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Digital Transformation

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Digital Transformation has brought several changes in our lives, changes in technology, processes, workflow, communication, and even overall services and products. But more changes will come in near future due to millennials getting active in workforce environment.

 

Millennials are those who are born after 1985 and grown up with the internet. They are the first to grow up surrounded by digital technologies like broadband internet, home computers, video games, social media, and smartphones. They don’t know what is a floppy drive or audio tape or beeper.

 

Millennials are very different from their parents and grandparents. While my wife and I prefer to go jewelry shop and buy something for us, my daughter will order anything and everything on Amazon. So much cross-selling is happening to them that they take the decision in a split of the second.

 

Millennials employ a variety of devices and are omnichannel to conduct research prior to a purchase and expect a seamless experience across every channel. 

 

On-demand is a way of life for them. They use mobile apps for transferring money, checking balances and getting loan approvals, or calling an Uber, watching movies they like.

 

Further, they believe in using all the mobile payments like apple pay, google wallet or Samsung pay more than cash. This way ATM machines will vanish from the streets as the telephone booth had gone. 

 

P2P payments like Paytm are made more popular by millennials leading to less use of cheques or cards.

 

They prefer to have the digital relationship with the service provider – whether it is a bank or telephone or insurance. They don’t want to visit physical branches anymore and want to get all their problems solved immediately – digitally.

 

They value their time more than anything and instead of driving around to buy products they want to buy, they prefer online shopping.

 

They are faster at adopting the innovative technologies like IoT, Augmented/Virtual reality, wearables or Artificial Intelligence enabled digital assistants.

 

This has led to more and more businesses becoming digital to service them.

 

 

As we enter a time where millennials begin to dominate the global workforce, it is important to acknowledge and understand what they are bringing to the table and how times have changed and evolved for all generations.

A perspective on advanced western economies - US, Europe (Originally posted on LinkedIn). 

Digitisation of the telecom sector – better later than never!

It is fair for the telecom industry to take adequate pride for facilitating digitisation across sectors. One should take cognizance of the fact that but for the mobility and connectivity enabled by the telecom players, the rapid rise of the Ubers and the PayPals of the world wouldn’t have been possible. The sector, in its modesty, actually paved way for industry buzzwords such as ‘e-wallets’, ‘e-health, ‘e-retail’, ‘e-travel’, among others. But what is surprising is that the sector itself has been left behind in creating enough value for itself, which has of course impacted revenue growths and margins.2 In fact, telecom stands only second to media in digital disruption, as highlighted in a 2016 study by HBR.1 Nevertheless, there is always an opportunity to pivot – important is how one adopts and executes. 

 

 

The similar goes for the telecom sector, which is now trying to digitise its core by the following means:

  • Building talent and capabilities
  • Using data-driven analytics for streamlining businesses
  • Harnessing digital channels for customer engagement; at the same time improving experience across touch-points
  • Integrating products and services from adjacent industries to spread across the value-chain

Customer experience at the heart of digitisation

At the heart of this transition lies customer experience – making buying experiences simpler, easier, faster, IMMERSIVE, ENTERTAINING, and MEMORABLE. From a buying perspective, the first three quite very well defines online, whereas the last three indicates what a retail store can offer. To delve deeper, and adequately answer whether in the western economies mobile stores will continue to have a relevance in the digital world, let us review some statistics2:

 

The above data highlights that consumers will want to do more than the mundane with their mobile phones – more immersive experiences using AR and VR; and more connectivity to things around them. So, although as per a Mckinsey analysis3, investing in digital sales had enabled some of the telecom leaders to boost revenues by 30 percent, doing away with retail stores had never been indicated, because the emphasis is always on greater customer experience across various touch-points – both digital and physical. 
Similarly, important it is to use data-driven consumer insights to decide what sells well online vis-a-vis offline, thus, creating and selling appropriate product-service bundle across various channels. 

