This IDC Manufacturing Insights blog provides highlights from a recent report that describes 36 specific use cases for digital transformation (DX) that are targeted at delivering greater customer engagement for manufacturers in their respective industries.
The relationship between the customer and the manufacturer has experienced a notable shift over the past five years, as an increasingly digital-centric world informs how consumers interact with brands. This, in turn, influences how business customers interact with the manufacturers that provide them with equipment, machines, products and services. Today, service management, supplier relations, channel management, product management, and quality control join marketing and sales as stewards of maintaining and ensuring positive and consistent customer experiences. Our IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Product and Service Innovation 2017 Predictions highlights this trend: "By 2020, 60% of global manufacturers will be in the process of integrating their product, supply chain, and service systems for optimization of products and the customer experience."
This customer experience focus is evident in the investments manufacturers are making in technology to support greater customer centricity. In response to the demand for new technologies and experiences built on the 3rd Platform, IDC has developed a body of research to guide manufacturers through digital transformation across several key dimensions, one of which is omni-experience DX. For more information about our DX Use Case Taxonomies for Manufacturers, which are free to view, click here.
We have identified the first 36 use cases that highlight how manufacturers in each manufacturing value chain — asset oriented, brand oriented, engineering oriented, and technology oriented — can incrementally accomplish digital transformation in customer experience, delivering tangible results to all stakeholders and supporting a broader DX mission. Traditional approaches and the systems, processes, and technologies that have been in place are incapable of supporting the omni-experience customers demand. That is why manufacturers are turning to digital transformation, or DX, to enable the new rules of customer engagement.
What are some of these use cases? Below are a few of the prominent use cases in which we are seeing activity and technology investment by manufacturers as they seek to increase customer engagement. The complete details for the 36 use cases related to customer engagement can be found in the recently published DX Use Cases that Highlight the New Rules of Customer Engagement in Manufacturing.
- 360-degree customer experience. This use case results in creating a digital platform that allows the customer to connect with the manufacturer in an anywhere/anyway manner that captures and catalogs customer interactions across touchpoints, delivering a seamless experience and providing the manufacturer with unfettered visibility into the entire customer lifecycle. Common technologies that support this use case are cloud, mobile, social, and cognitive. Additionally, in some manufacturing industries like those that are brand-oriented, Innovation Accelerators like Augmented Reality are used to create "experiential" shopping experiences that facilitate social interactions between the customer and merchant.
- Multi-tier configure, price, quote (CPQ). This use case enables manufacturers that sell through channels to optimize the flow of information about product configurations, pricing and discounts, and service contracts to sales associates that may be internal or external to the manufacturer. It often includes a cloud-based CPQ application platform, and increasingly leverages mobile, industry clouds, and cognitive functionality to optimize configurations and pricing. One of my recent blogs discusses the role of CPQ for customer engagement, which you can read here.
- Application store platform. This use case is prevalent in the engineering-oriented and technology-oriented manufacturing value chains. Manufacturers are eager to build applications and digital services that provide value to their customers, making them available through an app store construct. The ubiquity of the mobile device for consumers and employees has created a new vehicle through which manufacturers can deliver value and an experience parallel to the personal digital lives that are prevalent today. Cloud, mobile, analytics, and blockchain are all key technologies that will enable this use case.
These DX use cases for customer engagement above are merely a sampling of the group we have collected to describe the initial ways in which manufacturers are infusing their customer interactions with technologies and digital capabilities. The era of customer centricity is upon us, and the bottom line for manufacturers is to do SOMETHING to increase their customer engagement. Otherwise, they risk being disrupted by those companies that are finding ways to engage with customers that build loyalty, increase sales, and ultimately delight.