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Digital disruptions: Survival of the smartest

Look around and chances are you would find more connected devices than humans! Our existence is more virtual – given the amount of time one spends on social media or thumbing through various apps – than physical. Resultantly, we are more digital than social animals (no pun intended)! And, companies that understood this, adapting quickly to the changed paradigm are the ones that are on the path to sustained growth.

The 21st century enterprise
The 21st century enterprises are born digital – digital infrastructures and digitized business models are their currency. Disruption is in their nature, they are invested in future without the burden of legacy processes and obsolete technologies. And this is where the companies of past century face the toughest challenge – the speed of digitization, given the limitation imposed by legacy structures and business processes.

Companies riding the digital disruption
Companies that made digital their weapon are the ones who set the rules. Take Tesla, it is more a digital transformation enterprise than an automobile company. With its software download and intuitive customer facing technologies it has far outranked its nearest competitors.

Similarly, Uber is not just a taxi service, it’s convenience for customers driven by technology. The company has changed the way people travel and is continuously to pre-empting customer need and demand. Including Autorickshaws and even Motorbikes in its ambit to meet local expectations is an example of it being a thinking enterprise.

Closer home Dabur, an old brand reinvented its marketing strategy to effectively use digital space for storytelling and two-way communication with its core customer base- the Indian women, a strong 80 million internet using constituency. With its specifically crafted video campaigns across social channels it gained a 245 per cent jump in brand recall and association.

Thanks to the smartphone revolution Yash Raj Films, the banner that gave us many a Bollywood blockbusters, has completely reinvented the promotion wheel focusing on “digital first”. Leveraging digital, the company now tweaks its strategy based on responses it receives on its content. This helps them de-risk vulnerable investments and find the right segment to connect to.

Kotak Mahindra Bank, a relatively new entrant in a banking market dominated by public banks, has found it’s connect through the digital language. By seamlessly incorporating social networking with mainstream banking, it has moved 90 per cent of its customer transactions outside branch and increased mobile banking consumers by 30 per cent.

Building digital disruption roadmap
Now the question is what is that these fast growing organizations have in common? Or in other words what is the framework for success in the era of digital disruption. A careful study of these disparate enterprises reveals some common threads.

1. Define digital strategy: Stop thinking products or services, think experiences that you aim to deliver and enable it through digital technologies. A comprehensive, intuitive and futuristic digital strategy that cuts across silos of BUs and processes must drive the business goal.

2. Be the customer: Think, visualise, improvise and implement your products and services just as your customer would have imagined it. This requires the ability to know the customer as intimately as his soul. And, this means digging deep into data, harvesting it and analysing it threadbare to gain actionable insights, on time, everytime.

3. Digital workforce: You would be aware of the hottest new role in the market – that of Chief Digital Officer. The CDO is not head of a particular department, but one who looks at the entire organisation through digital lenses and reshapes the infrastructure and processes to the demands of digital era. This is a top-driven initiative and needs executive buy-in. Digital now defines the very persona of an enterprise. Interestingly, a recent study found 82 percent of employees expect digital to change the way they work in the next three years. And, of course this change is bound to reflect in their deliverables too.

4. Stay start up at heart: The hunger and passion of a start-up is essential to stay ahead in the digital era. Being on our toes, with ears to the ground and the ability to challenge the hitherto invincible models is what drives innovation. Tomorrow must begin today and business leaders must have a vision much beyond the horizon.

By Apurva Chamaria, author, You Are the Key & digital marketing influencer.

‘You are the Key – Unlocking doors through social selling’ is a social selling book written by Apurva Chamaria, Head of Global Brand & Digital Front Office at HCL Technologies and Gaurav Kakkar, Associate General Manager at HCL Technologies. The book talks about the future of business using social selling and also about B2B social media marketing for social selling.

Apurva Chamaria

Apurva Chamaria heads global Brand & Digital Marketing for HCL Technologies (HCLT), a USD 6.5 Bn IT company and is responsible for brand marketing, employer brand, employee marketing, thought-leadership marketing , proposition development and marketing and digital marketing. Under his leadership HCLT debuted at InterBrand Top 100 Indian Brands at No. 19 and grew 35% y-o-y on brand value and in the Brand Finance Global 500 2015 at No. 497 with a brand value of USD 3.1 Bn. In the last 2 years the HCLT campaigns have won 40 prestigious global and regional brand and marketing awards. This 10 years at HCLT, he’s performed various roles including being CEO’s Vineet Nayar's EA, Sales Director at HCL America driving business development and leading Marketing and Strategy for Enterprise Applications Business.