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Thinking Digitally : Digital Beyond Marketing

As digital technologies offer new ways to connect, collaborate, conduct business and build bridges between people, it touches the core of all business functions and even the ways organizations are managed. In this post, I wish to highlight Digital's evolving role in some key Business Functions:

Digital in NPD (New Product Development)

Digital has the capability of facilitating a two-way value exchange between businesses and customers. For Example, Coty Inc., one of the world’s largest and most successful beauty companies globally, used digital to involve customers in co-creation of products. They created an engaging platform for its customers to crowd-source a new color palette for nail polish. Customers were highly engaged: Some 5,000 comments were placed on the project website and by the end of the project, the website had received more than 35,000 visits. A report said that the 20 nail polishes the business co-created with its customers were among the most successful of its entire collection.

Digital in Customer Service

Chip maker Intel uses predictive and prescriptive analytics in the service and support process. It uses proactive problem management and leverages feedback from support calls to improve its product line. To reduce reported IT incidents requiring its attention by 40%, Intel’s product team applied text analytics to millions of client PC event logs and thousands of client incident reports. The effort also cut the number of blue-screen system crashes by more than 50%.

Digital in Supply Chain Management

Convenience store chain Seven-Eleven Japan (SEJ) builds supply chain agility by using real time systems to detect changes in customer preferences and track sales and customer data at every store. Technology links stores with distribution centers, suppliers and logistics providers. SEJ reallocates inventory among stores and re-configures store shelves three times a day to cater to different customer groups at different hours. Their adaptability and agility using digital is legendary. Amazon manages it's supply chain excellently using automation and predictive analytics at a much grander scale.

Digital in Accounting and Finance

We don’t typically think of social and digital technologies as being relevant to areas like accounting, but they are. An example would be the impact ofTwitter chatter on trading activity and share prices, or how the increasing use of social media by activist investors can impact organizations. An accounting example would be how auditors have to change their audit programs to accommodate digital assets at the time of valuation or due diligence in cases of merger/acquisition.

Digital in Human Resource Management

This head deserves a full fledged article for itself. New technologies are creating dramatic changes in how organizations should approach talent acquisition and talent management. Increasingly, employees are using social platforms such as Twitter and Glassdoor to express opinions on workplace issues. For Instance, Glassdoor has more than 3 million pieces of content contributed by employees, on more than 200,000 companies across 190 countries.


As business functions are digitally transformed and new technologies become more fully integrated into everyone’s jobs, it is increasingly important for organizations to have high degrees of digital literacy and readiness to stay agile. Thinking Digital is not just restricted to digital marketing anymore, therefore, when we talk about digital transformation, we talk about an organization wide approach.


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