Digital Mindset: The New Normal

Date:   Thursday , June 30, 2016

Headquartered in Pune, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv and Allianz SE. The Company offers various general insurance products like motor insurance, home insurance, health insurance, travel insurance and also unique insurance plans such as wedding insurance, event Insurance, film insurance and others.

Technology is an inseparable part of every aspect of our lives. Today, information is power and having it on one\'s fingertips is a basic necessity. To prosper in this world, leaders need a different level of thinking - they require a digital mindset. A digital mindset is not only about using technology, but also about changing the way we operate in the world, in our community and in our professions. As per the Accenture Technology Vision 2016, digital accounted for 22 percent of the world\'s economy in 2015. It will rise to 25 percent by 2020, a 10 percent increase since 2005.

The report elaborates that in an age where digital is in the spotlight, true leaders will create a work environment where people will be prioritized. Hence, it is imperative that organizations enable employees with tools to disrupt the status quo in this digital age.

Digital-Minded Leadership: Old Wine in New Bottle

Leaders across the world have understood the impact of \'digital\' on businesses. The focus is now on adapting to this new digital world. In my view, a digital leader should be able to weave the experience of a veteran mind with the expectations of his youngest customer, aptly known as \'digital natives\' to deliver \'WOW\' customer service. The leader should be able to embrace new business strategies and learn, unlearn and relearn new skills. Organizations may need to raise an army of in-house entrepreneurs to ride on the digital wave and grow business.

The digitization revolution is changing the way companies make and sell products and reach customers. For decision making, data and customer sentiment play a key role. Leaders cannot do this by sitting in their corner office; they need to figure out where their customers are present. According to, 61 percent of Fortune500 CEOs had no social media presence in 2015. American Family Insurance CEO, Jack Salzwedel, who is the most engaged (Fortune 500) CEO in the world, said that social media has helped him find a leadership niche for himself and his company in a competitive industry. IESE Business School has represented the qualities of a digital-minded leader based on their conversations with executives and reviews of cases on digital transformation.

Why is Digital Mindset Important?

A digital mindset is about two things: First, use of technology to bring different perspectives; and second, to understand development of customer behaviour and expectations about your business and sector, which is crucial in getting ahead of trends that can deliver or destroy value.

Organisational structures need to undergo transformation along with technological advancements for companies to enhance their digital capabilities. For example, Valve, a U.S. based software company has no hierarchy or defined strategy. It relies on the shared philosophy and sense of responsibility of its employees, who choose their own projects and form their teams to execute them. Valve has been four times more productive than Google or Apple in terms of market capitalization per employee and 10 times more productive than peers in the video industry.

Shoe and apparel e-tailer, Zappos offers its new joinees $3,000 to leave the company after four weeks of joining, thereby eliminating employees who are not motivated to align themselves with the company\'s obsession of customer focus. Many would argue that these structures are too ambitious for large organizations to adopt, but weren\'t we equally critical about the potential of companies like Airbnb, Uber and even Facebook?

How to Inculcate, Nurture & Prosper Digital Mind-set?

Level 1: Change at Personal Level: Though digital mind-set involves using technology, being surrounded with digital technology does not mean someone is digital. The person has to exhibit certain digital behaviour and way of thinking to become a digital individual. To inculcate the digital mind-set in an organisation, we have to start with our own mindset and ensure we open ourselves to new ways of doing things.

Level 2: Organisational Change: For an organisation-wide change, the route is not set in stone. Leading the organisation means empowering employees and ensuring a culture of creation and innovation. The key is permitting incessant flow of information and collaboration across the organisation. Take time to understand the talent pool you are trying to hire by thinking of them in the same fashion as you do for your customers. Your company website is a digital test drive of your brand; make sure it reflects your organisation\'s culture and digital foresightedness.

Level 3: Change in Interacting with Customers: While the individual and organisation are important in driving the digital mindset, it is the customers who are the most important drivers of change. The outbreak of digital technologies has conceived \'empowered\' consumers. They are experts in their use information and call the shots on what, when and how they want.

Historically, companies have been trying to anticipate the customer\'s decision and position themselves between these decision journeys. Though with a digital mindset companies can leverage the trends to shape consumers\' decision journeys and enhance their experience of a brand to gain competitive advantage, with digital capability, organisations can track customers\' activities in real time. However, digital intelligence doesn\'t simply mean capturing customer credentials, but it also includes the capability to predict each prospect\'s next purchase or a developing need or interest.

In the insurance sector as well, employing a digital mindset has far-reaching consequences. Given the lack of right distribution infrastructure, one of the biggest challenges faced by Indian insurers is to reach newer markets. The growth of digital platforms has paved the way for them to reach out to customers even in remotest corners of the country. This digital explosion has led to the rise of well-informed customers, increasing insurers\' chances of forging stronger relationships and delivering right solutions.

As businesses continue to evolve, digital infrastructure would become a major point of difference. To succeed, organisations must take multi-pronged approach by leveraging digital technology to deliver better business outcomes. Digital is no more a part of our lives; it has become a way of life for most of us.