Telecom’s foray to media, entertainment and IoT – necessitates the need for next-gen retail stores, for better customer experience

As discussed earlier, reciprocating to digitisation and in an effort to create compelling value proposition, the telecom companies, particularly in the US, are looking towards expanding their core offerings, foraying into content, media, entertainment, and connectivity. Let us have a look at the following examples:

  • Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo (2017)4; acquisition of Fleetmatics and Telogis in the Telematics space5 (2016)
  • AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner6 (2017)
  • Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Singtel, and Telefónica - joint selection of start-ups in the IoT space to develop newer technologies (2017)7

 

All these indicative of the changing business models of these companies, who are now beginning to offer solutions, which are more experience-driven - prompting the need for consumers to visit physical stores. The change is also from ‘traditional retail stores’ to ‘next-gen retail stores’, which provide immersive experiences and engage deeply with customers. Take Verizon’s next-gen retail store for example, which is intuitive, consumer-friendly, store-staff friendly, and takes retail store experience to a new level. Verizon’s head of design highlights that the entire look and feel is the outcome of research, which gave them several insights that got translated into meaningful designs, namely:

 

Customers want the same experience as that of online – The Verizon store has a ‘Suggested Items’ section next to complementary products – just like online purchasing

 

Many shoppers come with an idea in mind, having done some online research – hence, the store allows adequate touch and feel of the products

 

Technology should not be used just for the sake of it – Verizon has not gone completely bot-crazy stating that customers don’t come to stores just for a transactional interaction, but for deeper human expertise. Although, bots can be used for admin purposes, so that store staffs can engage in more interactive discussions.

 

The store also has a collaboration/social zone (coffee shop), where customers can come together and discuss technology. A large amount of the floor space has also been dedicated to Virtual Reality experience, which takes the store experience to a whole new level.

 

Verizon is not just the only one; AT&T has begun launch of its concept entertainment stores, offering modern merchandise such as virtual reality and streaming devices. Again, the experience is very much digital – no cash registers, and employees use iPhone to process orders.

Melissa Bahoora, director of sales for the Greater Los Angeles Area, AT&T says9, “If you think of AT&T, you think of a place to get your phone. We wanted a place where you could get other things as well — like your TV service.” – indicating that the telecom companies of today want to spread across products and services, to become a one-stop stop, to create long-lasting customer relation, and improve their overall value proposition.

 

 

So, although most of these companies are investing and exploring various digital touch-points such as mobile-apps, social media, and virtual assistants, their focus on offline retail stores continues, with a bigger objective and momentum.

Perhaps, this is not the right time yet for the telecom operators to close down their stores. Thriving in ‘VUCA’ times is tough, but seems like the telecom players want to fight along.

 

Source:

1 ‘’The Industries That Are Being Disrupted the Most by Digital,’’ – by Harvard Business review, 2016

2 “How telecom companies can win in the digital revolution,’’ – by Mckinsey, 2016

3 “Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2016–2021,” - White Paper by CISCO

4 CNBC News Article

5 Verizon Annual Report - 2016

6 Forbes Article

7 WebWire Article

8 “What can we Learn from Verizon’s Next Gen Retail Experiences?” – Huffington Post, 2017

9 The Orange County Register, 2017

 

Originally Published at:  Natural Language Processing with IBM Watson and Stanford NLP – For latest updates and trends subscribe Zerone Consulting… 

 

Understanding Natural Language with IBM Watson

IBM Watson is one of the most prominent Natural Language Processing tools that supports information retrieval via question answering. Watson is guiding us with decision-making in literally any domain, such as weather, healthcare, insurance, banking, media and more. Let us see how IBM Watson works through an example.

We will analyze how Watson NLP works using the demo available on the IBM website.

  • Open the following URL in a browser

https://natural-language-understanding-demo.mybluemix.net/

  • Enter a sample text as shown in the following screenshot:

IBM Watson NLP Analysing Interface

  • Once you enter the text in the text box, click Analyze.
  • Click on the required parameter to get the corresponding results.

Currently, Watson provides text analysis against seven parameters as shown above – Sentiment, Emotion, Keywords, Entities, Categories, Concept, and Sematic roles. We are sharing two of the results for your reference:

Watson NLP Interface parameters

Watson NLP interface parameters detail

Natural Language Processing with Stanford NLP

Stanford NLP provides human language technology tools that can provide the base forms of words and their parts of speech. It can identify whether the words are names of companies or people. Stanford NLP is an integrated NLP toolkit with a wide range of grammatical analysis tools. It supports a number of human languages and supports high quality text analytics. Stanford can be run as a simple web service and APIs are available for most of the latest programming languages.

We will analyze how Stanford NLP works using the demo available on their website.

  • Open the following URL in a browser

http://corenlp.run/

  • Enter a sample text as shown in the following screenshot:

Stanford CoreNLP Interface

  • Once you select the required Annotations as well as the Language, and click Submit, Stanford NLP displays the corresponding results.

We are sharing two of the results for your reference.

