Anuj Vaid is Executive Director at CMS IT Services. He is responsible for executing CMS IT’s strategic agenda and contributes to the entire revenue generation chain. His role spans strategy development, practice leadership (automation, cybersecurity, digital, cloud &datacenter), sales enablement, and ecosystem partnerships.
For CEOs – no matter what their industry or geography – 2022 is going to be the year they focus intensely on elevating the digital experience. Why? Because, after two years of living and working virtually, users have much higher expectations from their online interactions.
Consumers have rapidly adopted new technology. For example, EY’s Global Fintech Adoption Index ranks India at number one. Similarly, online learning, app-based delivery of essentials, and family-wide video calls have pushed many users to invite more and more digital experiences into their lives, teeing us up for the eventual adoption of a global metaverse.
These digital-native users are the new market-shapers. Their ambitious expectations are setting new standards and changing how entire industries function. How well and how fast you are able to respond will determine your ability to attract customers and meet high growth targets.
Like it or not, the CEO priority in 2022 will be creating human-centered, sustainable virtual experiences that fulfill and even exceed ambitious user expectations. To keep your customers happy, you will need to create and deliver a variety of new digital experiences, even as you strive to keep operations functioning smoothly, and enable organization-wide innovation.
That’s no easy task, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Great Resignation. Because of the unprecedented attrition and the war for tech talent, companies are hard-pressed to deliver on their customer commitments and expectations. CEOs are urgently tasked with shaping a sustainable culture that attracts and retains the right talent.
Employee priorities are shifting largely because of the two years of disruption we’ve experienced. People have a deep desire to do more meaningful things with their time. They want to work with purpose and they want to know that their actions are creating a visible impact for customers and society at large.
The pandemic-age employees demand a flexible and frictionless environment. They expect an organization that seamlessly supports asynchronous working and allows for individual flexibility. They want more transparent and agile workflows that enable them to focus on the things/tasks/activities that truly matter and not waste time on bureaucratic hurdles and inane activities. Given these expectations, enterprise success will rely heavily on how much friction you are able to eliminate from your operations, both for the employees and the customers.
This can’t just be done by adopting a new handbook, setting new rules for employees, and making some adjustments in leadership styles. It requires proactive configuration of the technological infrastructure that can actualize the best workflows while minimizing some of the threats created by hybrid work. HRtech, Martech, and Govtech are some of the more obvious examples. Smart CEOs will embrace this transformation as challenging, exciting, and essential.
As CEOs build this new digital-forward enterprise, what technology choices will help them eliminate the most friction?
Cloud computing has already proved its worth in keeping businesses afloat (and even thriving) during the pandemic. Cloud-native models that span the spectrum of infrastructure and applications – including data center, network management, end user management, and cybersecurity – will continue to be the best way to achieve and sustain infinite scale.
As companies race to reduce operational friction, there will be a surge in the adoption of distributed and multi-cloud systems, SaaS delivery models, open standards, advanced analytics, and mobility solutions.
Automation at scale is used to deliver a 360 degree frictionless experience.Tedious, repetitive and error-prone human interactions will be increasingly eliminated and replaced by bots, rapidly creating efficiencies and scale for customer operations.
Apart from the obvious advantage of freeing up time and energy for workers that would be better directed to human-requisite tasks, process automation integrated into a comprehensive cloud system can generate a positive feedback, with digitized enterprise operations through cloud services better enabling automation of some domains, and some automation continually tuning the cloud setup.
ML and AI, paired with data and analytics, allow you to deliver more individualized, contextualized experiences over channels of the user’s choosing. Marketers have long used personalization to deliver tailored recommendations, content, offers, and experiences, across all channels and devices, along the entire customer journey. The same concept can be extended to your employees to provide a truly flexible, individualized work setting.
Be it recruiting, onboarding, staff communications, employee benefits, or learning and development, personalization can transform and elevate the employee experience beyond recognition.
Delay in decision-making creates the most friction for employees. To accelerate decision-making, harness real-time data and analytics.
A modern data system – with real-time data processing, analytics-driven insights,and AI/ML models to fine tune the system – provides the visibility you need to adapt to swiftly changing priorities, drive productivity, and invest for growth.
As always – and more so because of hybrid working making the enterprise perimeter porous – cybersecurity will be one of the biggest threats to the organization. Enterprises are going to need multiple strategies, frameworks, and methodologies to embed security throughout the architecture to prevent malicious agents from accessing their most critical assets and the data flowing through them.
Treating identity as the new access and adopting a zero-trust posture will help us deal with this. Zero trust is grounded in the tenets of defensible cybersecurity, operational resilience, and defense-in-depth principles to deliver an overarching secure enterprise architecture.
As we march into 2022, I want to leave you with this one thought. If ever there was a time to be customer obsessed, it’s now. It’s time to follow our customer’s lead and make bold moves to create a brave new experience economy. An economy that puts our customers – internal (employees) and external (users, vendors, partners) – center stage and allows our people to deliver extraordinary value even in the time of global upheaval.