Wanted: Skills for Navigating the Digital Future

Whether or not they have a digital offering, companies are seeking three capabilities far more than others out of the 27 we surveyed:

  • More accurately predict demand (67% of respondents)
  • Rapidly inform customers about new products and services and get them to buy those (65%)
  • Monitor how customers are using their products and services to identify improvements (63%).

Of those 27 capabilities (Exhibit II-20), respondents rated four as having the greatest potential benefits to them: Making major changes in how the company prices its offerings (3.81 on scale of 1-5), inexpensively getting customers to automatically reorder or repeat their purchases (3.78), creating whole new value for customers and gaining a much deeper understanding of why customers choose their products/services (3.77).

What do companies want with these kinds of skills? Facing the need to keep sharpening their competitive position by using technology that exploits rich sources of data, companies need employees who can help sense when change is taking place in their markets or customer base. One large software company shared how it uses analytics to increase its sales close rate. Using Salesforce.com to integrate leads from the web, the company also uses a web analytics tool that shows how marketing content is performing and where traffic is originating. By interpreting that data, it can adjust its marketing programs quickly.

Similarly, a global travel company told us its global consumer insights group uses extensive data gathered from a number of digital technologies to understand how to improve marketing, pricing and the customer experience through deep and meaningful consumer insights. These range from helping operations teams deliver a better experience to business development and new ideas among others. The team also gets involved in significant capital investments, helps the pricing teams, and informs campaign platforms by shaping messaging and advertising.

In the U.K., a utility company executive told us that its smart meter initiative is aimed at opening doors to entirely new digital products and services. The key goal of the initiative is to provide security, remote control, assisted living and other services to residential customers. Cross-selling new and existing services – such as maintenance contracts – would improve margins. The executive told us that the UK has a regulatory barrier on what utility companies can sell; this company is content to license new products and services.

The core skill, no matter how it’s couched, is the same: Companies need interpreters to sift through the data, and fi nd them a path to the future. No matter what region they are based in, companies are feeling an intense urgency to keep up with customers, adapting with them as they change.

Exhibit II-20: The Capabilities that Companies Desire from their Digital Initiatives

Exhibit II-20 The Capabilities that Companies Desire

Digital Offerings by Region
The Dialogue on Digital is Deafening but Real