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Top 8 digital business priorities in 2015

As we are approaching 2016, we thought we'd share what we're seeing as top business tech priorities for various companies in 2015. All below assumptions and conclusions are based on conversations we've had with leaders this year, supported by Four and One Research.

1. Understanding your customers’ digital journey should be the primary investment. Many organizations profess to be more “customer-centric” this year, our in-depth research says that only 25% of companies have a mapped a customer journey completely which means that without that journey, you are guessing what your customers are thinking, doing and feeling. If at all, digital is a key focus of your entire strategy you require an even deeper understanding of how digital touch-points impact the journey as a whole.

2. There is the increasing expectation that you know it’s me when I walk into your supermarket and that my social, digital and mobile actions are known. As a regular user of Google Express and Amazon Fresh, these companies know very well that it is me when I begin shopping on their platforms. Safeway is one such company that is making good headway with the special iBeacon technology that delivers a great in-store experience and analytics. On the other hand, taking social data and collaborating it to your customer database is one of the most important actions for many organizations. We often see customer service teams of organizations tracking many social identities and customer accounts via Excel spreadsheets which is not appreciated by customers and at the end of the day utter madness. Basically, teams should start appending customer and email databases with readily available social data via identity providers.

3. The first step is knowing your digital customers and which line they are from. Putting all the information into context so that there can be results is the icing on top of the cake. Business time is now headed by customers who are empowered and expect near real-time relevancy. Everything from customer service and advertising to context-aware security will need to be rich, fast insights which is now readily available to decisions makers in the pure business line.

4. Smartphone apps should be designed with quality and a smart way. A key tool for companies is the mobile-enabled workforce which is better known as the "smart" devices which we carry around are not that smart. A top priority for the year 2016 is to make our smartphones actually smart by enabling them to first connect and understand data and context between millions of apps to create personal and unique experiences that would help us get work done.

5. Digital ethics defined. In the context of real time analytics and raw data, employees and customers will want more than promises that all their data is being used for right reasons and at right places. Hence, all will demand transparency.

6. You have to focus the marketing cloud with a lot of pressure on adventures and experiences. A spicy technology topic among employees could be the promise of a “marketing cloud” which is offering from enterprise tech vendors like IBM, Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle as well as startups like Sprinklr. The problem here is the utility of such an integrated platform extends beyond the walls of impacting sales, marketing, customer service and even predicting and recruiting the supply chain.

7. A transparent workplace should be created to engage all your employees. With employee engagement hovering at 13% on a worldwide basis, the issue of employee engagement has become a Board-level and C-level topic at the moment. At the bottom is the recognition that are needed for employee relationships to offer an awesome customer experience. On the other hand, some organizations look at engagement digitally through the lens of retaining millennials.

8. Digital leaders should become engaged in everything. Graduates from the class of 1996 are now reaching into the ranks of leadership in their organizations as they have invested their entire professional career in the digital era.

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