Digital Transformation

Rethinking customer engagement with Artificial Intelligence

We are working together with Trondheim University in Norway as well as IBM Watson to explore new ways of customer engagement. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the way people interact with digital assets, and we are experimenting with the capabilities of cloud cognitive computing. Soon, we will be able to announce more about what we are working on…

How to design choice architectures for digital marketing

Using ideas from paternalistic libertarianism and behavioural economics to design and build choice architectures in digital marketing. The presentation includes a case study for a “digital nudge” with one of our clients, a SaaS company.

Helplines Partnership a finalist at the Digital Leaders Awards 2014

dl_finalist_hrKudos to our client Helplines Partnership for being amongst the finalists at the Digital Leaders Awards 2014 in the NGO Category.

The annual awards celebrate digital innovation as well as uptake of digital technologies and culture in central and local government, NGOs, SMEs, health and start-ups. It is a great indication of trends and thought leaders in digital transformation in the UK.

Feline Quanta Communications are exceptionally proud for Helplines Partnership being a finalist at this prestigious award among hundreds of candidates. We have been working together with the Helplines Partnership executive team, as well as everyone in the organisation, to redesign – and sometimes re-invent-, the organisation’s business model in the age of digital.

By applying best practices in strategic communications we have developed processes that support Helpline Partnership’s marketing communications for  products and services, public relations and external relations. SMART Communications are currently being applied across every department, and  measuring the impact of communications activities is becoming part of the organisation’s culture. Furthermore, social media activation including the creation of a blog and newsletter, are providing Helplines Partnership with its own media channels with which it engages its members, its staff and volunteers, as well as the many other stakeholders that the UK’s association of helplines interacts with.

In the following months Feline Quanta Communications and Helplines Partnership will embark in the execution of innovative and integrated content marketing across all digital channels. Our common vision is nothing less but for Helplines Partnership to become a leader in digital transformation for UK’s charity sector.

Digital transformation: what is it, and what to do about it

What is “digital transformation”, and how to execute it for success? This deck explains how the success of internet startups to disrupt markets, together with four major technological drivers (big data & analytics, social & mobile, crowdsourcing & crowdfunding, and smart devices) are ushering a new era of information technology where operations are disrupted by new digital business models.

Fortune 500 companies are following up, as for example Starbucks that transforms customer engagement in its shops through mobile. Or Monsanto that revolutionizes planting with FieldScripts.

The deck suggests a 4 step approach to digital transformation, following best practices from lean startup methodology and DevOps.

Story-telling and digital branding

skills-cover4The art of story telling is as ancient as our species. Neuroscience has shown that our cognitive systems are wired for stories; indeed that it is through stories that our memories function. When we see something, or hear, or smell, or touch, or taste, our memory retrieves contextual information about the stimulus and builds a “narrative” about it. This is how we get to recognise and categorise what the stimulus is all about, and decide how to respond to it.

We can reverse engineer this cognitive process and ask ourselves how can we build recognisable brands that make people want to relate to them. Let me explain here that by “brand” I do not necessarily mean a commercial brand. It could be a charity, a scientific research organisation, a political party, a country, or a person – or anyone or anything that desires to be identified in positive terms by society at large. The key to building a brand is story-telling. If one can weave a compelling, emotive story around their brand, then people will react to it in a positive way. They will be able to identify with it. Importantly too, they will be able to “tell the story” to their friends, and therefore become links to a long chain of word-of-mouth.

But how do you build a story around a brand? This is where literary theory comes into play. Putting together the right words, creating excitement through a plot, sketching the main characters; all these are tools that can be used in putting together a compelling brand narrative. Starting from a stakeholder analysis and an organisational values analysis, the next step would be to compose representative and compelling vision and mission statements. These statements must somehow capture not only the keywords and the spirit of the brand, but also the narrative “yeast” to be used in putting together derivative narratives. Such derivative narratives, like stories within a story, could then be used to communicate the organisation across all channels and for every campaign.

Thus one does not need to keep inventing stories from scratch. The brand that possesses a strong narrative is a source of inspiration for any campaign; in advertising, lobbying or fundraising.

If you want to build a story for your brand, contact us!

