At the cost of repeating myself… ‘What exactly is Digitalisation?’ This certainly seems to be the talk of the town, but is this buzzword a new concept or once again, a fundamental and radical idea, but in a new package? Secondly, assuming for a moment that this is important for today’s business, how does Digitalisation impact the Travel, Transport, Logistics and Hospitality business?
Per my view, Digitalisation, from a business perspective, has both figurative and quantifiable dimensions. Most simplistically put, it is the electronic enablement and automation of different business functions and processes in this modern world where multiple interactions between different entities are expected to be seamless, across different channels like social, mobile, web, etc. and such exchanges are analysed further to provide a rich experience to relevant key stakeholders. Therefore, there is also a need to provide businesses with relevant building blocks right from the bottom most layer of infrastructure. The ultimate objective though is not much different; achieve better engagement with customers and employees, greater efficiencies, higher productivity, lower costs and therefore business growth. It is critical to note however that the result needs to be an ‘n’-win situation for everyone in the food chain. The impact is mostly on the revenue generating side of the business. The above description turns out to be quite a mouthful really; not sure if I can call that ‘simplistic’! Anyways, the basic idea does not seem to have changed much, though the environmental complexities in which businesses operate today, and more so, need to thrive, compete and win in, have changed enormously. In this new super-connected consumer-business set-up, powered by disruption, innovation, convergence and value creation, organisations need to adopt extremely agile strategies based on both, outside-in and inside-out view of the business; all at the same time. The outside-in view encompasses areas such as omni-channel presence, socialytics, business intelligence, predictive modelling, etc. In order to realise and execute these concepts successfully, the inside-out view helps identify gaps in supporting layers such as productisation, consolidation, inventories, infrastructure, modern applications, data fabric, integration layer, etc.
Let’s look at the Travel business, which is highly consumer facing. Customers have multiple digital touch points with service providers. Tour operators and hoteliers need to listen and respond to their customers, throughout the journey of the interaction lifecycle, with a minimum response time, so as not to lose the customers’ attention span. Such an ecosystem requires a strong backbone that should not only adapt to and adopt multiple changes in business but also proactively suggest alterations in order to wow customers. In the case of Logistics, whether it is a B2B environment or an express parcels business, organisations are equally trying to utilise their brand value to directly grab the end users’ mindshare. The brand power prompts “Google”-ing for more information, with such material getting across multiple channels and “FedEx”-ed to the farthest end of the world, thus “Hoover”-ing out competition! In both cases above, this user-centric view represents just one angle in a multidimensional portfolio. Other elements such as eCommerce, CRM, Yield Management, Dynamic Packaging, Warehouse & Transport Management, etc. are several other aspects worth considering. All this requires an extremely strong base platform, on which should rest one of the key strategies for growth. The promotion of Digitalisation I believe is therefore most apt.
Digitalisation, hence, is a work of marketing and science. An in-depth understanding of what a business is trying to achieve, in collaboration with a right execution strategy, should produce the winning formula, unique to that organisation.
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