In today’s hypercompetitive and customer-centric world, companies that know most about their customers and harness this knowledge achieve the greatest success. While several cross-functional interactions are necessary for customer engagement, they alone are not enough for an organisation to be competitive in today’s evolving business environment. For many organisations, today, agility is difficult to achieve because of a fragmented IT infrastructure and a lack of alignment between front, middle and back office functions which are key to delivering compelling, friction-free customer experiences. This is more so true for organisations in India where the constraints of legacy IT infrastructure and lack of collaboration across company silos make it almost impossible for them to be nimble and responsive to changes in their environment.
For most organisations, the push for digital started to begin in the front office with the focus being on interaction channels and development of digital applications. But this only represents a miniscule part of what a business must do to execute on the customer promise. While a majority of organisations do realise that there is a need to move and go beyond the interaction channel, they often go back to a functional approach to address parts of the issue.
Why organisations in India still follow a fragmented approach?
There exists a number of reasons as to why companies follow a disjointed approach vis-à-vis a more well-rounded approach to evolve and become a fully connected enterprise. One is, companies still find it challenging to get alignment around what customers need and value. Second, a majority of them still tackle customer-centricity independently, since it is easier to marshal. All of this, however, contributes to the lack of a futuristic vision, if we are looking at assembling the different pieces of the puzzle
i.e. the digital architecture, the road ahead and the basic blueprint. Though each of the mentioned functions may bring something valuable to the table, they are not working in tandem. The need of the hour is to move away from this fragmented approach and interweave all of these capabilities together and move towards the larger goal/plan. How organisations and CEOs are rising up to the challenge
The answer to this is a connected enterprise approach, which if followed throughout the organisation, could help in meeting customer expectations and improving business performance. Despite the fragmented approach, there is good news for India. According to KPMG in India’s 2019 CEO Outlook report: Agile or Irrelevant: Redefining Resilience,
77 per cent of CEOs in the country are focusing on greater cross-functional alignment and are working towards ensuring a strong connection between the front, middle and back offices. In a way, they are pivoting from how their predecessors operated the company.
Findings of the report suggest that a lot of high-performing organisations are working towards increasing their efforts towards becoming more connected by making significant investments across core enterprise capabilities. These include engaging with customers with a value proposition, ensuring employees follow through on that value proposition, breaking down silos between the front, middle and back office, connecting with channel and business partners and keeping abreast of market and digital signals i.e. being able to interpret, react and respond accordingly to the marketplace. Most importantly, business leaders in India today feel a growing responsibility to deliver a smooth purchase journey and superior customer experiences.
A connected enterprise approach
Some of the benefits of following this approach include understanding what customers need, achieving the said needs by offering the intended experience profitably and helping organisations become responsive and resilient when it comes to evolving with the changing consumer and competitive landscape.
Business leaders are now cognizant of the fact that there is a lot of value in staying connected with customers. And this is just the beginning. As businesses in India surge, a connected enterprise approach, comprising alignment of all office functions and integration of IT infrastructure, will come to become one of the top agendas for CEOs in the country. Since it pays to be connected, we will see a lot of organisations developing stakeholder groups that collectively bring the company together effectively, to execute this approach and thereby become resilient, enjoy better returns, and of course, happier customers.
Vikram Hosangady is Partner and Head, Advisory, at KPMG in India.