Integration

Social collaboration and integration is a to-go approach for digital transformation journey where organizations has to take it on top priority because it is directly related to your business growth. Below can be done to implement it

  • Implement/Enhance social collaborative digital platform for rapid business growth
  • Integrate top social media platforms in customer or agent facing portals and applications
  • Implement transparent feedback system for business processes and offerings
  • Mobile and other smart devices based business models should be exposed globally
  • Digital Collaborative Platform= Web + Mobile + Desktop+ Social
  • Focus on Bring your own device (BYOD) type of innovative ideas 

Digitization of Technology and Architecture

Organizations needs to focus on modernizing their legacy systems. New modern systems should be based on latest cutting edge digital technologies. Below are some guidelines for enterprises

  • Define new technology architecture and road-map for digitization.
  • Redesign old systems (products, services, portals, applications etc.)
  • Use front-end technologies primarily based HTML 5, JavaScript and CSS3
  • Use of open source API's, tools, frameworks, business products and solutions
  • Adopt latest BI tools, Big data and Cloud based platforms
  • Design focus on high performance smart devices (Mobile first driven solutions) 
  • Focus on data analytics and data mining  based intelligent solutions
  • Start using DevOps platforms for future reformation 
  • Plan for 100% Automation for any ongoing enhancement 

Digitization of Business Critical Data, Analytics and Virtualization

Organizations should also consider digitization of business data and its analytics. Below can be taken into account while implementing digital transformation.

  • Introduce secure cloud platform (private/public/hybrid cloud) with big data consideration
  • Adopt latest cutting edge tools and technologies for data analytics (e.g. Splunk, App-dynamics and Dynatrace etc.
  • Adopt latest Business Intelligence (BI) technologies for data warehousing, data mining, reporting and decision making

Digital Transformation: Implementation Workflow  

Business Enterprises can follow this typical workflow for their digital transformation.

Step: 1 (Identification)

Identify the core capabilities that provide competitive business advantage, it includes IT modernization and simplification capabilities. Let us build a core digital team with required skills to move ahead in this journey.

Step: 2 (Analysis)

Based on step#1, perform a regress round of feasibility analysis and based on that design a global digital operating model, it should connect the overall business enterprise ensuring end-to-end business processes. Let us get a gist of digital transformation journey.

Step: 3 (Design your road-map)

Based on step#2, develop a detailed high and low level transformation road-map and design outline business cases and multiple streams of development and enhancement work that needs to be considered for this journey. Let us see how our road-map will be implemented.

Step: 4 (Process your design)

Based on step#3 develop and share business plan along with detailed technical architecture and other functional and technical specifications that fits the designed operating model for this huge enterprise level digital transformation. Let us go ahead and get your hands dirty. Can we do it?

Step: 5 (Implement your design)

Based on step#4, start the implementation, build incrementally and iteratively with testing and end to end system automation capabilities. Customer centric focus is required for all innovative solutions. Let us see what did we implement? Verify the digital-ism of the solution. Wow we have done it. Yes we are digital now. Now stay digital !!

PSWatch out this space for more interesting feeds and regular updates on digital transformation journey. 

March 6, 2016

Framework for API Implementation

In my last blog we looked into the enterprise perspective for exposing API which included exposing of API for internal channel, Partner channel and lastly for product and service innovation. In this blog I have attempted to provide a framework for API implementation. However before I can introduce the framework it is important to set the context of digital and role of API. Today it is needless to say digital is in the forefront of banks' transformation strategy to stay relevant, as there are multiple forces that are working against banks which includes

  • Customer demand for more and more personalized and value added services
  • Customer demand for services on his / her choice of devices and proliferation of devices surely causing a big disruption for banks
  • Next generation Fintech companies coming between customer and banks
  • Regulatory needs
  • And increasing competition impacting profitability

 

Hence it is increasingly becoming important for banks to re-invent itself to focus on acquisition, retention and increasing its wallet share. In simple term, digital priorities for any bank is translating into

  • Great customer experience (know me, anticipate my needs, fulfill my immediate need and reward my loyalty)
  • Quick product and service innovation addressing market need
  • Increase banks reach for acquisition and servicing

To design an API implementation framework we can simply extend the above digital priorities and derive the key design consideration for APIs, which can be summarized as

