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April - 2016 - issue > CEO Insight
Inventive Technology Enabling Better Customer Experience
Vedant Pathak
CEO-APN Consulting
Friday, April 1, 2016
Technology has been constantly changing, but the last few years it has taken a different turn into the digital world. Companies who missed this exit will have to drive a long way before taking a u-turn to re-enter.

Cloud is no longer a "buzz-word." It is a reality. If you still worry about the security of data and are skeptical of using the cloud, then look again. In a similar example, social media is a new means of communication that arrived a few years ago, but has turned into something completely different. It is not just a place where you post what you ate, drank and where you partied; it has the means to grow revenue. If you have any doubt, check Facebook's earnings for this quarter and the extraordinary growth of LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc. Data Analytics is another area where small & medium sized businesses believe other "technical jargon."Are you able to take advantage of the data you have or you are still struggling in that field? Hardware and new gadgets are another area that has surfaced in the last few years. Wearable devices have been identified as new basic human needs. Man is a new "social-media" animal.

There are a few developments and transformations in the technical world which have changed the course of business. First of all, the CEO and CIO of a company are now married to each other and cannot get a divorce even if they wanted to. They sail the ship together in one direction rather than taking individual boats in opposing directions. It is of great importance for them to work together. Second, information technology is no longer an expense but a way to drive your business. Even if you are a small or medium sized business, information technology plays a vital role in growth. Third, social media has made the "global" word "local." Now you can be local to your place and reach people instantly anywhere in the world. Also, data analytics would really help you in segmenting the target and pitching different messages to different groups. "Big data" is not required, but "right data" is important. Being a CEO, you should have access to the right data and be able to make sense out of it. If you have no handle on your existing clientele data parameters, new prospects, or leads data, chances are that your investment in IT is not generating any ROI.

This technological change has given a sudden jolt to organizations' culture as well. With technology at everyone's fingertips, things like working from home, video conferencing and even usage of social media during office hours has become an accepted norm of the business. If your team includes the younger generation, it is a totally different experience. As a leader, are you handling this in a different way or screaming at younger generation? Have you realized that we are the first generation who is learning from their younger generation? Never before in history has this happened. Have you started taking their input in social media strategy and asking them the latest way to communicate, share and reach your global clientele? As a leader, are you in the forefront of newer technologies and taking its full advantages in your business? Technology is enabling customer experience to be better and vocal, which means that you have to be at your best at all times and with all the customers.

We are at the cusp of the new digital world where no boundaries are defined. When was the last time local companies had a global reach? When was the last time a newer company or technology could upstage a well-established company? Kodak or Uber are great examples of that situation. Kodak could not survive as it did not change with the times. Uber was founded in 2009 and has had mammoth growth since then. Please don't forget, it is not a taxi service, it is an IT company that enables drivers and passengers to interact using their platform.

I believe these are golden times and we are fortunate to be still alive and running our businesses. Please do not drown yourself in all the jargons and start doing all the things simultaneously. Please check your business requirement and see which low hanging fruit would have the most impact on your business quickly. Embrace and adapt new technologies. Don't see them as your foes but see them as a very dear friend. As a business leader, allocate more hours weekly to understand the new technology yourself and see how this can differentiate you from the pack. You may not be computer science major, but try understanding what new technology can do for you. Wear the student cap again and ask your kids or grandkids "How do I do this on the web?"
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