Stanford NLP Parameters

Stanford CoreNLP Interface2

A Quick Comparison of IBM Watson and Stanford NLP

table

Note: Stanford’s Part-of-speech (POS) tagger and Co-reference resolution system are not available in IBM Watson.

DevOps is the mix of tools, practices and cultural philosophies that improves an organization’s ability to deliver services and applications at high pace: introducing and improving products at a faster rate when compared to organizations that use conventional software development and IT infrastructure management processes. This indifferent feature empowers businesses to serve their business partners and customers better, efficiently and more effectively in the market.

Under the surveillance of DevOps model, operations and development teams are not isolated and at times they are merged and made as a single team wherein engineers work cross over the complete application lifecycle, through development and test to operations and establish a range of skills not confining to a single function. Security and Quality assurance teams may also tightly couple with Operations and Development teams and work together across the entire application lifecycle.  

 

These teams automate processes that were conventional, manual and slow in execution. They utilize a technology tower and tooling aid that help them in running and expand applications reliably and quickly. With this tools, engineers can manage tasks independently and pace up their work which indirectly increases the team’s speed.

 

How DevOps Benefits Your Business:

 

  • Rapidity:

With the implementation of DevOps model, Development and Operations team can achieve the business tasks rapidly by understanding the changing needs of the market, introducing new products and services as per the customer's requirement and ensure the quality and security of the products/services with no bugs etc.

 

  • Reliability:

Ensures the quality of infrastructural changes and technology updates with which the DevOps (Development & Operations) team can rely on the system while delivering the products/services and maintain a healthy relation with the customer. DevOps team must use practices like continuous delivery and continuous integration to test that each change noticed is safe and functional. Logging and Monitoring practices make the team stay informed of performance in the real-time environment.

 

  • Improved Collaboration:

Establish effective teams with the help of DevOps cultural model, which accentuates values like accountability and ownership. Development and Operations team can collaborate and exchange knowledge, share responsibilities and integrate their workflows etc. This facilitates in reducing inefficiencies in the individuals and save time in execution.

 

  • Security:

You can establish a DevOps model without compromising on security issues by using fine-grained controls, automated compliance policies, configuration management techniques and other security-related issues.

Do you remember Hollywood movies Terminator: Rise of Machines or Ex Machina where facial recognition technologies are used in several ways?
 
Today with digital technological advances, face recognition has become very important for businesses, to know who the customer is and send hyper-personalized offers to generate more revenues.
 
Facebook has used facial recognition technology since 2011, to speed up the process of tagging friends or people in photos. When a user uploads an image to Facebook, the site's algorithms recognize the faces of friends and asks users if they would like to tag them.
 
Security agencies were also early adopters of face recognition to identify suspicious behavior & threats to any big event or crowded areas like airports. Now some of the airports have installed facial recognition for smooth passenger movements through immigration hall, security, and arrivals.
 
Now even iPhone x has the face recognition to unlock it.
 
Face recognition is done by applying deep learning algorithms on the faces to detect faces and identify a person.
 
Businesses from every industry are using face recognition to increase revenue & improve customer experience. They can measure how many people are there, how do they feel in your stores/premises, are you reaching the right people and are they interested?
 
Banks are using it for KYC and verification of customers.
 
In the Retail industry, AliPay from Alibaba has introduced facial recognition software for online payments service “smile to pay”. With this new technology, you would simply scan your face with your smartphone camera to place your order.
 
Smartphones and smart watches have already enabled new payment experiences in bricks and mortar shops. Online shoppers are expecting the same easy experience for their payments in online stores. Credit card giant, Mastercard has launched a similar facial recognition payment method called “Selfie Pay.”
 
Tesco plans to install screens in petrol stations that will scan customers’ faces to determine their gender and age so it can run tailored ads.
 
Finding Rover is an app that lets owners post pictures of lost pets in hopes of reuniting them with their owners. Using facial recognition software, the app matches photos and alerts owners when their pets are found.
 
Helping Faceless is an app created to help find missing and kidnapped children and reunite them with their families. Users can input the date and location the person went missing to narrow search results.
 
Wal-Mart has tested facial recognition software FaceFirst as a way to prevent theft. The technology scans the face of anyone who enters a store and identifies any suspicious people and potential shoplifters, instantly alerting store security on their phones.

