Society’s problem with technology

Given the broad range of applications, processes, methodologies and gadgets covered under the broad banner of technology, it would be no exaggeration to state that the effective and selective implementation of it is critical to future business success.

tech

Received wisdom would also suggest that technology – or rather the convenience it facilitates – is craved by todays savvy digital consumers. Mobile banking penetration and emptying or closing bank branches stands as but one example of consumer desire for technologically convenient solutions. Given the efficiencies that technologies can generate for consumers, how could there be too much technology?

Despite this narrative, an Edelman study cited 54 percent of consumers as very cynical about new technology, stating ‘business growth or greed/money are the real impetuses behind innovation[1][i].’ It is important that this cynicism does not become internalised within business – digital technologies offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for renewal of a range of business processes and models in the face of a highly uncertain and hyper-competitive business environment. Nevertheless, some important implications need to be drawn from it.

Technology for technology’s sake is a losing proposition, especially if it is perceived as merely a cost-saving tactic. Identifying areas in which it can add value for consumers is essential. Clearly, consumers will not complain about excellent customer service. Predictive analytics, machine learning and the selective use of A.I can all lead to more efficient service, higher levels of personalisation and better customer satisfaction if implemented strategically. It is probable that whilst developing a new value proposition for customer service will act as both a long term revenue generator and perhaps even induce cost savings, the customer perspective is of better service – not more technology.

Providing customer value is absolutely essential to any digital transformation, and this should not be confined to the back-end of the business. Customer facing technology should seek to allow customers to do different things rather than just do things differently – and to simplify the process in question. Increasingly these technologies will become embedded, ‘invisible’ to consumers and provide value rather than an additional clunky interface. Indeed, tomorrow’s winners will be those organisations that selectively and strategically apply digital technologies to be connected, analytical and agile.

[1] There are of course legitimate concerns of security surrounding some technologies such as the IoT, which in the UK is seen as a source of concern to one in every two consumers[1].

[i] http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2016/01/lies-and-the-declining-trust-in-brands.html#.VuloreIrLIU

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