Big data is no longer confined to the realm of technology. Today it is rising to the top of the business agenda, given that the analysis of big data can help solve long-standing business challenges and transform processes, enterprises, entire industries and even society itself, says Jeby Cherian, vice-president & managing partner, Global Business Services, IBM India & South Asia. He tells Sudhir Chowdhary that there's a very strong and consequential change taking place as a result of the huge surge in the use of social networks and mobile devices. This has given customers unprecedented access to information about the products and services they buy, and great flexibility in the way they interact with each other. Excerpts:
What kind of shifts the business leaders in India are witnessing?
Our view is that there's a very strong and consequential change taking place as a result of the huge surge in the use of social networks and mobile devices. This is not only changing how companies and their customers interact, it is thoroughly changing what customers value and expect from companies. One example is this notion of immediacy. People are turning to their smartphones, tablets, and online communities for instant satisfaction-finding discounts and recommendations, based on their current location-all available to them at the instant they decide to buy.
The good news is forward thinking leaders across the globe, including India, are realising that they need to continuously transform the customer experience to be relevant and competitive- from the perception of innovation and value, to the quality of the interaction, to the economics of delivery. The proliferation of mobile and smart devices and rapid growth of social networks gives customers unprecedented access to information about the products and services they buy, and great flexibility in the way they interact with each other.
These same technologies enable enterprises to engage in new ways with customers and employees; governments build new relationships with citizens; and students and educational institutions interact with greater efficiency, convenience, and impact. Accordingly, we will help reshape their 'front office' -the business functions and processes, such as sales, marketing, and customer service, that connect, transact, and engage with customers.
How can the Indian firms harness big data to gain competitive edge?
Our world is being transformed by data. It's unprecedented, and it is the defining business event of our business lifetimes. As a consequence, every industry, institution and profession will be transformed by the available data.
Big data is no longer confined to the realm of technology. Today it is rising to the top of the business agenda, given that its analysis can help solve long-standing business challenges and transform processes, organisations, entire industries and even society itself. In the case of India, right now companies are heavily focused on increasing productivity and being innovative, and one key area with significant room for innovation is how the enterprise interacts with customers.
Why focus on the front office now?
While we are calling this front office transformation, this is not about dividing ourselves into front office and back office businesses. Both these are 'front-office' agendas, with the priority on global integration being driven by the CEO. Core ERP businesses are being fortified and extended along with our core applications business and data management foundations. With the 'front office' going digital, businesses are increasingly rethinking everything about the way people connect, transact, and engage with institutions, governments, and companies.
What value will digital front office bring to enterprises?
Digital front office is thought of as the most significant round of business transformation since the birth of enterprise resource planning (ERP). Enterprises are being forced to transition from serving numerous clients to customising their services to an individual, and implementing an effective digital front office strategy that enables organisations to realise this one-to-one client interaction.
Based on this new trend, IBM can assist enterprises in transforming their front office, including business functions, systems and processes, sales, marketing, client service, and other ways of interacting with clients.
India is a major hub for IBM's R&D activities. Tell us something about your new customer experience lab?
The IBM customer experience lab is dedicated to helping business leaders transform the way customers experience their products, services and brands through the use of mobile, social, cloud and advanced analytics technologies. IBM Research scientists and business consultants will co-create with clients to deliver systems that learn and personalise the experiences of each individual customer, identifying patterns, preferences and creating context from big data. The lab will be headquartered at the Thomas J Watson Research Centre in Yorktown Heights, NY, supported by researchers at IBM's 12 global labs, which includes our labs in Bangalore and New Delhi.
Copyright 2013 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Contify.com
Credit: Sudhir Chowdhary
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