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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February 12, 2016

Digital Transformation-Are you geared up?

Digital transformation is the smarter way to use technology to drastically improve performance or reach of global enterprises. It is a hot buzzword and talk of the companies operating across the globe. If we will look 5-6 years back, technology and digital innovation was a nice to have phenomena but today it is about lifestyle and becoming oxygen to your business success. "Digital transformation is not only about technology transformation but it is a phenomena where business strategy has been redefined and revamped with technological capabilities, exponential growth in revenue along with enhanced vision of 360 degree business growth aspect"

Mobility, social media, digital-analytics, cloud computing, big data, internet of things (IoT) and smart embedded devices are the top jargon's being used in industries and directly or indirectly part of digital transformation journey. In this digitally connected world customer interactions have radically changed, traditional user interface (UI) approach has been remarkably swapped with rich user experience (UX) with extensive usage of digital media artifacts ( e.g. audio, video, digital assets, smart apps,geo maps etc.) along with significant focus on usability aspect.

Mobility has also played vital role in the journey of digital transformation. Usage of smart devices is increasing day by day. As per a survey as of October 2014 64% of American adults own a smartphone, 32% of American adults own an e-reader and 42% of American adults own a tablet computer. In an interesting survey India will have 651 million smartphones, 18.7 million tablet devices by 2019. Same fascinating trends has also been observed by other countries. In another survey research firm eMarketer predicts the number of mobile phone users to surpass ~5 billion worldwide by 2017.

Looking at these latest eye catching market trends global enterprises from insurance, banking, retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy and other verticals can't simply ignore it instead they have to strongly step-up and get started on the digital transformation journey to provide digital capabilities to their customers to be in the game. End users would like to access almost all major business applications on smart devices with optimal user experience (UX). Big scale enterprises has already started their digital transformation journey while others didn't gear up for digital advancement. But as a matter of fact sooner or later everyone has to be part of this critical evolution to sustain their business growth. It has now become a matter of survival. Legacy or traditional websites and web applications along with customer or agent facing UI business process applications are also rapidly moving to responsive web design based cross platforms applications to support smart devices. Mobile apps for android, iOS and windows platforms are now major pillars for any IT transformation. A modernized, personalized, mobile-first interface has become a primary business requirement for customers.

Below are the key focus areas for digital transformation

Key Focus Area for DT.png

Responsive web design (RWD) and Rich internet application (RIAs) approach based single page applications (SPAs) are the latest buzzword and a de-facto standard for high fidelity web app development across global organizations. HTML5/CSS3 and JavaScript (ECMAScript language specification standard- ES6) has become a powerful UI/UX front-end technology stack for almost all UX implementation. Hybrid mobile applications are also taking higher precedence over native mobile applications. According to Gartner by 2016, more than 50 Percent of mobile apps deployed will be hybrid. Lower maintenance cost and quick time to market is the major factors for this native app to hybrid app shift paradigm, which can't be ignored.

Open source frameworks like Bootstrap, AngularJS, Foundation5, BackboneJS and NodeJS have gained maximum traction in last couple of years. Various javascript frameworks and responsive web design frameworks has remarkably evolved over the year and grabbed good position and attention for digital transformation as it provides operational excellence through digital customer experience.

Enterprises can follow below assessment road-map for their digital transformation strategy.

Assesment Roadmap for DT.png

February 6, 2016

Emergence of API Zone in Enterprise

For the first time ever on a black Friday more people shopped online with their mobile phone than in the store. There is tremendous amount of tail wind behind us around movement of cash to digital and the explosion of mobile devices providing the power of a branch in our hands. Thus retailers, merchants and banks are looking at digital to be closer to consumer.

Focus on Consumerization is becoming the driver behind the emergence of API zones in enterprise. Focusing on how to innovate consumer journeys across different touch points and form factors are the top priorities for enterprises.

After working for many years in Integration space, when I heard about hype around API for the first time, I immediately had a Déjà vu moment. However it took me some in depth analysis, discussion with my close friends who are in retail and banking business and some really intense customer workshop to demystify the API hype.

Last 3 years I have had multiple opportunities to work with some large Banks, Telecom Companies and Retailer on their digital strategy and increasingly I believe API strategy will become a key pillar for addressing organizations need around regulatory, diversification and business growth

Here are some of the perspectives around emergence of API zones in enterprises:

