Digital Transformation Needs to Simplify the Business

The basis of existence of any industry or business is to serve customers in a simple way. But, pick any industry, and you will realize that many have made their businesses complex for customers. For instance, the digital transformation in the healthcare industry is meant to make people healthier and happier.  But instead, healthcare institutions end up complicating things for their customers. The core purpose of the status quo of retail banks is to help customers manage their financial lives easily. Instead, banks sit behind regulatory walls and make their processes utterly complex for their customers. Recently, I published an article highlighting the complexity in banks. Knowingly or unknowingly, companies tend to make things complex for their customers. Then then blame business growth, regulations, market dynamics, and other factors for that very complexity. The paradox is that companies don’t even realize the complexity phenomenon. The realization comes when they are forced to view it through the lens of increased competition.

In today’s digital world, customers want a consistent and seamless experience, in particular when it comes to consuming complex services and products. The moment complexity arises, they start looking for alternatives. If you think about Alipay (the world’s largest online payment processor), AirBnB, DropBox, Amazon, Uber, Facebook, and many others, you will realize that they’ve all stood out from the crowd by simplifying complex processes- from sharing to finding to paying. Google’s homepage has always been pretty much the same—simple; while Twitter and Facebook make it easy to contribute content.

 

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Incumbents may face challenges from digital disruptors that weren’t even considered in the same industry. These digital first firms often do so by providing simplified customer experiences. Companies are turning to digital transformation to match the energy and innovation emanating from startups. However, in many cases, companies themselves are not sure what “digital transformation” means for their businesses. I  highlighted this in one of my previous blog posts.

I believe digital transformation has only one agenda: “Simplify the business.” I know it’s easier said than done, but do companies have any other option than to simplify? Just investing in digital technologies doesn’t mean that companies have achieved the “cool” nirvana. Technology is just an enabler. It all starts with recognizing the need for simplification of customer experience. C-suite executives must lead the way in laying down a strategy and execution road map to accomplish this. They must look at where processes can be simplified from a customer experience point of view. To realize the full potential of digital transformation, companies need to reduce complexity in their legacy IT systems, business processes, people, overall customer engagement, and the very basis of their existence.

– Manish Bahl | Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work

This post originally appeared on the Future of Work Blog

Manish Bahl

Manish Bahl

Manish leads Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work in Asia Pacific and has over 14 years of research, advisory, and business... Read more