This IDC Manufacturing Insights blog highlights recent events hosted by Atos, TCS, and Hexaware and the innovative projects these companies are undertaking with manufacturers to build customer centricity.
Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to gain insight into some of the innovative projects manufacturers are embarking upon in the realm of customer engagement. Many times, the manufacturer engages with an IT Services vendor to support the initiative strategically and/or tactically.
What strikes me is the language these manufacturers are using to describe their efforts – there is a common theme of “supporting the customer journey” with creative agency tools like UX design, journey mapping, and eye tracking. And, manufacturers are applying these tools to field service management, customer self-service portals, and other aspects of the service lifecycle. It is remarkable that the language of customer centricity has permeated almost every corner of aftermarket service, for manufacturers as diverse as those that make and service residential elevators to those who make cars. Below several highlights from events I recently attended hosted by three global IT services companies, Atos, TCS, and Hexaware, exemplify this rising customer centricity across the manufacturing sector.
In April, Atos, a global IT services company, held its 2016 Analyst & Advisor Global Conference in Boston. During the event, Atos made several announcements related to its work supporting customer centricity for manufacturers. One highlighted a partnership with ClickFox, a provider of “journey analytics,” that illustrates Atos' commitment to using data analytics to drive digital transformation with its customers. Specifically, the ClickFox CEA Platform is the foundation of the Atos Elastic Journey Cloud that will be used to aggregate data from numerous sources and help identify "data journeys" for Atos customers to optimize their customers' experiences.
Speaking of experiences, Atos has a very visible customer experience project about to go live. Atos will be responsible for the mobile traffic of information for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. As part of its role of being the overall prime integrator of the Games, being part of the IOC for 20 years and now until 2024, the company will be responsible for maintaining response times of faster than half a second for the more than 8 billion devices anticipated to be in service at the Olympics, with users ranging from participants to spectators, providing them with real-time information and results. The example emphasizes how customer experience can be mission critical.
At the TCS Innovation Forum held May 2, 2016, in New York City, there was much talk about manufacturers adapting to the new customer-centric world. During a panel discussion titled "Adapting the Enterprise to the Hyper-Connected World," an executive at GE Digital advised the audience that the best way to gain funding for a new customer-centric initiative is to bring the value proposition and an early customer win to the CEO, demonstrating how the initiative solves the customer's problem. The message for the audience conveyed the imperative for taking action along their digital transformation journey, particularly around creating consistent omni-experiences that drive competitive value and increase the lifetime value of customers. TCS also demonstrated some of its digital offerings such as the use of glasswear in warehouse management and with service technicians, customer self-service portals, and manufacturing ecommerce offerings.
Another interesting session during the afternoon centered on the user experience in manufacturing. A UX expert from TCS walked the audience through some of the trends in UX for manufacturers, such as the emerging consistency in design patterns, designing for the "experience moment," and usability testing. A key message was that UX is an investment in customer outcomes, and manufacturers are wise to invest resources in UX research from the concepting stage of a new product, application, or customer portal.
At Hexaware Rising, an industry analyst day held by Hexaware in June in Boston, there was an overarching theme of supporting digital transformation through customer centricity. The company shared details around its Digital Practice, helping manufacturers increase their customer centricity by applying Design Thinking to the customer relationship. Working within the User Interface (UX) design paradigm, Hexaware applies tools including customer journey mapping to help ensure that manufacturers’ UX design is right for every “customer” touchpoint, including partners, employees and consumers. This approach is necessary to ensure that traditional manufacturers aren’t replaced with digital-first competitors.
As manufacturers move further down the path of their own digital transformation, the need to incorporate design-thinking into customer experience initiatives will become a foregone conclusion. Adding Innovation Accelerators like Augmented Reality, Cognitive Systems, IoT and 3D Printing will further expand the ways to engage and delight customers with technology. Those companies that haven’t yet started experimenting with journey mapping or UX design should do so in an effort to build their customer centricity.
Subscribers to IDC Manufacturing Insights Service Innovation and Connected Products can access the complete reports from the events here.