 

Facial recognition potential is enormous even though today it is not fully realized. There are countless ways to use facial recognition and integrate it into almost anything that the customer totally forgets they are using another piece of technology

Digital technologies are making sweeping changes to the business world at a pace that organizations are finding hard to match up. This change has created demand for a whole new set of skills that didn’t exist a few years ago. Termed as niche skills in the IT world, SMAC and AI skills are gaining ground making other technologies obsolete. The demand for these skills is increasing in leaps and bounds and organizations are grappling with the challenge of meeting this demand. The demand and supply gap is continuing to increase although organizations are trying hard to beat competition in the recruitment market for resources with niche skills. This acute shortage has resulted in multitude of problems.

This acute shortage of niche skills results in unfulfilled demands that are long overdue which finally end up getting cancelled. Owing to this, revenues get impacted in the short term. If this becomes a persistent problem, it could impact the firm’s ability to win new business resulting in slow overall business growth.

As these niche skills are exclusive, talent economics comes into play leading to high cost of hiring this category of talent. Besides being expensive (in terms of compensation), organizations would also need to invest in making themselves attractive for such talent to choose them over others in the recruitment market.

When the organization is facing a shortage of niche skills, there’s a cascading effect on multiple HR factors: upskilling existing talent and keeping them engaged, allocation via the hiring manager will be a distant dream, correcting the skills mix in the talent pyramid and more.

While this may seem like a dooms day scenario, organizations can cater to this demand and create a buffer too – all that is needed is to look inside. Large organizations, especially, have a large resource pool that can be leveraged. The icing on the cake is that it is a cost effective solution.

Organizations could identify resources with related skills, train them on niche skills, provide job opportunities so these resources get practical experience in using these skills, upskill to keep up with the advancements in technology.  These resources could be further utilized to train another set of resources thereby ensuring a positive supply of resources with niche skills. By keeping track of the technological advancements and trends in skills, organizations could ensure they have a ready resource pool to cater to any sudden spike in demand for niche skills.

By leveraging trained internal talent pool, organizations not only reduce time and cost of hire but also benefit from deploying resources that reach 100% productivity quickly and fit culturally. Besides, the organization has a captive set of resources that is assured for deployment anytime resulting in happy customers and improved revenue. Most importantly, there is no need to grapple with competition in the recruitment market. On the contrary, this could act as a magnet to attracting new-age talent.

Our lives have changed for good due to the digital tsunami – it started with internet in 1995, then in 2004 social media stormed the world with Facebook, then came iPhone in 2007 and the whole world changed. Every mobile company started making smartphones for easy user interaction.

 

Today’s game changer is Chatbot !!

 

A bot is nothing more than a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface with help of natural language processing (NLP).

 

You don’t have to scroll through thousands of products on the website, just order to a bot and it will take care of delivering it.

 

There are 2 types of bots making inroads - Informational bots & Response bots.

 

Information bots are like subscribing to a breaking news or weather alerts based on your reading habits while response bots are responding to a user requested problems.

 

These bots should know everything about the customer they are talking to resolve the issues.

 

Many companies are considering voice interface to ease out the interaction and save the efforts of typing texts. Users converse with chatbots just like they do with family and friends.

 

Instead of asking your customers to visit the website & ask to find what they want or call the customer service, it is much quicker and easier to get direct answers via chatbot.

 

With digital assistants like Apple Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa voice has become an integral part of the interaction.

 

Chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, can learn our habits, understands our tastes and preferences and can be much more pleasant than a sequence of scroll, taps, and clicks to get to where the customer wants to go to complete an action.

 

Imagine how easy it is by chatbot to order pizza, book a ticket, complain about a defect of the product you just purchased than calling a customer service, waiting for IVR choices and spend more time just listening to music or customer rep.

 

Some of the technological advances in chatbots are:

 

  •      They can be multilingual very easily than humans
  •      Can be available 24/7 without any extra money to be paid
  •      Anyone can interact regardless of device or channel or browser
  •      Faster adaption by users
  •      Ability to access data instantly than humans

 

The travel industry has plenty of areas where chatbots can help to take the burden off the staff, and also enhance the experience for customers. Everything from booking hotel rooms and flights to renting a car or providing assistance during a trip could be successfully handled by a chatbot.

 

Chatbots in healthcare are helping patients with common treatments by asking simple question and answers about symptoms.

 

Customer service is the most common area where chatbots are used today.

 

As NLP is constantly undergoing breakthroughs, chatbots will be able to interact with humans more seamlessly.

You are walking in the mall doing the window-shopping, you pass in front of an electronics store, and suddenly you get a discounted offer to buy a TV you dreamed for….you are amazed. You go in see the TV and buy it at a very discounted price.

