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September 3, 2014

Master the Right Metrics to Ace Digital Commerce

In the pursuit to increase the sales, it is of utmost importance to not only keep track of the metrics but it to have the most appropriate metrics in place. The metrics should help you quantify the impact of the website on sales, conversions, consumer behavior and help you identify latent opportunities of improvement. Without the tracking of the relevant metrics you will never be able to ascertain the true impact of your efforts and will be missing on the crucial data which can help you optimize the whole customer experience!

Continue reading "Master the Right Metrics to Ace Digital Commerce" »

July 22, 2014

I need a car, so let's go buy a cell phone

Absurd! Any number of times you read it. How can 'I need a car, so let's go buy a cell phone' ever make sense? But times are changing with rapid technological advancements and so is our outlook towards life's accessories. And what better example of that, can one find other than one's car and cell phone. They are arguably the two largest social statements for folks around the world. In an earlier era, it was probably just the car that made a social statement. But today, the car that you drive and cell phone that you carry define who you are in today's digitally categorized society. But how are the two even related to each other? We typically use a cell phone to call our friends and to surf the internet whereas the car takes us from Point A to Point B. Let's see how the two will converge very soon.

In our fast paced lives, digital connectivity is playing an important role of not only creating a new economy but also redefining our perspective on traditional 'things'. A 'connected car' is much more than just a 'car' and a 'smart phone' is much more than a 'cell phone'. Technology companies like Apple and Google have realized the immense potential in the marriage of these two and is one of the prime reason you will find these two giants foraying into the car space with integrated solutions that will eventually change the way how you perceive a car. Many people do not realize this, but one spends more time looking at the 'insides' of a car than the external shapes & contours. Hence the car experience judgment is bound to be more skewed towards what one perceives as an experience sitting inside while driving rather than the external design beauty. Given not much has happened to enriching the internal experience (barring a few luxury brands), it was an opportunity to be tapped for Apple and Google - the masters at understanding what consumers want.

Apple has CarPlay and Google has launched Android Auto. Essentially, these technology companies are bringing in a new experience center for drivers. Once you plug an Apple or Android phone into the car, the display unit on the car dashboard gives you an Apple or Android experience. The display unit of the car turns into a feature rich extension of the phone and the experience turns from an unattractive car display head unit into a sleek and contemporary smart phone display. Extending the smart phone experience to the car dashboard is the digital change that Apple and Google are bringing in and it will cause disruption in the sales and marketing strategies of prospective car buyers. Of course, this is going to be available on select brands and models only but this is just the beginning where your smart phone has started taking over your car through a simple integration at the display unit layer. However, what it also means is that the compatibility of your car and your smart phone is soon going to define the experience that you intend to have in your car. It makes life simpler with a single consistent digital experience across multiple personal assets. Which brings us back to the title of this blog.

You now know why that smartphone became so relevant to your car purchase decision. How exciting can that be?

 

July 4, 2014

Silver bullet for eCommerce

One of the biggest challenges facing the eCommerce for years now has been the cart abandonment by customers without completing a transaction.  Mostly the stores have been guilty of shoddy practices, usual suspects being- tedious checkout processes, late introduction of shipping charges in the process etc. Also what contributes to the abandonment is the unpreparedness of the buyer to commit to the purchase and a tendency to comparison shop for the best bargains. Therefore the most pertinent question facing the eCommerce personnel is how to avoid these high abandonment rates and make the process conducive to a smooth checkout leading to the recovery of the lost sales, let us have a look at this specifically.

Continue reading "Silver bullet for eCommerce" »

June 20, 2014

Game of Conversions: 10 Quick Wins to Spruce up your B2B eCommerce Offering!

 

In my previous post we talked about the latest trends in the B2B eCommerce space. Let us now quickly have a look at the Ten quick remedies to boost your existing ecommerce offerings and boost your conversions. These are a few Quick wins which we have shortlisted from our vast experience.

