Knowing Me, Knowing You …. and You … and You

Every organization has customers. Private or Public, profit-making or non-profit, large or small: customers define the enterprise. And if those customers aren’t happy, then the organization, ultimately, goes out of business. It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how often that simple fact is forgotten.

In the digital era, customers are more able than ever before to switch their allegiances, and they can do it in a heartbeat. So, it’s no surprise that almost half of the business leaders we spoke to for our FIT FOR DIGITAL report said that customers are the most influential external force for digital change. Why? Because, more than new market challengers, customers are disrupting business models by changing the way they interact with business in all sectors.

In retail, we can shop anywhere, everywhere. In fact, we buy stuff at any time the whim takes us. So, if a retailer is slow to offer online options or click-and-collect, or personal offers based on your profile and shopping history… you go to someone who will. And it takes a second to do it. That’s the ultimate disruption.

In transport, if you can’t find a cab on the street, or your local company is too slow and expensive… then you download a taxi app and off you go. There are examples in every sector. And what they prove is that it’s not the technology that drives disruption – it’s the way customers USE the technology.

So, the key to getting ahead of your customers is to understand what they’re doing, and from that information, understand what they want from you. That means data and analytics.

Of course, data isn’t new. It’s always been generated, and it’s always been understood that it’s valuable. Over a century ago, Henry Ford understood that. He looked at the numbers and realized that demand for cars was much higher than supply. He asked the question (based on that data) – how can we make enough cars for the right price to satisfy demand? He implemented the continuous production line (after seeing it work in the Chicago stockyards where beef was processed from cow to steak), and cut the cost of his Model T (it’s a myth that the only colour choice was black, by the way), and changed the world.

Ford got everything the right way around. He started with a simple, business orientated question. He gathered the data from the real world – both historical and current – came to a conclusion, and actioned it. Result: a world dominated by automobiles and a lot of happy customers.

That was crude data analytics, but effective. The only thing that’s changed in 2017 is that we have huge amounts of computing power and sophisticated data mining and visualization tools, coupled with a wide range of structured and unstructured data sources (from databases and social media to the growing number of IoT devices streaming information in real-time).

Now that we’ve got much more cost effective storage available, the cloud and lots of new open source technologies, there’s no reason why you can’t put all your data in one big data platform and use it to drive your business forward digitally so you can get closer to your customers.

And getting close to them is vital.  Ignacio Cea, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer of Spanish bank, Bankia, is clear about that in the report, “All of our digital initiatives are led by a desire to better serve our customers.” He couldn’t have put it better or more succinctly. Data analytics helps you understand the customer and generate loyalty as well as more sales.

Data tells you what happened in the past – and what’s happening now. Analytics cuts through the numbers to find out why it’s happening, and what effect it’s having on you and the wider world. Most importantly, if done properly, it helps you predict what will happen and then enables you to make the future happen. Then you can take the right action.

Our role at Fujitsu is to help you get to the heart of the business imperatives you need to address now – and then to equip your organisation with the right data sources, and the right analytical tools so that you can thrive. Essential to that is our SMART Data and Analytics solution which gets you from discrete data points to informed action. You can see an overview in our video here.

If you truly know your customer, then you can stay ahead of their needs. You can use the insights you yield to not only grow loyalty and revenue from your customers, but to provide the focus your digital transformation journey requires.

Download FIT FOR DIGITAL: Co-Creation in the Age of Disruption here.

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