Regardless of industry, digital transformation is underway in many organizations, as companies exploit the opportunities presented by digital technology to build their brand, connect with customers, and enhance sales models.
However, there are some differences from one industry to the next. The culture, systems, processes, and even the capabilities of each industry all come into play when embarking upon digital transformation.
As a result, the pace at which industries are changing differs.
In this article, we take a closer look at four industries - pharma, telecoms, finance and technology - that are taking charge of digital to lead business success, and also consider what challenges and opportunities the future holds for each.
Health & Pharma
Traditionally, the health and pharma industry has been a little slow to adapt. According to McKinsey, almost 40% of pharma companies are unsure about how to align digital strategy with their customers’ journey while only 10% based strategic decisions on a granular understanding of how digital affects their business model and competitive environment compared with 22% across all industries.
With the internet offering people information at the touch of a button, patients behave in a different way today. In fact, nearly half of people diagnose themselves prior to speaking to doctors.
As patient behavior changes, the pharma industry has responded. Now, with digital at the forefront of their strategies, innovative practices are helping to enhance healthcare.
The Internet of Things has brought about a paradigm shift in the pharma sector. As patients demand faster and easier access to healthcare services the davent of IoT can be used to help the sector change and adopt.
An example of that is the transformation of manufacturing and supply processes, which in turn has improved issues in quality control. This can be seen in drug packaging now having tags that monitor temperature, ensuring the products retain their integrity and quality during transit.
Another example is the use of data, with IoT enabling the assembly of data from a range of functions, data can be aggregated and analyzed to provide to stakeholders and also help the complex logistic process run more smoothly using sensors.
Electronic Health Records
The sight of a paper chart at the end of a patient’s bed will soon be a memory. There are multiple benefits to using electronic health records (EHR) instead, as the digital version provides instant updates, security, and better data organization.
This streamlines information sharing in cases where patients move between different hospitals and several doctors, allowing for better treatment.
It is proving so crucial in delivering better healthcare that Apple are looking to get involved and gather patient data through a mobile. In the same way the company suggest music, it could use this data to suggest health interventions through an app.
The technology used by devices like Fitbit gives patients more responsibility in looking out for their own health. Other wearables allow for real-time monitoring of symptoms and vitals, providing status reports and reminders so that patients and medical staff stay informed.
An untapped area, a number of companies are looking to develop wearables that can help to transform heathcare. The Zephyr BioPatch can be attached to collect vital signs, whicle in the US an ingestible pill with a sensor has been approved.
With a vision to empower all people with chronic conditions to live healthier and better lives, the disrupter Livingo uses advanced analytics to create personalized experiences based on technology that didn't exist just 3 years ago.
Using a 'whole person' approach Livongo offers patients care using digital technology to help people manage conditions e.g. using an iPhone fitted with a cellular chip to keep track of sugar levels in diabetes patients.
Just nine years ago, there were less than half a billion global smartphone users. Today, that figure is closer to 3 billion. The telecommunications industry is transforming at an incredible rate, and businesses around the world know it.
A early investor in digfital technology the telecoms sector has used digital to tap into new business models and a globally connected network to access real-time data, customer support and social program to enhance user experience.
According to McKinsey, there is a strong correlation between profit margin and five areas of IT for the telecoms industry:
- Robust Consumer analytics
- Digitization of order management
- Self-service CRM
- Simplified IT interfaces
- Business Automation
Take Google’s move to mobile-first and the rise of messaging apps are changing how people communicate and access information. As a result, declining growth and shrinking profit margins have troubled many businesses in the industry.
To stay competitive, companies are revamping IT services, overhauling core processes and methods to address the customer’s desire for more digital touchpoints.
A prime example is Sprint (recently acquired by T-Mobile in a $24 billion merger). Faced with stiff competition from their rivals, the company invested heavily in modern technology such as AI, putting greater focus on their customer experience.
Recognizing the power of data, they made it their mission to lead the way in machine learning and AI within the telecommunications industry. According to their CIO, Scott Rice Sprint's focus has been
This is a mobile-first world now. Telecom companies must shift their practices to become more customer-centric. Those who do will be in a better position to avail of the opportunities digital presents.
The development of digital is changing the finance industry in many ways. Technologies like cloud computing, analytics, and robotics are among the most innovative digital tools revamping the core of banking and finance.
Now, human error is less likely as machine learning and robots take over. People have financial management at their fingertips, and digital is at the heart of all interactions.
From mobile banking apps and smart ATMs to virtual assistants and chatbots, the future of finance and banking is already quickly taking shape.
Sooner rather than later, human staff will be reduced to a minimum in banking. Not only can the robots do the job faster, there is also widespread consensus that they can offer a superior user experience.
Accenture reports that almost 80% of bankers think advancements in AI will enable banks to offer a “human-like customer experience”, and 76% believe the robots will lead the way in customer interaction within the next three years.
According to Mike Brady, AIG’s global CTO they went about restructuring IT into a single organization to create a new enterprise technology paradigm.
The first stage involved building foundational capabilities that looked at optimizing network performance through self-service, automation and DevOps implementation.
To achieve this, the company developed an advanced robot program that uses built-in algorithmic capabilities, machine learning, and robotic process automation.
Launching a learning virtual engineeer coined as ARIES, the company identified and fixed 60% of outages within just 6 months and just a year later could resolve a number of alerts before they affected the business.
With digital and technology so intertwined, it should come as little surprise that the tech industry is more prepared than most for digital transformation.
Research by eConsultancy indicates that tech companies are twice as likely to class themselves as digital-first, when compared to companies in other industries.
One of the areas they excel at is user experience (UX), as 23% of organizations claim to have a user journey that is well-designed, thus allowing for better communication and transactions.
Having the necessary skills already in place offers tech companies an advantage over others, making it easier to instill a digital culture in the workplace, which is necessary to succeed with a digital transformation.
To date, businesses in the tech industry have been using strategies like coopetition and venture investing to grow in the digital era.
Going forward, there will be a lot of opportunity for tech companies to grow, especially when they are using tools like these:
Cloud computing – This helps companies put data insights to better use, while also making it easier to transform business models and operations.
Flexible consumption – This approach reduces unit costs and allows for “pay as you go” models. Ultimately, flexible consumption enhances the customer relationship.
Cognitive computing – While still a work in progress, cognitive computing improves products, streamlines services and allows companies to make more informed decisions, as they learn to harness the potential of machine learning.
The benefits of investing in these methods have been well demonstrated by Intel, who brought predictive analytics and machine learning into the heart of their strategy for digital transformation, using it in product design to accelerate production time.
A $656 million increase in the valuation of the company justified the move, as production time was slashed by over 8 months.
These four industries are leading, offering important lessons for companies still yet to embrace the change, as well as inspiring other industries in their own journey.
While the methods and cultures may differ, each industry shares a common goal: cater to the customer.
People have expectations that are dictated by widespread access to the internet. They want problems solved faster, products delivered quicker, and questions answered now.
Digital provides a goldmine of resources and tools to serve audiences better than the rest. It allows companies to change the core concept and practices, making it possible to rise above the intense competition their industry.