Continue reading "Game of Conversions: 10 Quick Wins to Spruce up your B2B eCommerce Offering!" »

June 18, 2014

The future of enterprise applications transformed with Cloud and mobility


With the proliferation of 'Digital', industries worldwide have seen a paradigm shift in the technological space. The growing need to stay connected on social and business networks on the go have led to the rise of the Internet of Things coupled with cloud, mobility and big data solutions. With smart mobile devices and virtual apps, powered by cloud solutions, taking the hot seat in enterprises, it has become imperative for manufacturers to tap the collaborative capabilities of these devices to improve business processes and to enable seamless integration between the resultant cloud ecosystem and the enterprise. IT would need to manage virtual applications that will now be accessible by mobile devices. BYOD could mean increased dependence of employees on a single device where personal and work related data will need to be accessed at the same time. This transformation of the enterprise mobility infrastructure is seen as a good monetization solution by CIOs. With BYOD getting to be the next norm, there seems to be a growing demand for business apps targeted at employees as compared to yesteryear's consumer apps. This will require the intervention and support of the enterprise, while keeping a keen eye on adherence to security stipulations.  

This year's Sapphire focused on modernized industries that are powered digitally to reap the true benefits of collaboration. The keynote session by SAP CEO Bill McDermott served as a pronounced launchpad for the new version of SAP Fiori into the market. This will provide SAP users with an outstanding user experience at no additional license costs. What's most interesting is its simple and cost-effective sales order mobile app suite that sales executives can leverage for easy access to their accounts and prospects on the move. 


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It's all in the cloud

Unnerving focus on supply chain optimization, distribution, real-time data for analytics and forecasts, have led manufacturers to shift their applications to cloud based infrastructure solutions. The manufacturing industry, in response to addressing this pronounced consumer need, has carved steep inroads towards collaboration and creation of connected networks by leveraging the power of the cloud and the advancements in mobility solutions. While keeping the organization on the same page with respect to updates and collaborative efforts, the cloud aids in the efficient streamlining of processes, improving agility and enables better response times. Since these apps can be accessed from mobile devices on the move, it has triggered a renewed demand for data security solutions, to check for information vulnerabilities, and supply chain risk management solutions.

 

Mobility and telematics for M2M Communication

The automotive industry, in recognition to the growing need for consumer connectivity and access to insights derived from the huge volumes of data generated, has been developing cutting edge connected car technologies to stay at the forefront of innovation. Telematics have opened exciting prospects for car manufacturers and seems to be very promising in terms of innovative solutions that aid driver awareness, access to a lot more information on the move with minimal intervention and highly reliable safety features. Mobile apps, that help control access and fasten security, are being developed to communicate with smart dashboards. These help add convenience to the whole driving experience and promises the future of a fuel efficient, safer and intelligent drive. The data generated from the continuous usage of these apps is further analyzed and utilized by the car manufacturer to crowd source ideas that can help them embed newer features and technologies into the automobile.  

The Internet of Things will be adding scores of devices to an interconnected cloud which will need to be constantly updated with real-time information. Next generation technologies, such as big data, mobility, and cloud will be paramount for enterprises that are vying to go digital. Machine to machine communication will enable predictive analytics leading to smarter maintenance of assets. By integrating mobility with M2MC, we will see a sea of technological developments in the years to come.

 

Digitization: What lies ahead?

The future of digitization lies in the hands of a decentralized decision maker community that would want the business and technological factors of consideration to be amalgamated for strategic reasoning that leads to IT transformation.

But with the increasing complexity in requirements and in order to keep in sync with the changing technology landscape, organizations would collaborate extensively with a wide range of partners, both inside and outside their industries. They will need to invest in resources and partnerships that will take them ahead of their competition.



April 24, 2014

Servitization and its impact on Business Models and Enterprise packages

 

Was going through some interesting articles on "Servitization", a captivating concept I must say. So what is servitization? Manufacturing industries have been selling products - components or end items as their main offering along with supplementary services such as After Sales...etc.  Servitization refers to these organizations packaging their offerings of which services form an integral portion. The main focus is on service required by the consumer rather than the product itself. Let's take an example of a business customer requiring a Coolant to be delivered at specific pressure and temperature within their premise,  Servitization here will bring forth the focus of the Manufacturer to provide the exact services required rather than selling coolants, pressure and temperature gauges.