 

How does this happen? The digital technology behind this is called geofencing.

 

Geofencing is a use of global positioning system (GPS), WiFi, Bluetooth beacons to create virtual boundaries around a location.

 

It is a location-based service where your location is tracked by the app or WiFi on your mobile. Geofences can be used to target customers in physical locations, allowing you to trigger the right message, the right campaign, at the right time and place.

 

Geofences can be put into big stores, airports, major events/concerts, tourist places.

 

Today with digital transformation at its peak and wide adoption of smartphones, geofencing is common for businesses  via several ways:

 

  • Location-based marketing can deliver in-store promotions to specific customers based on customer analytics they have carried out such as restaurants sending text messages of daily specials to customers who are walking by, Attract new customers by sending them exciting offers they can not refuse
  • In Smart homes - security alerts when someone enters the area
  • Employee tracking – in hazardous areas like mining it can be used to track if workers are in the safe zone or getting into danger zone
  • At big gatherings like concerts, geofencing can be used to engage audience by sending them guidance or information about the event
  • Exit surveys for the customers leaving your store and asking for feedback
  • Build solid profiles of customers based on their entry /exits, where they spend more time and use that further for marketing right offers

 

How does geofencing differ from beacons

 

 

Beacons need to have customer’s Bluetooth on for targeting whereas geofencing uses location data from the smartphone. Beacons work well indoors within a small distance of 10-15 feet while geofencing can cover 100 meters.

 

By sending your customers a time-specific, location-specific push notification with a special offer, geofencing allows you to increase overall sales.

 

There will be multiple further developments in geofencing, which will help businesses to use the digital technologies to their advantage.

Digital Transformation is happening everywhere you look. It is impacting businesses of any size, in any industry, any market and every geography.

 

Many organizations recognize the importance of digital and the need to change. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about what digital transformation is and how to carry it out.

 

The organization needs to avoid following 5 mistakes while going on the route of Digital Transformation.

 

  1. Focus on technology than business and customer.

Many organization still believe that investing in latest and greatest technology will be a quick path to Digital. But they forget that technology is just an enabler.  Focus on entire business process, map the customer journeys with pain areas and aim to smoothen the interaction.

 

  1. Digital Transformation can be carried out by existing resources by the way of ad-hoc allocation.

Many organizations are still using their existing teams and expect them to do the magic. While it may be possible to deliver small successes, you need to have experts who have sharp focus and experience of digital transformation to actually do the job.

 

  1. Digital Transformation can be driven by line managers.

Lack of executives support will show some incremental changes but digital agenda should be driven by senior-most leaders, even board of directors & CEOs of the company. Only then it brings the required seriousness. IT & Business alignment has to come from the top.

 

  1. Ignore the learnings of other industry leaders.

in the Age of Customer, Digital Transformation is no different than any other change. It is more important to understand where you stand, how others have done it, what challenges they have faced and learn from them.

 

  1. Ignore digital transformation as just a hype.

Some of the companies still feel that Digital is just a fad or hype and will die on its own. There are industry examples of Kodak, Blockbuster, HMV, Borders who ignored this phenomenon and went bankrupt due to competition.

 

Digital moves too fast to wait. If an organization waits until best practices are established, it will be too late. 

 

Organizations that adapt, evolve and exploit this new digital reality quickly will thrive, while those that do not, will be lost to the sands of time like Dinosaur!!

For many businesses, digital has simply been the domain of marketing: web marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing, etc. It was lightly wrapped around existing products and services.

 

As digital is more about customer experience, Marketing is the closest department to handle this. They have to use Machines, Humans, and things to interact with customers in real time.

 

As we have seen, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Uber, etc. have grown their businesses almost entirely through digital marketing. 

 

Digital technologies have introduced new kinds of marketing tools that take the guesswork out of marketing. With analytics, marketers have a much more accurate picture of their customers.

 

The main goal is to use data to reduce the expenditure on marketing, increase the customer retention by using the digital channels.

 

With these omni-channels marketing, businesses can guide the customers through various stages of their journey such as increasing the awareness of the products, build their desire to buy via sending personalized messages so they finally take a decision to buy the product.

 

Earlier methods of marketing spend attribution, which decides what worked well, instead of just clicks, are now augmented with artificial intelligence to give information that is more accurate.

 

The marketing department is the closest to the customer in the digital age. Businesses have changed the sales-driven approach to consumer-driven approach of the purchasing process.