  • The simplest and most common use cases today are around channel transformation where organizations are developing set of APIs to support intuitive customer journeys across form factors and devices. The considerations for API zone are-
      • Intuitive customer journeys
      • Ability to change
      • Security - Network Edge security such as DDoS, XML/SQL/JS Injection, entitlement, Anti-virus etc
      • Monitoring - Throttling of API, API analytics etc.
  • Exposing catalog of services to partner, client and supplier ecosystem. These set of use case do have similarity with erstwhile B2B message exchange, however with an API approach the possibilities are much more. The considerations for API zone are-
      • Onboarding and Management of consumers
      • API SDK enabling client and partner ecosystem integration
      • Security - Network Edge security, Authentication & Authorization
      • Monitoring and Metering of APIs
  • Lastly and the most impactful use case is the ability for enterprise to combine its own core capabilities with partner and third party provider to provide a differentiated experience to its customer. This is where enterprises are focusing heavily to differentiate itself in this competitive environment. The considerations for API zone are-
      • Ability to compose API supporting interaction across customer life cycle (Find / Search, Asses, Evaluate, Select, Buy, Onboard, Service, Off board) for a product or service
      • Partner / Third party API management and metering
      • Open APIs

Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) succeeds the original PSD, which was implemented in 2009 and enabled the introduction of SEPA. PSD2 aims at broadening the scope of the regulation and is the first regulation which demands banks to provide (payments related) API's. And this is just the tip of the API Iceberg.

However the implications of APIs are going to be different for different business stakeholders and hence it is important to contextualize API strategy looking at your channel strategy, regulatory environment, partner & supplier ecosystem and off course customer to name a few.

February 3, 2016

Beacons - New Shopping Companion

In today's digital world retailers are focused to find innovative ways to engage with the customers in every opportunity they can. The industry has grown from traditional shopping to multi-channels like web, mobile and social. Retailers try to gather as much as data they can to engage with the customer in a meaningful way. Retailers connect with the customers in many ways like targeted promotions, cross-sell, upsell, etc in online shopping. When it comes to physical shopping in stores, it's always a challenge to understand the shopping behavior of a customer like the products he is interested in, time spent by him in a specific category etc.  Beacon can help us to address some of these challenges and this might be a good way of marrying digital and store experience and help with real world engagement opportunities.

What actually is Beacon? It is a small piece of hardware which can be pasted to the walls or racks in the store/premises and it connects with the customer mobile phones using Bluetooth low energy (BLE).



 When a customer walks into the store, the mobile beacon detects the phone using the app installed in their smart phones. Once the phone is detected, the beacon will send an identification to the phone and the app will redirect this information to the server hosted by the retailer. The server can identify the store and location with the received message and this can be used to send targeted message/promotion to the customer.

Users can follow the instructions mentioned below to use beacon:

    • Users can download mobile apps like Shopkick, Epicurious, Swirl etc. in their smartphones. Retailers can also build their own custom apps for android and iOS.
    • The Bluetooth should be turned on with Location services activated

Beacons and Retail:

Some of the major retailers have already started rolling out beacons in their stores. Apple has started using this concepts in their apple stores using iBeacon which is a version of BLE software and released with iOS 7. Apple uses this to push notifications to the customer as they walk around the store. In September, Macys' announced that it will roll out the beacons program to its stores using the app shopkick. Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) has announced to rollout the beacons programs in their selected lord and Taylor stores in US and Canada. Leading player like Hillshire Brands, American eagle, Walmart have also started the game with beacons.

Below are some of the focus areas by the retailers on this engagement:

Personalized communication: The beacons can be used to deliver personalized message like product communications, coupons, and promotions in that particular store or status on his store orders. Big retailers can engage with the customer real time and provide the personalized shopping feel like in a local grocery store/Mom and Pop stores.

 Powerful In-Store Marketing Tool: Retailers possess lot of data about their users through their online activity. They can interpret these online data like orders/wish list created by the customer and provide information on the top sellers in that category or create opportunity for cross sell or up sell on that items sold in that store.

Data Analytics: Beacon can provide insights into lot of data which can be sliced and diced to understand shopping behavior of the customer inside the store. How many times this customer has visited the stores, the time spent in different part of the stores, what they buy etc. This can also help to push targeted content for the customer thus encourage him to buy more.

Loyalty Engagement : Loyalty programs are becoming more popular among the retailers and also help to enhance the brand value and help customers with better rewards & shopping experience. Beacon technology can be integrated with the loyalty programs and provide them an excellent in store experience with the data collected on loyalty programs. For example when a customer enters the store the retailer can push customized message like "Welcome to store 238, Grab your white rebook shoes for 20% off on aisle 29" or "Welcome, Please spend additional $20 at grocery today to claim your 5% off on total order".

POS & Beacon: Beacon technology can be integrated with the POS system which can help to achieve touch less payments and more insight on the shopping behavior of the customer. PayPal is leading this space and it produces a USB device which is compatible with Erply, Leaf, Leapset, Micros, NCR, Revel, ShopKeep and Vend. PayPal Beacon detects a consumer using the PayPal app on their smartphone and shows customer profile on the POS system. If the shopper has enabled automatic check-in then the transaction is automatically completed without even taking your phone out of your pocket.

According to the article in Business insider it is estimated that beacon triggered messages influence up to $4 billion of total US store sales in 2015. This will increase up to $40 billion in 2016. With retailer giving more emphasis on personalized shopping it will be really interesting to watch how they use this mobile engagement.

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