Continue reading "Servitization and its impact on Business Models and Enterprise packages" »

March 16, 2014

Better analytics could help improve economics of customer order fulfillment

This year, the US witnessed one of the longest and harshest winters in recent history. This has caused worrisome implications on the supply chain economics of the Consumer Electronic Industry since many customers resorted to shopping for products from the warmth of their homes. Manufacturers who were focused on omni-channel sales lost out on margins due to the increase in fulfilment costs, sometimes as high as 7-10% of sales.

This has unlocked a huge opportunity to use ongoing analytics to streamline fulfillment economics.


In general, there are 3 ways in which customers can chose to purchase their electronic gadgets

  • 1.     Direct purchase by walking into company owned or reseller stores
  • 2.     Ordering (or reserving) online and picking up their wares from a store of their choice
  • 3.     Ordering online and opting for home delivery

Creation of the right fulfillment incentive for each channel is paramount since costs, consumer experience and opportunity tradeoff for companies depend on the channel choice made by the consumer.

 

For instance, today we see the extensive use of online channels to sell long tail products. Whereas, smaller products are sold through stores due to lesser storage costs. Although online configuration and cross-sales sophistication is improving, products with higher sales complexity would require the customer to visit the store sometime during the sales cycle.

 

So why should companies look for the right analytic tools?

 

Fulfilment costs, based on parameters like real-estate, shipment, retail floor traffic, SLA compliance rates of third party logistics providers, are prone to fluctuation throughout the year somewhat predictably during the holiday season, but unpredictably during unforeseen weather conditions. This is what happened this winter, when the tradeoffs between the various parameters changed. The affected companies were still latched onto static and simplistic approaches for pricing online fulfillment of products. This is where 'right analytics' comes into play in order to optimize consumer incentives and improve profitability.

 

The prize for such analytics extends beyond immediate fulfillment cost reduction. This will help plan fulfilment more efficiently and lead to better negotiations with third party logistics providers. It will also help drive improved cross sales leading to enhanced customer lifetime value.  

March 1, 2014

BYOD, Mobility and Beyond...

Three decades ago, even if you were lucky enough to own a mobile phone (Dynatac - also known as "the Brick"), first developed by Motorola, you would need to hold it in your hands all the time owing to its sheer size and price. A mobile phone way back in 1984 which would weigh a whopping 900 grams and make your pockets lighter by $4000, performed only one function - making calls. A nostalgic ride back to the past to look at how cellphones evolved from Monolithic brick sized instruments to their Swipe-Savvy progenies should be a topic for discussion for some other day. This high technology ubiquitous device and its capabilities to serve the current generation and the ones to come enthrall me.
As a teenager, I was always fascinated to see Corporate Business Class flyers at airports, glued to their laptops screens working on intricate charts and graphs. Back then, I was neither aware that such applications are needed to run a business, nor was virtualization a part of my vocabulary. Now, with my association with the INFOR practice at Infosys, I am acquainted with the immense capabilities of Virtualization and Mobility (access to enterprise applications on the go over a mobile phone). INFOR Motion is a platform for deploying, managing and securing enterprise applications on a mobile device with the help of Cloud. One can monitor business, accomplish tasks and keep things moving using a mobile device of one's choice with the help of INFOR Motion. Mobility may become bread and butter in future for System Integrators like us because of the following facts:
•         According to a recent Gartner study, enterprises across the globe will spend $13 billion by this year end on application development software, which is a 2.5% increase from last year.
•         By 2015, projects that enable mobility would make up 80% share of all development activities.
•         There has been a rapid increase in the mobile workforce, as the end users aspire for a seamless, assimilated work experience which would help them be as productive on the go, as they are on their desktops or laptops.

Continue reading "BYOD, Mobility and Beyond..." »

January 28, 2014

B2B Ecommerce Circa 2014- Demystifying the Hottest Trends PART 2

In the first part of this post we went through some of the most in-demand features, let us continue from there and discuss some more.

The users are demanding a better experience and it is heartening to see that Businesses and eCommerce tools are responding with all these features for the B2B space as well. Let us have a look at some of these trends in detail here.

Continue reading "B2B Ecommerce Circa 2014- Demystifying the Hottest Trends PART 2" »

January 2, 2014

Technology Trends of 2014 and How They Apply to the Manufacturing Industry

It is the start of a new year and we are seeing a lot of predictions being made on trends for 2014 - be it technologies, industries, business functions, business models, enterprises or consumers. Being focused on the Manufacturing industry for a few years now, here is my take on how some of the top technology trends apply to this industry, how they will be leveraged over this year and the kind of changes we may see them bring about.

