The role of the SI when AI meets EI
Author: Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies
There was a time when IT systems were formed of discrete islands, invariably unconnected, and therefore only partially productive. Tools were chosen to help staff do their jobs. However, their selection didn’t necessarily take into consideration whether they would help to get the job done in a way that matched consumers’ actual service preferences.
Luckily, things are changing and brands have become aware of the huge business value inherent in exceeding customer and staff expectations. New technology, delivery and access methods such as cloud, mobile and web services are unlocking previously hidden potential for competitive differentiation. The new battlegrounds are called digital transformation, customer experience and data analytics, and these mean most established businesses need to break up old, encrusted organizational structures, re-imagine business processes and implement adaptive technology to continue nimble operations in the Digital Age.
On paper, it’s easy enough to get there: You define your vision, set business goals, update and align your technology strategy accordingly, and devise an all-encompassing digital transformation programme that will be implemented by a project group, most likely spearheaded by IT. But the reality is harsher. Often there isn’t the luxury of time to engage the IT and Business teams to review the here and now, to readjust your goals and strategic direction, or to consider how technology could be aligned to meet the needs of the business, let alone of its customers.
To complicate matters further, there is so much technology out there it can be hard to see what is right for your business and how it should be applied, whilst users have conflicting demands borne out of their job roles and personal work styles. Adding to the challenge is the fact that business and IT leaders are often unaware of the extraordinary possibilities of communications technology, which is why a system integrator (SI) could come in extremely handy.
A system integration partner worth its salt will, firstly, bring the technical savvy to, well, integrate your digital technology islands and enable fast and free (big) data flows and information sharing organisation-wide.
Secondly, a good SI will help you hit your user and customer experience goals, so you can do away with unruly Shadow IT internally and appropriately respond to your customers’ service preferences and behaviors externally – all from one simple-to-use and easy-to-govern integrated business communications solution.
Thirdly, the best system integrators understand the sometimes conflicting, but often complementary, relationship between automation and personalisation, the two key ingredients that propel operational efficiency and drive customer experience respectively. Believe it or not, once you automate repetitive, low-key customer interactions, you typically free up time for your customer service team to tackle complex enquiries, to personalise high-value sales interactions or, simply, to deliver new services.
If done right, integrated digital platforms together with effective automation, customer personalisation, analytics, and simple, collaborative and contextual applications free up resource to deliver value-added business activities; reduce time and complexity for customers; and lower the cost to serve for organisations.
The role of the system integrator is to advise how you could get more value out of your digital platforms, to assist in technology road mapping and implementation, and to help you find that sweet spot between automation and personalisation that makes work more productive for your employees and makes your customers happy.