 

This customer-first approach has brought the brands closer.  Further, today’s consumer uses their smartphones for everything. Analysis of this mobile data can help organizations understand the affinity of different groups to brands, changes in digital and physical footfall after campaigns, and so on.

 

Today marketers use several digital techniques such as SEO, SEM, Web Analytics to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

 

Global brands have changed their marketing strategies over the years now.

 

For a business to succeed in today’s Digital world, it is really important to have a strong digital footprint on the internet. With today’s sophisticated digital lifestyle, consumers are probably on Facebook, checking out Twitter, browsing their email inboxes and searching for products and services on a search engine

 

Burberry was earlier just telecasting the live shows of their fashion catwalks, which now are online on social media, which means they are going to masses.

 

How is your marketing is gearing up and making use of Digital?

Real-time and near real-time payment systems have changed the very fabric of online commerce. Over 30 countries now have real-time payment processes of some kind, some of them in use since decades.

The growth in Real-time-Real-Payment-Systems (RT-RPS) has been encouraging, with 18 countries now having a ‘live’ RT-RPS systems in place. Additionally, 12 countries are exploring/planning/building RT-RPS systems, with another 17 exploring RT-RPS through a pan-European initiative.

Over the last year, papers on real-time payments published by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, the European Payments Council and the European Banking Association have created considerable interest within the banking ecosystem.

RT-RPS systems have some common characteristics, like instant clearing confirmation to support instant or near real-time posting by banks, 24/7/365 operations and a focus on richer data standards, such as ISO 20022.

In a real-time or a near-real-time environment, once the transaction is over, the money is gone, compared to traditional payment mechanisms which gave financial institutions ample time to scrutinize transactions before they were cleared. Fraudsters had to wait for the money to hit accounts before they could vanish with the loot.

By shrinking the transaction processing window, the time to detect and act on fraud is greatly diminished. So whatever the technology that is used to accelerate payments, it must also support the bank’s ability to detect and thwart fraud.

Launched in 2008, UKFP (UK Faster Payments) was one of the first of the new generation RT-RPS services. While UKFP has been a success, the potential for fraud was seen immediately. In UKFP’s first two years, fraud tripled according to behavioral biometrics firm Biocatch.

Even though the infrastructure was sound, the entry points to transaction initiation were weak, and this was exploited by fraudsters. To enhance authentication, some quick steps were taken to improve verification of customer credentials using two-factor identification, tokenization and smartcard readers.

Fraudsters today are increasingly using malware to hijack user sessions and move money quickly and automatically, forcing banks to further fortify their defense mechanisms. As countries continue to roll out faster payment systems, it would be wise to pay heed to these lessons.

Quite evidently, real-time payments calls for extreme real-time fraud detection and prevention.

Financial institutions must arm themselves with financial crime prevention capabilities that are able to detect, investigate, prevent and resolve financial crimes much more intelligently.

Faster payment services are typically available across multiple channels (IVR, online, mobile, ATM, POS, etc.), so transactions must be monitored (and anomalies acted up on) in extreme real-time and across all channels. An intelligent monitoring system must therefore cover all channels to look for undesirable patterns or deviations from a customer’s known/usual behavior.

Another critical risk in real-time payments is identity management. Multi-factor identification to confirm payment parties makes payment initiation more secure. Behavioral analytics and biometric information to combat remote access attacks and malware also add to the overall defense framework.

Besides helping real-time payment fraud prevention, detection and investigation, new age cross-channel, extreme real-time systems also address regulatory compliance and audits.

Not so long ago, fraud monitoring used to follow an ‘observe and report’ process. Global compliance efforts are now choosing to pro-actively stop transactions based on suspicious activities, before they are executed.

It has also become increasingly vital to utilize the collective, cross-channel wisdom about customers, so that even the slightest deviation during a real-time payment is detected in absolute real-time. Extreme real-time transaction monitoring enables banks to make more accurate, in-the moment, ‘segment of one’ interventions.

Constantly staying several steps ahead of sophisticated digital financial crime has become an inevitability amidst the economic and regulatory pressures challenging retail banking worldwide.
Financial institutions cannot do away with customers expecting immediate and secure real-time payment transactions. But with real-time payments increasing the vulnerability to financial crime, the situation demands more intelligent, extreme real-time and cross-channel preventive systems.

