Business Priority No. 1: Be Future-Proof
STORY INLINE POST
Times change and generations too; and I know that both elements have a deep impact on decision-making for all organizations. As a business software specialist and with several years in sales, I have had the opportunity to support hundreds of organizations in finding the technologies that best suit their needs and that, of course, help them navigate through the transitions that come with the waves of time and changes in consumer expectations.
A little over 10 years ago, organizations were concerned about how to understand millennials; never before had they come across consumers who were so far removed from the preferences of previous generations and, additionally, were technological experts. Currently, it’s Gen Z that occupies the minds of many decision-makers and product creators, because, once again, they are observing a wide difference in the socioeconomic panorama, lifestyle, and values of this generation (born between 1996 and 2010) and now, not only do they handle technologies better, but they can’t conceive life without it; they were born and raised with familiar concepts like the internet, mobile phones and social media, and they share their day to day through them.
Faced with this landscape and the speed with which the tastes and expectations of these generations change, many decision-makers are facing this question: How do I make my organization future-proof? A question as valid as it is complex, because who has the power to know what the future holds? However, there are technological tools that can help organizations to get very close to this goal. On this occasion, I would like to share three of them.
First, use first-party data. This data is a resource that is obtained with the consent of consumers and allows companies to better understand them, but also the organization itself, as it is an accurate, consistent and reliable X-ray of the way in which consumers interact directly with the digital and nondigital channels of a company (visiting their website, using their app, making a phone call to the business or shopping in one of their stores).
Of course, to know what data needs to be collected, it’s necessary to have an objective: it could be, for example, to generate loyalty and retain the most valuable customers. The next step would be to invest in a loyalty program and make it the main source of its own data, always following a privacy and security protocol. Then, the program can be used to provide discounts, redeemable points and personalized offers to members so this can increase engagement with the brand and products.
Until now, one of the most common strategies to generate consumer experiences was through cookies, and while this method is coming to an end, the future of business will continue to be driven by data and hyper-personalization. Using first-party data can lead organizations to a future of more satisfying unique experiences for clients.
Second, perform analytics on structured and unstructured data. It is very common that when thinking about data, endless spreadsheets come to mind, and although they are a way of organizing information, the truth is that today more than 90% of an organization's information isn’t found in a structured database. Instead, it is located in call center audios, documents of different types of formats, videos and more. Currently, there are cloud technology tools with voice recognition, computer vision, translation and text processing capabilities that can support information unification, change tracking, processing, analysis and visualization to obtain valuable information that can be transmuted into business actions.
Third, integration of tools driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning. We are in 2023, the year in which artificial intelligence is in the global spotlight and many technology organizations have dedicated ourselves to generating base tools powered by AI and trained with ML so that organizations in other industries, such as retail, entertainment, finance, packaged goods, and manufacturing, can leverage and incorporate this technology in a simpler and faster way and solve problems in their own sectors.
An example of this is found in the shelves verification process in the retail sector. For years, retailers have tested all sorts of software for this operation but their effectiveness has often been limited by the resources needed to create reliable AI models that detect and differentiate items, from the different juice flavors to dozens of types of toothbrushes. Today, however, it is possible to make use of product and tag recognizers and to identify merchandise from a ceiling-mounted camera, an associate's mobile phone or a store-roaming robot, which automates verification and supports the warehouse logistics teams.
Predicting the future is impossible, however, the best thing organizations can do is to increase their agility to adapt to changing trends. Technology is an ally for organizations so they can be prepared not only for the present, but for the future.