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2017 will see enterprises embrace digital transformation: Bharatesh Salian

Bharatesh Salian, Vice President & Head – Strategy, SapientRazorfish, writes about what has him most excited about digital and social media in 2017. 

India today is at the crossroads of a digital revolution and brands are in the mode of digital re-evolution. Indian brands and consumers are looking at digital being the primary medium of aided discovery of brands, products and services. 

We have also suddenly seen a pure form of forced and non-forced hyper-adoption in digital adoption, the first one being the demonetisation drive (a less cash economy), and second was the launch of Reliance Jio with free 4G speeds for more than six months. 

Lower data prices and improved data speeds will enable higher consumption and better online experience for consumers. Wider reach of Internet and more people upgrading from feature phones to smartphones is good news for online marketplaces. 

With the advent of Reliance Jio and their aggressive data plans, a big portion of the population who were underserved with regard to fast Internet, and hence not comfortable shopping online, are likely to come on board. 

It would also be exciting to see how digital payments could help drive all kinds of digital commerce. The use of social media as a story telling format to drive commerce will redefine the way this media is used. Social media will be used by brands as content distribution platforms that will drive commerce augmented by digital payments. 

Social media will also become a platform to jump start the consumer’s journey, which could be in the form of Web Virtual Reality, Conversational Commerce in the form of artificial intelligence and machine language powered Chatbots. It will also be a platform to deliver a personalised one to one conversation with the audience. 

2017 will also see enterprises embrace digital transformation and not just digital marketing to deliver an enhanced experience to the consumers. Anywhere and everywhere that customers interact with your business, the experience must be consistent and positive. For example, entrepreneurs can use analytics to discover where customers are coming from (whether it’s a social media platform, a blog, or somewhere else) and streamline the interaction in those high-traffic areas. Every touch point matters, and those leading the transformation should constantly be asking how we are removing friction and enhancing the experience for every customer regardless of where they are in the journey. 

However, marketers and brands will also have to adopt the new way of life. They will have to unlearn what they have already learnt till date and relearn the new rules of engagement. They will have to now keep the consumer and the experience that the brand offers in the center stage rather than the traditional method of keeping the brand at the center of the ecosystem. 

I believe that these new trends and technologies will be at the core of transformation efforts in 2017, where digital will have to be one of the key pillars of enterprises and social would be the key discovery and reach medium. Without doubt, digital transformation will no longer be an option as the need to build an organisation that can change both its technology and its culture rapidly. It will be the core of building a business model that is agile, adaptable and designed to thrive long into the future where change is the only constant.

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