References:
• Faster Payments Equals Faster Fraud in a Real-Time World, Trevor Mast, Payments Leader
• Real-time payments: Towards speed and transparency, Payments Cards and Mobile
• Continuing the Evolution of Real-Time Payments in the U.S., VolanteTech

– By Naresh Kurup, Director – Marketing

Naresh drives marketing and brand communication for the category leading banking fraud management product company CustomerXPs

You can find Naresh on LinkedIn

He can be reached at naresh.kurup@customerxps.com

Our world has become increasingly digital. 

 

The mobile-first strategy is no longer valid as we live in the mobile-only world.

 

Today number of people having mobile phones on the planet is much bigger than bank account holders or credit card holders globally.

 

People use mobile devices as Swiss pocket knives: they serve a range of needs, activities, and purposes.

 

We shop and buy more of our products online or via mobile, we decide where to eat, buy a car, and hire a plumber by looking at the app digitally. Any critical decision that is made, a credit decision, admissions into a top university, accessing your social security benefits statement etc. are all made electronically.

 

With the proliferation of new digital platforms, businesses of are forced to rethink their physical presence. Gone are the days where you just have an app and a website: it’s vital now that mobile’s role is understood within the larger digital ecosystem.

 

Mobile is now present along every step of the end-to-end customer journey, from research and inspiration to return. Mobile is one of the most important touchpoints in the customer lifecycle.

 

Mobile has already stormed the Banking, Travel, Retail industries. Mobile has become an integral part of the shopping experience as consumers spend more time with mobile devices than with desktop and laptops combined.

 

Users leave billions of data points, which brands use, by applying analytics to personalize & keep them actively engaged to generate revenue. Integrating social media networking channels with the mobile apps would further allow the consumers interact freely with the enterprise, paying the way for increased brand loyalty.

 

With so many advances in mobiles, the mCommerce has also changed the face. Since the launch of iPhone, mobile commerce has moved from sheer text messages to apps. There are so many uses for ticketing, to money transfers, information services like news, stocks, traffic alerts etc.

 

Mobile payments have gained momentum and as more options become available, usage is set to surge. Consumers are adopting mobile wallet apps, Google wallets, smart watches and devices with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay t capabilities.

 

Mobile brings various advantages like portability, instant connectivity, personalization & localization of services. Further, it allows businesses to be visible to the customer at all times, build brand and recognition.

 

Even at work and out of office employees can benefit from mobile access to information, work from anywhere, reduce traveling and increase overall efficiency. While an organization can benefit from easy collaboration with team members, helping sales folks with quick information at their fingertips.

 

Businesses are focused on delivering growth and profitability with faster; better decision-making, & mobile technologies appear to be in the driver’s seat in thisDigital Age.

I remember the 90s when I wanted to get a home loan and it took me 3 months to complete the process from providing all the hard copies of my income, tax returns, identity proofs then bank checked my creditworthiness & provided the approval.

Today everybody has some kind of loans like home loan, auto loan, education loan, two wheeler loan or even loan to buy appliances like HD TV and Refrigerator.

 

How do they assess your creditworthiness? There are so many cases of defaulters, which keeps increasing and hence established banks or lenders constantly looking for ways to improve the returns or proactively identify risks.

 

Lenders traditionally make decisions based on a loan applicant’s credit score, a three-digit number obtained from credit bureaus such as the TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.  But these credit scores are based solely on credit-history and do not take into account rich data available, which can potentially give lenders access to data points as varied as online purchases, the strength of social connections and travel patterns. When viewed this data holistically, lenders can get a complete picture of potential borrowers & can significantly improve their ability to predict loan defaults.


Today digital transformation has changed everything. While the interest rate and closing costs on loans are still primary considerations, the speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire process is important.

 

As the purchasing power among millennials & gen Z continues to increase, they tend to purchase property and acquire assets that will provide stability & generate wealth.

 

The ability to cross-sell to these customers on loan products drives a significant portion of new loans. The difference for a digital-first customer is that they do their shopping online and may select an alternative provider based on the right combination of cost and ease of process.

 

Artificial Intelligence is used today, to determine the creditworthiness of those who don’t have any credit history like students or immigrants etc. It also helps to improvecustomer experience, e.g. by showing pre-approved loan amount. AI makes loan approvals quick and easy, reduce operational costs and these savings can then be extended to customers in the form of lower rates. Artificial Intelligence can process large amounts of data that human underwriters would simply not be able to make sense of.

 

Machine learning streamlines the process, drastically reduces the likelihood of errors and significantly cuts down the time it takes to approve a loan and disburse funds to the borrower, thereby enhancing the customer experience.

 

AI & Machine learning also helps to detect fraud by comparing customer behavior with the baseline data of normal customers and removing outliers.

