The future belongs to customers. For in the end, they’re the ones who are paying and increasing a company’s sales. So that this happens, the buyer or potential buyer has to feel absolutely comfortable with services and products in each of his purchase cycles. How can a company provide its customers with the perfect buying and re-buying experience? The response is as simple as it is complex: The right information has to be in the right place at all times to ensure that the customer has a “wow” experience. Indispensable for this are intelligently networked processes in interplay with the human component, which is irreplaceable now as before. An intelligent enterprise is based on 5 pillars.
Digitalization – the basis, but not the solution for everything
One of the most important prerequisites for an intelligent enterprise is digitalization. Inversely, however, digital enterprises are not necessarily intelligent. Only when they succeed in taking all steps along the entire value-creation chain and networking these do they create the technological basis for the intelligent enterprise. The road there is usually bumpy and long. Processes have to be adjusted flexibly with a view to new developments and expanded if necessary. The prerequisites for this cannot be isolated solutions such as ERP or CRM; instead, there has to be an integrated platform that provides both core functions for company processes and innovative technologies. This way, intelligent enterprises can access data and information, exploit new business opportunities, and make better decisions on all organizational levels. This is also reflected in the customer experience: networked processes and data provide a comprehensive view of the customer journey and the opportunity to optimize it appropriately.
Data – quality and interpretability are the measures of all things
Prerequisite for a company’s intelligence is that it succeeds in collecting data, reading it correctly, analyzing it, and deriving sensible steps from it. The first question has to be: Do we have all the necessary data and can we analyze it? Intelligence means reading, listening, understanding, drawing the right conclusions, acting independently, and readjusting your actions again and again. To do all this, the technology has to be in a position to draw conclusions from the data on hand and make decisions on this basis. Precisely with doubled or incorrect or incomplete customer data, the customer experience cannot succeed.
Networking – working together and managing big data with artificial intelligence
Once upon a time, companies’ intelligence lay solely in its employees. Today, it lies in the combination of people, machines, processes, and technology. Increasingly technology is taking over tasks, for in the meantime it learns faster and better than people do.
Innovative technologies can learn, handle particular rules, and be trained to react depending on the situation. What seems off-putting at first glance can make work much easier. Thanks to artificial neuronal networks, computers can perform tasks that would take people years in a very short time. Intelligence without capacity restrictions is being created, for only this way can the huge quantities of big data be managed. Technologies work day and night, they all speak the same language, and they therefore enable networked work across all boundaries: department boundaries, country boundaries, the boundaries of a device or machine, time boundaries, as well as individual industries’ boundaries. Working hours and availability around the clock are a matter of course these days and customers, especially in B2C, require this. “Here and now” is the motto for the perfect customer experience. In the process, artificial intelligence, for example with bots, can absorb a lot and make employees’ lives much easier.
Agility – long since more than just a buzzword
The term agility is not just a new buzzword, it has become part of the culture at many companies. That’s why agile work is an important pillar on the path to the truly intelligent enterprise. Such a company uses agile methods, has a largely “democratic” leadership style, and lean structures, so that it is in a position to react more quickly to changes and to predict these. Realizing this requires a system environment that is also agile. On the one hand, it has to be capable of uniting all business units in a database. On the other hand, it has to be able to integrate more tools and technologies. The infrastructure may not be rigid, the selection of technology no dead end. Ideally, an intelligent enterprise’s system consists of a digital core for enterprise resource planning (ERP), one or more platforms based on microservices (typically from the cloud), and innovative technologies such as IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Together, these components provide a secure basis for the future. They can be adapted quickly to each new business model and inspire innovation and disruption.
Focus on the customer – the key to long-term success
According to the estimates of the market research company Gartner, today 90% of the world’s 200 largest companies use intelligent apps and tools for big data and analytics in order to improve the customer experience. While once upon a time the focus was on individual departments and processes, today these are the means to an end for offering customers a continuous customer experience. As the saying goes: The customer is king. Only people who know customers can predict the market and increase their sales. Data-based analyses and predictions allow you to draw conclusions about customers right away and thus benefit them. This way, entirely new potential can be exploited, which would not be possible without the evaluation and predictions of intelligent applications. For customers, this means an individual, custom-fit customer experience, and in the end, satisfaction and brand loyalty.