  • API should enable decoupling of customer interaction / journey from product & service journeys
  • Customer journey facing API should focus on customer need keeping banks proposition intact
  • API should enable contextual connectivity to customer on its preferred mode / medium / location
  • API should consider exposing Product & Service capabilities ensuring encapsulation of banks internal processes
  • API should enable quick contextualizing of product and services for specific market and customer segments by supplementing with partner services & product
  • API should simplify exposing its product and services to partner, client and supplier ecosystem ensuring that APIs are focused on achieving certain end customer goal
  • Access to banks products & service resources should be provided in the context of a customer journey

 The picture below provides a simplified view of the framework

API Framework.png

The key layers of the framework are

  • Journey API - Contextualize business interaction in a form of resources and actions to achieve a certain business goal considering "Customer Context", "Customer Interaction Goal" and "Interaction Mode". The key aspects of these APIs are
    • Abstract layer that provides channel (web, mobile, B2B, ATM etc.) specific access to relevant resources
    • Multi Resource Model
    • Handles Journey specific requirements of security, routing and application service mash-up etc.
    • Journey API usually encompasses all the operations needed to complete a specific journey such as advice, transaction journeys. This allows independent scaling up of specific scenarios.
    • Customization of journey for specific customer needs are handled
  • Functional API - Focuses on standardizing access to business function encompassing business rules and data focusing on banks need addressing "regulatory requirement", "functional rules" and "data". The key aspect of these APIs are
    • Provides higher level business relevant capabilities - like Payment Initiation, Payment Approval etc.
    • Implements business logic and rules specific to banks regulatory needs
    • Functionally atomic relevant for respective LoBs, which can orchestrate between other entity services.
  • Customer Analytics API - The key element in any digital model which exposes customer insight internally and externally. This layer provides the customer context to the journey API layer to ensure that Journey API provide a contextual journey to client
  • Partner API - This provides access to partner product and services as set of business API contextualize for the bank. The Functional API utilizes the partner API to expose high level business capabilities as API
  • Product Platform API - This provides access to banks product and services for functional API layer to expose high level business capabilities
  • Entity API - This provide any specific data handling required for exposing functional API. The focus of this layer is to enable any specific handling required for API layer and should not result in data duplication
  • API Management Layer enables access to the Journey API ensuring
    • Strong access control, identity federation and social login functionality
    • API life cycle management
    • Manage API SLA
    • Community Engagement -  Give developers the resources they need to create applications that deliver real value

There are various approaches available to implement these type of API, however Microservice based approach seems to fit very well. Implementation approach is another big topic which I will discuss later.

March 5, 2016

You should take a bite of Micro Services & API Management

Almost all enterprises today face similar set of problems when it comes to Enterprise Integration or associated synonyms of Middleware, Enterprise Application Integration or connecting applications using Service Oriented Architecture or Enterprise Service Bus. An enterprise could also have Message-oriented-Middleware (MOM) as part of this construct. Enterprises adopted these SOA based frameworks, tools and technologies to decouple applications but the premise was still Application-to-Application Integration.

Today as Enterprises in their Digital Journeys want to embark on doing quick releases, create new apps and deploy, these same A2A services have caused bottlenecks due to the inherent complexity and comparatively slower organic growth of these services and applications in these digital times. Even the traditional horizontal or vertical scaling is not enough in this ‘scale-to-internet’ needs.

The question is How do we transform an Enterprise Integration from A2A to a Data Oriented Integration?

The fundamental cause of these bottlenecks can be associated to the services being non-business friendly and the gap between the required information flow and the existing one. And since the information flow was A2A and not based on the business fundamental unit - “data”, it created the current set of problems as experience by any Enterprise leader in forging a faster IT.

Technology Architecture of any time has its own problems, and so do solutions come up as well. Micro-services and APIs are today’s and near future solutions to any enterprise needs to transform apps and services.

Few recommendations for creating a new architecture for digital enterprises:

Adopt Micro-services and transform the way services and components are created. This is extremely useful if you are at turning point in creating a vision 2020 or creating an architecture for future enterprise. You need to think ‘Internet-Scale’ and not the traditional horizontal/vertical scaling. A nice article Microservices - A new paradigm gives some examples and perspectives.

Build Micro-services along with other new initiatives such as Data-Lakes based on Big-Data. Keep your commits seperate from queries. Basically follow CQRS or Command-Query-Responsibility-Seperation

API Management is one of the first toolkits and suites that needs to be adopted. Infosys API Economy Offerings. Take a look at the API Reference Model.

Renew Services through intelligently wrapping the core systems. Infosys Wrap & Renew Offerings

Adopt XAAS as described in the post.