Reinventing the business

This deck explains how a business integration approach can be applied in the era of digital transformation. Twenty years ago I used to apply the same approach in business re-engineering, with clients in several industries who wanted to automate their processes. At that time the challenge was to increase productivity by linking together information that existed in several “information silos” of a business (e.g. accounts, logistics, factory shop-floor, etc.). Nowadays, in the age of digital media. mobile, embedded intelligence and social networks, the challenge is of a different kind: reinventing customer experience, redesigning operations and, ultimately, reinventing the business model. In my deck I argue that the same methodology – i.e. strategy-technology-processes-people – can be applied.

Digital transformation: business reengineering in the age of ZMOT

Customers have changed the way they buy goods and services. According to the Social Trends Report 2013 (Bazaarvoice), before ever entering a store, 62% of Millennial shoppers already know what they want to buy through prior online research. Eighty-four percent of them say consumer-written content on brand sites influences what they buy.

The huge challenge for marketers is called “ZMOT” (“zero moment of truth”) and it nowadays makes difference between failure and success. In the good old days of brick and mortar a sales rep – or good retail marketing – would lead the customer to the “first moment of truth” (FMOT) , when he or she bought the good or the service. This moment was followed by the “second moment of truth” (SMOT) when they went home and reflected on the wisdom of their buying decision. FMOT secured short term sales. SMOT, if positive, created word-of-mouth, and drove new acquisitions in the sales funnel.

ZMOT is what happens when consumers browse on line for goods and services they might be interested in, read reviews written by other consumers, and decide whether to buy or not – well before they actually enter a store (whether bricks-and-mortar or on-line)

This cataclysmic change in consumer behavior calls for the “digital transformation” of many businesses. Digital transformation does not simply imply automating business processes. It means enabling major business improvements across a spectrum that begins with enhancing customer experience, to streamlining operations, to creating new business models (See “Starbucks Case Study” below). Ultimately this spectrum defines the map for the journey that every business will have to take to re-invent itself in the digital space and time.

But how should businesses go about digitally transforming themselves? At Feline Quanta we implement a business integration model approach to digital transformation. We therefore look at four dimensions of business re-invention.

Business Integration Model

Business Integration Model

1. Strategy: Companies need to envision themselves in the age of digital and plan a detailed map of the journey they need to take. They must assess their core competencies, look at the competition, as well as to enabling – or disruptive – technologies that affect their operations and current business model. They key to any business transformation is of course leadership. Sometimes it helps to introduce a “Chief Innovation Officer” (or VP) who will own the process of digital transformation.

2. Technology: How can social, mobile, embedded devices and a host of other disruptive technologies be integrated in order to drive the journey of digital transformation? How can ideas from agile methodology and lean startups be leveraged to develop new solutions and iterative models with the built-in ability to respond to changing consumers’ behaviors? How can data be used to effectively shape new relationships with consumers and other stakeholders?

3. Processes: How can business processes be re-designed and re-engineered in order to implement enhanced consumer experiences, or a complete re-invention of the business model? How can re-engineered processes be benchmarked and managed using applicable KPIs? How will digital transformation processes align with other IT systems in the company(e.g. ERP)?

4. People: What are the new sets of skills that are needed to drive the digital transformation of the business? How can these skills be obtained? How do training and hiring must change and adapt?

As businesses across the board become increasingly aware about the opportunities that digital transformation can confer (and the risks of not transforming), a Business Integration Model approach offers itself as a tested and well-structured method for success.

To find out more, please get in touch

Case Study: Starbucks

One company that has succeeded in digital transformation is Starbucks. In 2009, after dismal performance cut the company’s stock price in half, Starbucks looked to digital to help re-engage with customers. It created a vice president of digital ventures, hiring Adam Brotman to fill the post. His first move was to offer free Wi-Fi in Starbucks stores, along with a digital landing page with a variety of digital media choices, including free content from publications like The Economist . Starbucks was doing something innovative around how we were connecting with customers.  In collaboration with Curt Garner, Starbucks’ chief information officer, Brotman restructured their teams so that they collaborate from the very start of projects. Last year, they cut 10 seconds from every card or mobile phone transaction, reducing time-in-line by 900,000 hours.

Starbucks is adding mobile payment processing to its stores, and is processing 3 million mobile payments per week. Soon, customers will order directly from their mobile phones. Using social media, mobile and other technologies to change customer relationships, operations and the business model has helped Starbucks re-engage with customers and boosted overall performance. Its stock price has also bounced back up from roughly $8 in 2009 to nearly $73 in July 2013.

(Source: “Embracing digital technology” research report 2013, MIT Sloan Management Review.)