The first steps in digital technology in the early days of IT paved the way for many of today's solutions. Now traders have gone back to basics. The digital engine room should guide both customer experience and operational efficiency.
With the help of digitalisation, many retailers and other players have focused on customers and the level of service they are offered. Customer service has been refined and interaction with customers has been made more functional. And so it should be!
The 80s are widely considered to have been the decade of IT, when we started to define IT processes like they were defined in the industry and made good use of IT for the first time.
Contrary to common belief, ecommerce or consumer apps were not people’s first experiences of the digitalisation, for example in commerce. Digital world came into play with the first cash tills, shop and warehouse systems. Many of the creations of that era paved the way for today’s digital inventions. The 90's IT executives were Chief Digital Officers of their time.
Now we are facing the second tsunami of digitalisation. It will hit again the companies’ background systems, where the core of digital business is located. In a sense, it is like the engine room of old.
To improve customer service, attention must be paid to the availability and quality of information. It has been noticed that without good, up-to-date data, customer experience cannot be improved. Even companies with seemingly strong background systems should be encouraged to accept future challenges. This may be successful, but sometimes change cannot be forced. New or old, the most important thing is connectivity to internal, and exceedingly external, systems or databases.
The digital engine rooms now control both customer experience and the efficiency of the operations. Unlike in machine rooms of old, you will not find mechanics there. Instead, teams of analysts keep the wheels of business rolling. Some of them predict and optimise the flow of goods, others deal with marketing and supply issues. The essential thing is that they all share data with each other.
With new needs, businesses need to re-evaluate the capability and condition of their own core systems. Those systems may not be bad, but it is essential to ensure that they work in real time and that there is continuity. Real-time data is in many cases a prerequisite for both a better customer experience and more efficient business operations.
Technologies of the new era make this possible in a whole new way. The best operators are aware and ready for the next huge waves of digitalisation. They never stop improving.