Rethinking customer engagement in the age of digital

The following is a LinkedIn story written by Alberto Granados, Vice President, Microsoft Asia Pacific

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in an executive roundtable with 20 senior business leaders of the top enterprises in Asia. Digital transformation and disruption were key topics of our discussion and I took away many learnings on how organizations across diverse industries – from healthcare to finance and retail – are embarking on their digital transformation journey.

During our conversation, every business decision maker in the room agreed that the customer buying experience today could be better. In fact, according to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, customer engagement is the top priority for Asian business leaders as they turn to digital strategies to accelerate growth and innovation for their organizations.

Melissa Murray Bailey, Director of Sales Solutions, LinkedIn Asia Pacific, challenged all of us in the room to look beyond our existing sales processes and operating models and reflect on the actual customer experience because great buying experiences aren’t just created by systems. Every customer is first a consumer and they are looking for personalized experiences. Here’s where digital technologies come in. Companies today have vast volumes of data at their disposal – we are not short of information about our customers! But what will differentiate our brands from the competition is how we leverage breakthrough technologies to harness the data and innovate on new customer experiences that will surprise and delight.

Sam Liew, Managing Director, Accenture Technology ASEAN, shared with us how businesses today are leveraging key disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Platform Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to completely reinvent the customer experience.

Coop Italia, Italy’s largest supermarket chain, welcomed customers into a digital journey within its brick and mortar supermarket. It was a glimpse into the supermarket of the future where interactive tables, smart shelves and real-time data visualization powered by sensors and the cloud will enable customers to access rich information on every item at a single touch, so that they can find the perfect product for their needs.

While technology advancements are truly opening up new ways to engage customers, executives at the roundtable agreed that every digital transformation must be driven by a strategic business purpose. Bradley Styles, Partner, Management Consulting, KPMG in Singapore detailed each layer of the digital transformation journey that business leaders need to consider. While technology puts companies on a strong foundation for digitization, without a clear digital plan that considers every aspect of the organization holistically, you don’t have a successful digital transformation strategy.

Despite the different industries represented in the room, similar challenges and opportunities emerged from our conversation. Every business wants to transform legacy systems and processes, realize more agility and enable rapid innovation. Being a digitally-driven organization is now an imperative to keep up and lead with new customer and industry demands.

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