By Alagappan Karuppiah, Head Of Information Technology Department & Lead for Digital Transformation & Products, Diners Club, Singapore
Whether we believe it or not we are in the fourth industrial revolution – The Digital Revolution.
Business and economics innovate to sustain growth; consumers adopt innovation for convenience and ease of use.
There are 2 factors at play —
1.Consumers adopt innovation faster than Enterprise adoption
2.B2C technology matures faster than B2B technology
Digital transformation is happening around us and is driving innovation. It is changing the way we interact and transact in life. There are four main areas to digital transformation
• Engaging Customer & Changing their experience of interaction and transaction
• Operational Efficiency of business
• Digital Workforce or Digital Citizens
• A product roadmap to sustain innovation by innovating products and reducing cost.
And digital transformation generally happens in one of these areas to disrupt the existing market.
As I try to lead the digital transformation at Diners Club Singapore I learnt that we need to understand the path to approach the problems rather than go for skills or technology we know or that is being hyped most. There might be always an avenue or skill we might not know or have. It’s the way we find solutions to the situations and the resilience to engage and build relationship with employees and customers and undergo transformation will determine our success outcome.
Unfortunately turning operational efficiency into a competitive advantage is not sustainable in the long term neither success can be determined for an organization by staying in tune with fast changing customer behaviour or new market business models. We have to move to the next level of digital transformation to stay ahead of the game and that is Engagement Innovation.
The Key for an Organization Innovation Is Employee Engagement; the Key for an Organization To Succeed Is Customer Engagement
When our employees and customers are engaged in the product the organization has created or innovated we can then call that Engagement Innovation.
For example: Digital E-Wallets = Engagement Innovation
The key for an organization innovation is employee engagement; the key for an organization to succeed is customer engagement. And when we combine both we have Engagement innovation.
Engaged employees are empowered to seek innovation but we must remember that we should have an organization that creates or supports a culture for innovation so that employees feel engaged else it will remain “Motto on the Wall”. The word innovation itself could be dreaded as employees feel that they need to dream up new ideas, so organization needs to cushion this up to recognize ideas and discuss implementable changes that can be incremental or discontinuous. In my EMBA class at National University of Singapore we learnt from Prof Wong that “principles of innovation can be trained but fundamental to success is an inherent desire to innovate and a culture that actively supports innovation.” Employee engagement is not a presentation that is debated in an organization annual training seminar and then forgotten to be re-opened again the next year. It is an essential component for developing strategically agile organizations that can survive and thrive in today’s hyper-paced markets. In today's world everyone has access to the same information and technologies. The difference is having an engaged and committed workforce that can innovate and turn the organization into a market leader. To achieve this we at Diners rather than spending time to control employees with goals, targets, KPIs and the like thus disengaging them, we started to listen to our employees. We responded in a timely manner and rated the satisfaction of the answers given to the employees. Once the employees realized that their voice is being heard and they can influence the workplace and culture, they felt a sense of ownership. This process brought competence, autonomy, satisfaction and to be engaged. Thus our employees innovated the way into Service Innovation through this Engagement.
The other part of Engagement Innovation is Customer Engagement, providing digital customer service, digital portal for transactions and making that experience was digital transformation of customer experience but going one step ahead to provide customer centric products, a customer focused business model and added value services, engaging the customer through the life cycle of the product until the customer becomes part of the product is Engagement Innovation. Many e-wallet providers in China have created this engagement innovation whereby the customer and their consumable process revolves around the e-wallet platform. Diners have created a Vicom Card product that revolves around the driving experience of the driver and we keep them engaged in their journey.
With the advancement of AI and IoT we have connected cars, connected cards and devices, wearables and a whole amount of data to build customer profiles that provide better insights into customer risk and customer product needs. For example with this innovation we can offer on spot virtual rewards or cards increasing customer loyalty and lifetime value. This engagement process can be made seamless and those organizations that take advantage of the digitally connected channels would be able to sustain and lead the market in Engagement Innovation.