With IoT creating unprecedented opportunities for organisations to transform their businesses, we asked Paul Potgieter, Managing Director – UAE, Dimension Data, how enterprises can deploy data from IoT devices to pursue growth.
In the Third Industrial Revolution, personalisation and face-to-face engagement were key attributes required to generate meaningful and lasting measures of customer experience. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a multitude of devices and customer channels and deluge of user related data, the metrics of customer experience are no longer the same.
Knowing your customer by gaining access to their usage and trend data, analysing that data in real-time, presenting personalised options on the fly, being proactive about their needs as they engage, having a superlative digital user experience, and scaling the same services to the vast Internet community of users, are the metrics for customer satisfaction in the digital world.
The moto of ‘the customer is always right’ coined in the early part of the twentieth century by Harry Gordon Selfridge, has been adapted in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be akin to something like ‘know your customer before they even know themselves.’
In the digital era, skills around face-to-face customer intuitiveness are being replaced by the design of better and better digital user interfaces. These interfaces present themselves to digital users, based on real time analysis of the end-user’s data archive, usage history, previous and possible future purchase and decision-making requirements, to create a high degree of digital pleasure, digital experience and digital loyalty.
Aiding this complete end-to-end process of tracking a customer’s journey are the multitude of connected sensors and devices, called the Internet of Things (IoT). These collect fragments of data, as the customer progresses along their journey of digital engagement, and the final purchase or decision-making conclusion.
When aggregated and analysed on a large scale, both in terms of time and scale of data, these fragments of data collected from IoT devices, help to piece together a holistic and intelligent picture about the customer’s requirements, drivers and inhibitors of decision making, and influencers of decision making.
Clearly, and as corroborated by various global surveys, aggregation of customer usage data through the IoT is principally being used to improve two key areas. The first is the cyclic process of customer experience and satisfaction. You cannot create a happy digital customer today without investing in a superlative digital user experience.
On the flip side as well, by investing in building a superlative digital user experience, businesses stand a good chance of creating happy digital customers, as long as they blend in analysis of data created in real time from the IoT.
The other key area where aggregation of customer data is being principally used is safety of the environment. Continuous monitoring by a multitude of sensors, when aggregated over time, can clearly and proactively flag upcoming instances of failure before they are likely to happen.
Such an early warning system of upcoming failures or defects or calls for action, can save time and money needed to rectify failures after they happen and the possible societal impact of failures, versus taking action before they happen, based on a high probability of looming failure.
Reducing the cost of operation and developing new areas of business are next in line in terms of benefits from the Internet of Things.
Building a business use case, deploying and scaling the IoT along the customer journey, aggregating the data, building analytics in real time, and generating custom built digital user interfaces on the fly, are all part of today’s digital business work flow process. Generating a return on investment is more likely when all these are in place.