Continue reading "Technology Trends of 2014 and How They Apply to the Manufacturing Industry" »

B2B Ecommerce Circa 2014- Demystifying the Hottest Trends PART 1

In one of my earlier Blog posts (E-Commerce in B2B Arena: The wheels are moving albeit slow) we talked about the latest Ecommerce trends and B2B ecommerce. A lot has happened since then, let us have a look at some of the developments!

Here are a few interesting facts involving B2B eCommerce which are getting the Manufacturers all excited and charged up:

1) Sheer size of B2B eCommerce: B2B eCommerce market in the US alone is roughly double the size of the US B2C eCommerce market. 

2) Rising Mobility: Mobile traffic is gaining traction and will be almost one- fourth of the overall business Internet traffic in a few years.

3) Profitable Online customers: It is becoming more and more profitable to migrate offline customers online fuelling a better and fatter net spend.

4) Reducing support Costs: It is much more cost effective to support the consumers who have moved online providing better savings on support activities.

5) Greater penetration: B2B companies can also service small accounts online effectively which could have been a cost burden in the offline scenario, thus profitably adding new customers.


All these facts are encouraging more and more Manufacturers to take up B2B eCommerce initiatives.

Continue reading "B2B Ecommerce Circa 2014- Demystifying the Hottest Trends PART 1" »

December 13, 2013

Unravelling Social Commerce Age: The Dawn of the Social Consumer

Here a few interesting observations, check them out:

Globally, almost half of those with online access use social media to enable purchase decisions 

Almost one third of the consumers do tend to act on a promotional message on a company's social media pages

More than half of the US online consumers use YouTube and other social media channels to browse and research an organization

Facebook influences the way people made purchase decisions based on their exposure to ads and comments


Still think social consumer can be ignored? Companies who are investing in creating better social experiences for their customers are going to reap rich dividends in the long run as more and more customers are on social websites and conversations are happening in real time about the experiences (good/bad) they went through during purchase or post purchase process. Business cannot control the conversations but can manage it much more effectively by proactive participation!

 

Social commerce has brought with itself a new breed of user who likes to talk about the products she purchased, liked or disliked. Today's user is very passionate in supporting the brands she love and at the same time does not leave any stone unturned to trash the brand where the experience has not been satisfactory. This presents an unusual opportunity for the business to tap into these 'Brand advocates' but at the same time it is a big risk and a perennial threat to brands if they goof up.

Continue reading "Unravelling Social Commerce Age: The Dawn of the Social Consumer" »

August 19, 2013

Obscured Veracity of Content Migration

 

In today's organization, it has become inevitable to adopt one or other Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools to manage the wide variety of content thriving in the organization. As an ECM tool has to carter the content of the whole Organization, its importance and impact on an organization's accomplishment of its goals, can be very well understood. Having said that, I think you would agree that it does deserve an intense pondering on the various factors concerned, when it comes to adopting one. There are many factors that have been identified and need to be taken into consideration, and among them an important one is the Migration.

Continue reading "Obscured Veracity of Content Migration" »

July 23, 2013

A Million Dollar Question

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) in today's world has shaped up into a vast technology domain, which many market players are targeting from different domain and yes, with different platforms too. With these many product offerings in both content and process management, the customer is confused as they all look very "similar". But that's a bird's eye view. Imagine a matrix of challenges posed by domains and the technical offerings provided by these products, you'll see they all have a reason to co-exist.

So that million dollar question is "What and Why" should be procured and implemented by a customer so the end system helps the organization.

Continue reading "A Million Dollar Question " »

July 12, 2013

Honey, they "shrunk" the hardware, and have put that in a "connected box"

I recently bought one of those miniature personal fitness monitors (wearable device) and it inspired me to write this blog (the original purpose has still not been served i.e. no impact yet on fitness). The title captures three key trends that are happening in the hi-tech industry - miniaturization, commoditization and connectedness that is having a cross industry impact. These three trends are having a significant impact on consumer expectations, behavior and experience as well. 

