Today, we’ll round out our Digital Transformation series with a detailed look at the fourth and final pillar, Transform Products. We’ve already learned how data and analytics drive transformation in the areas of Customers, Employees, and Operations, and now we’ll explore how innovative organizations are using information and insights to offer new and improved products and services.
First, let’s clarify the scope or definition of Transform Products, in particular, the word ‘products,’ which more broadly defined, represents the goods and services an organization provides to its customers. Depending on the industry in which your company operates, you may provide products (software, consumer packaged goods, medical devices), services (consulting, education, legal), or both – whatever it is that reflects value in the eyes of your customers.
In this way, the Transform Products pillar is like the Engage Customers pillar, in that both are outward looking, focused on customer wants and needs, as compared to Empower Employees and Optimize Operations, which are inward looking, focused on organizational needs. While Engage Customers is about delighting existing customers and finding and acquiring new customers, Transform Products is about creating new value (products and services) through innovation.
Gain Competitive Advantage
Here’s one example of how an enterprise can innovate to stay ahead in its field. Insurance companies operate in a dynamic and highly competitive industry. It’s also an industry that is awash in data, and has at its very core, a deep appreciation for data to develop risk models, pricing, and so forth.
So how might an insurance company leverage technology to offer new and innovative products? Take a core process, such as claims processing. Assume you have a supplemental insurance policy for injury or illness and experience an incident which leads to filing a claim. As a claimant, you’re required to provide evidence of your incident. The variety of supporting information could include hospital bills, receipts for medication, photographs, and more. While this is pretty straightforward for the customer, it presents a real challenge to the claims processors, in that it requires a tremendous amount of manual review of materials in order to approve or deny a claim. Artificial intelligence (AI), which harnesses the power of machine learning, can help.
One promising area of AI is in what Microsoft calls Cognitive Services, which includes capabilities in the area of Vision (interpreting documents and photos) and Text (extracting insight from unstructured text). These services can be used to automate, in part, the claims processing scenario we’ve described. Of the variety of supporting documents, some are standard, such as industry-accepted forms, or a bill from a specific hospital, and these standard documents can be processed by Cognitive Services to synthesize this information, allowing claims processors to spend their time on the unique elements of each claim.
So, how does this translate into innovation and new products or services for the insurance company? Now, claims of a particular type, with some common document types, can be expedited and processed within a shorter timeframe, allowing the insurance company to offer a “quick claim” service which differentiates them in the marketplace and delights their customers. And, as the capabilities of the AI services continue to mature, additional, and more complex documents could be included in the solution.
The above example belies a common misconception about the role of AI, specifically how AI may displace workers. Rather, in this scenario, it provides a very real example of how AI can amplify the impact of what a knowledge worker can accomplish by blending human skills and experience with those of AI.
As Digital Transformation advances, businesses are increasingly able to take advantage of the innovation, flexibility, and creativity it can offer; frequently reaping agility, growth, and cost savings for their efforts. Enterprises embracing the process often leap from backward-looking businesses to forward-thinking industry leaders.
BlueGranite continues helping organizations discover opportunities to evolve through technology to realize their full potential. Keep an eye on our Business Insights blog to read about future enterprise advances, or explore our Solution Briefs to dig into our previous transformations.