 

Today apart from credit score and income, lenders are also looking at the digital footprint, payment data from other sources, purchase history, professional reputation from LinkedIn and other sources.

 

This is called alternative data sourcing. The use of machine learning to analyze this alternative data in loans and credit rating is going to raise some privacy, ethical, and legal concerns.

 

The future of digital lending will reduce the friction associated with the borrowing process, eliminating paperwork and moving all of the steps of the customer journey to an online and mobile capability. AI and Machine learning will become an inherent part of financial lending.

Digital Transformation is now a number one priority for many businesses. Over the past two years, businesses have put increased focus on digitally transforming their brands from the inside out.

 

It is an ongoing process of change based on the market and needs of the customers. To deliver this change successfully, there is a need to establish a clear vision with objectives & expected outcomes.

 

Simply put vision is a picture of how the organization will look like after stipulated time.

 

Importance of Vision:

 

  • Provides the big picture and clearly describes what your organization will be like in several years
  • Clarifies the right direction of change to ensure that everyone is moving forward
  • Inspires everyone to take action in set direction
  • Synchronizes the action of different people. It provides self-sufficiency to individuals and teams while reducing conflicts.

 

There are some do’s & don’ts for setting up a vision:

 

Do’s:

  • Develop a Vision that is in line with company growth strategy.
  • Connect with partners who support your vision, not only third-party technology vendors but your own customers and employees
  • It should create the sense of urgency
  • Link vision to specific goals in future
  • Describe how the company will actually change
  • How will you engage differently with customers?

 

Don’ts:

  • It remains only as floor branding and marketing
  • Restricting the employees with set vision & its boundaries
  • Vision is way too complicated, vague and lacking actionable initiatives
  • Poor communication of the vision beyond the involved few stakeholders
  • Setup the vision before analyzing current systems and operations

 

Vision brings in the cultural change that is required for Digital Transformation. People are extremely important in this roller-coaster ride. 

 

When the digital vision is not clear, that affects the speed of adoption of both senior management and middle management. People will not act just because technology is ready. 

 

Some successful vision statements, which helped companies in their digital transformation:

 

Google - To provide access to the world’s information in one click

 

Amazon - To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online

 

Walmart - To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of consumers and employees

 

GE - To become the world’s premier digital industrial company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive

 

Ikea – To create a better everyday life for the many people

 

Southwest Airlines - To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline

 

A top-down vision is a cornerstone & catalyst for digital transformation. These and many companies have created great vision statements to survive in this digital age.

Digital Transformation is sweeping each industry around us. Those who embrace it and adopt the change will have multitudes of benefits.

 

The mining industry is by far still a very labor intensive and costly affair. However, slowly they have started utilizing the digital technologies to reduce the costs, ensure workers safety and change the way they work.

 

The industry is facing increasing cost pressures. Digital transformation is likely to be on the agenda for miners. Digital technology can help literally at every stage of the mining process, from exploration, extraction, transportation to the processing of the ore and shipment.

 

In open pit mines, self-driving trucks could be controlled by operations center miles away, reduce human cost as there are no frequent breaks, improve safety and increase efficiency as no human intervention is required on the site. GPS enabled systems will help supervisors to know where the trucks are and optimize their routes for optimal utilization.

 

Sensors on remote deep-sea oil wells cause warning signs to flash at the central control center when problems arise. 

 

In underground dangerous extraction zones like coalmines & chemical ore mines, remote-controlled equipment can reduce human factor involvement.  With data visualization, miners can create heat maps or 3d maps of the entire mine.

 

These heavy earth moving machinery is very costly and any downtime affects the bottom line. Data collection and analysis allows understanding the health of the equipment and usage, which further helps in predictive maintenance, improving equipment reliability and reducing unplanned downtime.

 

With wearables, site employee’s safety is tracked from the central operation.IoT connected sensors detect dangerous levels of hazardous gas and give miners time to evacuate.

 

Rio Tinto is one of the companies introducing autonomous trucks and drilling rigs to its iron-ore operations in Western Australia.

 

Barrick Gold has deployed several such digital technologies including handheld tablets to help engineers monitor job orders in its Nevada gold mine.

 

Within the mining and metals industry, digitalization will be a force that changes the nature of companies and their interaction with employees, communities, government and the environment at every step of the value chain.

 

From mineral exploration and valuation, through mining, ore processing, and metals production, to downstream sales and distribution, digitization is helping workers make better, faster & safer decisions.