Continue reading "Honey, they "shrunk" the hardware, and have put that in a "connected box"" »

March 7, 2013

Commiserating the Traditional Marketing

The social media has such an influence today that every brand is in a mad rush to make their presence felt on the social scene. It all started with people lukewarmly opening up to the social media as a marketing medium & then suddenly it garnered so much hype that everyone started measuring clicks, likes, shares and what not!

Slowly but surely, the market has matured and marketers are starting to realize that Social networks cannot magically transform their brand but at the same time it is a very effective medium by which they can create a brand presence which will be very effective in the long run.

Continue reading "Commiserating the Traditional Marketing" »

December 31, 2012

Business precedence in IT programs

There is always an underlying power struggle going on in IT implementations between Business and  IT teams, but does that have to be the case every time? Mostly the business teams lost earlier, but now there has been a paradigm shift- organizations & System Integrators (SI) have started to acknowledge the importance of the business opinion in IT programs, as they are the ones who are going to use it in the end after all!

Continue reading "Business precedence in IT programs" »

November 2, 2012

E-Commerce in B2B Arena: The wheels are moving albeit slow

Most of us are familiar with B2C e-commerce sites such as Amazon, FlipKart, Dell etc. and have been using them for quite some time now. Thanks to such sites, people have become much more comfortable with the E-commerce platforms. Businesses are also not far behind and are demanding a better experience from their B2B e-commerce portals.

Of late we have seen a trend of e-commerce generating a lot of traction in the B2B arena where businesses are looking forward to create a user friendly commerce environment replete with the features a B2C site could boast of such as Social & Mobile commerce, Personalization, Multiple payment options, RIA etc. Today, B2B e-commerce spending represents more than 85% of total B2X e-commerce spending worldwide (IDC). Let us explore the possibilities.

Continue reading "E-Commerce in B2B Arena: The wheels are moving albeit slow" »

October 10, 2012

The Search Engine Psyche Part 2- How Enterprise Search helps you improve Customer Experience

In the first part of this post we talked about the internal stakeholders & search related issues faced by them and how enterprise search can be beneficial to the employees of an organization leading to huge efficiency gains.

Let us now have a look at the other perspective i.e. how enterprise search can help improve the sites facing External audience and the benefits derived out of it. Enterprise search plays a pivotal role in propelling some of the world's largest portals and eCommerce sites.

Continue reading "The Search Engine Psyche Part 2- How Enterprise Search helps you improve Customer Experience" »

October 8, 2012

Portal or the non-Portal way?

Guest Post by

Devendra Singh, Senior Project Manager, MFG ADT - Digital Transformation, Infosys

 

The core of a Portal is to integrate content, people and processes from various sources within the organization, in a seamless and efficient manner and server as a single point of access to the key information. Generally these can be classified as B2E, B2B, and B2C depending upon the stakeholders accessing the portals - customers, employees, suppliers, dealers etc.  Based on the stakeholders, Portal is also classified as Intranet, Extranet or Web.

 

Many pre-packaged Portal frameworks are available from various leading software vendors like IBM Websphere Portal, Oracle Webcenter etc. Open source Portal frameworks are also available such as Liferay.  These frameworks provide basic building blocks to build a Portal for the Enterprise. There is always a valid thought, which comes when the Portal requirements get defined? - Why can't we write a custom built web application instead of going for a Portal framework or tool?

Continue reading "Portal or the non-Portal way?" »

September 11, 2012

The Big C in the Big D

 

Guest Post by

Timothy Sutherland, Senior Technology Architect, MFGADT Online, Infosys

There seems to be a lot of buzz surrounding the Big Data 'phenomenon' at present. While I suspect much of this is marketing hype and nearing the 'peak of inflated expectation' (driven perhaps by the same marketing folks that played a leading role in the dot.com boom crash at the turn of the millennia), clearly there is a genuine requirement to harness (or more specifically, exploit) the unfathomable volume of data that is being generated.

For me, Big Data is probably the convergence of mobile, cloud and social computing (Web 2.0), or perhaps more generally, an evolution of pervasive computing (but by no means a revolution). It was probably inevitable that this would become a hot topic, but that's easy said in hindsight.

