This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
What characteristics does a piece of technology need to have to be considered as a game-changing innovation?
For technology to be innovative, it must make people’s lives easier and better. It should be able to scale easily and integrate well with legacy technology. Plus, it should help companies to solve traditional problems, improve operational efficiencies and enable employees to collaborate better.
Can you tell us what you consider as the top three innovations that have had the most impact on the world in the past few years?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have enabled companies to personalise the customer experience in a way we’ve never seen before. For example, one audio streaming platform uses algorithms to curate relevant playlists for every user – I rarely skip the songs it has chosen for me.
Digital transformation must be a key focus for every company, and many are turning to middleware to solve traditional problems with technology. Legacy technology can prevent companies from modernising their technology strategy, but using middleware makes it easy to integrate new innovations into the existing IT environment.
Many companies are also using robotic process automation (RPA) to resolve small and tedious customer issues, which is something I focus on in my book, The Customer of the Future. RPA creates operational efficiencies, allowing companies to focus on delivering high-level customer experiences.
What advice would you give to enterprises who want to develop innovations that will change how their employees work or how they serve their customers?
If you want to be innovative, you must create a culture that embraces, rather than dismisses, new ideas that disrupt traditional processes. Too many companies overlook this when they’re thinking of ways to transform the employee and customer experience.
Tell us what types of innovations are expected to emerge over the next 12 months.
Companies are focusing on two things: improving the employee experience and developing self-service options. The first stop on a customer experience transformation journey is to develop a better employee experience and many companies are achieving this by implementing consumer-grade technology in the workplace. Self-service technology is a growing trend, largely prompted by online retailers who have set a new benchmark because their customers rarely have to contact their call centres. Research from analyst IDC found that call centres are the most ‘high effort’ channel for customers, so good self-service is one of the best customer experience investments organisations can make.
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