Many organizations have dogmatically pursued an isolation strategy to safeguard their unique value proposition. But, consumer expectations have pushed forward-thinking businesses to shred this insular playbook. To better serve their users, organizations are actively searching out collaborative technologies to enable digital transformation. Evolving trends have compelled even the staunchest hold-outs to finally attack their digital transformation strategy with a more cooperative mindset. What are the four most important drivers of customer-focused digital transformation technologies?
Digital transformation technologies are ecosystem-driven to enable collaboration
Consumers now prioritize convenience, and they shrewdly search out companies that save them time and effort. The draw of convenience is so powerful that 83% report that it has become a leading factor in their purchase decisions compared to five years ago. Platforms that allow us to research pricing from multiple airlines at once reign over brand-specific sites. Entertainment streamers like Netflix funnel our favorite flicks from a variety of distributors into one viewing experience. Instead of shying away from the phone-as-a-wallet-trend, MasterCard became the first provider to allow customers to store their card information on ApplePay. Viewing other brands or emerging tech as a threat is now a perilous mindset. The smartest companies are now finding ways to leverage the value propositions of the businesses they once considered competitors.
By adopting a more collaborative, cooperative approach, brands are able to supercharge their offerings with customer-appealing services without having to gut their entire infrastructure. Sharing data with approved third parties and entwining services into a comprehensive offering is now a competitive advantage.
Taking the reins of these partnership opportunities requires more than an enterprising spirit. Banks, educators, insurance companies, and retailers need to shore up their digital infrastructure to position themselves for these valuable partnerships.
A cloud-first mindset to digitally transforming infrastructure
While some analysts extol cloud-ready infrastructure as one of the most powerful weapons in a digital transformation arsenal, your cloud-ready infrastructure is the arsenal. By mindfully upgrading your systems to integrate the best of cloud architecture, you create an entirely new arena for your services to operate in.
The cloud-first approach requires more than simply transferring a cumbersome legacy system to a cloud hosting service. You must take a fresh look at your systems through the lens of agility and efficiency. McKinsey aptly describes the fundamental difference between cloud and traditional IT environments as a “modern hotel,” where keycards provide third parties with access to certain floors and rooms. As opposed to the conventional “moat” model where permission is all-or-nothing, a cloud-first methodology can grant entry to a specific service, while barring visibility of another. This transformative mindset creates a far more flexible environment. By divvying up an unwieldy monolithic design into smaller components, you can freely adjust your offering without upending your entire system.
Digital transformation technologies are customizable & microservices based
Considering McKinsey’s “modern hotel” visual, cloud-first architecture allows you to curate a more lively and well-rounded offering. Instead of using your own proprietary resources to furnish each “room”, you can slot in a microservice, or modular pre-built feature or function. You’re no longer restricted by the limitations of your own internal resources, but can shop around from industry-leading third-party vendors who specialize in in-demand categories. Instead of burying money and time into building your own payment app, integrate with PayPal to offer their best-in-class payment functionalities to your customers. The cloud banishes the age-old custom of a complex web of interlocked, co-dependent services, but lets you slide in modular components from top third-party innovators.
Sharing intellectual property through APIs
A cloud-first mindset paves the way for your organization to take advantage of powerful new collaboration opportunities. This expands the portfolio of service offerings you’re currently able to provide your customer base. Building out a complicated infrastructure is expensive—prohibiting organizations from offering fresh feature sets. So how do the brands behind our smart speakers know real-time baseball scores and stock prices without developing their own proprietary database?
The answer is through an application programming interface, or API. An API provides a third party with a key: a way for organizations to share their intellectual property with other businesses. We experience APIs in action every day. Our smart refrigerator provides real-time weather updates, and virtual assistants rattle off the very same data. The businesses behind each device don’t employ their own slate of meteorologists, but use an API to access weather data from a pre-existing industry leader like The Weather Channel. Without building out their own costly infrastructure, any business can use an API to provide heat wave or snowstorm forecasts to their customers.
By focusing on these four factors, you can start reimagining your systems as a cloud-first powerhouse ready to take on the changing customer landscape.