Continue reading "The Big C in the Big D" »

September 3, 2012

The Search Engine Psyche Part 1

 

The Googles of the world have changed the way we searched for information forever. Today we can access vast oceans of knowledge with just one click. It changed the way we remember, categorize, search, and organize information. Today's generation want search functionality everywhere, right from their smartphones to the documents they are accessing are expected to have some basic search features. What happens when such employees enter organizations and are faced with an inefficient search which won't respond in the way which they have always taken for granted?

Continue reading "The Search Engine Psyche Part 1" »

July 27, 2012

Embrace Personalization: Time to sit up and take notice

Ever wondered why we keep frequenting the same local shop, why we go to the same retailer again and again or why we prefer one outlet over another? If you look closely there is not much difference in the offerings of one retailer from the other. They all have the same store layout, same assortments, even the same offers and discounts. Still we tend to have proclivity towards our favorite, why?

Continue reading "Embrace Personalization: Time to sit up and take notice" »

July 24, 2012

Product compliance - "SVHC" for the Manufacturing Industry Value chain!

 

As I walked out of the discussion on strategies to adopt for managing compliance, the regulatory influence of RoHS, REACH, WEEE in manufacturing industry still occupied my thoughts.  The discussion had clearly established how Product compliance had become a "Subject of Very High Concern" for the Value Chain. With increased awareness among the customers and stricter regulatory implementation, the Product compliance has indeed come on priority list of CXOs. The risks are real

·         Impact on the  Brand including  loss of customer confidence

·         Denial of access to markets

·         Increased Risk exposure of the portfolio of products

·         Cost that could turn manufacturer  unprofitable -  cost of delayed NPDI; Obsolescence costs due to discontinuation of non-compliant parts, supply chain redesign...and more

Well, now It is no longer just the 5 substances in RoHS, The regulatory introduction and evolution seems to be outpacing adoption in manufacturing industry with newer ones on horizon - RoHS2, Conflict minerals, EU Battery directives and expanding list of the SVHC (substances of Very High Concern) in REACH.

So what makes "Product compliance" in manufacturing industry difficult?

Host of factors indeed...

Continue reading "Product compliance - "SVHC" for the Manufacturing Industry Value chain!" »

July 12, 2012

The Game of Conversions

 

Game1.pngWe are well versed with the indoor games and of course the outdoor ones... Yeah to some extend the ones on TV and Video. But what is this new game that the bytes are playing on the net. Sorry not the online games, but the digital marketing tug of war happening online.

Continue reading "The Game of Conversions" »

July 2, 2012

Butterfly Effect: Analytics and Social media

Posted by Varun Chhibber, Associate Consultant, MFGCSI- Digital Transformation Practice, Infosys

Recent posts by Priya Thampi had me thinking about the fascinating world of Analytics. Social media explosion has given an altogether different twist to the saga and the organizations today have very powerful tools at their disposal to gauge the pulse of the consumers.

Analytics earlier was confined to the boundaries of structured data (tables, charts etc.) and then came Social media! It brought along with it an avalanche of unstructured data and since then organizations have been struggling to grapple with the new found realities and needs of the latest social media rampage.

Continue reading "Butterfly Effect: Analytics and Social media" »

June 21, 2012

The Challenge of Business Requirements vs. Business Processes

Guest Post By,

Michael Aston, Senior Technology Architect , MFG ADT Online, Infosys

Every so often I come across a project where the scope is to produce a like-for-like replacement of an existing system.  I'll tell you right now, these projects are doomed to failure.

These projects occur for a number of reasons.  Perhaps an existing product is no longer supported, or perhaps the business is trying to consolidate on to fewer technology platforms.  In some cases the drive it to reduce recurring costs, in others the lure of a new technology has been irresistible.  No matter the originating factor, they display the same barriers to success.

Firstly, in these projects the users aren't complaining about the existing system.  It's a familiar beast, warts and all, and they're in their comfort zone using it.  It's become the technology equivalent of your favourite armchair; maybe it's a bit scruffy and the cushions don't match, but woe betide anyone who suggests replacing it.

Secondly, the existing system will have been around for a while.  Given long enough, people will adapt to anything and the alternatives will no longer seem viable[1].  In the case of established software, business processes mould themselves to fit the tools available, accommodating their quirks and peculiarities.

Continue reading "The Challenge of Business Requirements vs. Business Processes" »

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