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Maximizing success – and security – with a “digital stew”

March 3, 2015
Picture this in your mind: according to a new survey by global consulting firm Accenture, companies that create a “stew” combining different digital technologies – including interactive marketing, analytics, mobility and cloud – may experience more and faster business success than companies implementing such systems one at a time.

Ah, but as usual, securing all of these systems remains the Achilles heel of the business world – and that’s becoming even more true in trucking as the years click by and by.

Here’s the thinking behind all of this: In Accenture’s Growing the Digital Business: Accenture Mobility Research 2015, roughly seven out of 10 of the 1,925 senior decision-makers for digital strategy and technologies said that digital technologies offer “greater potential for transformation” when implemented together, rather than in isolation or one at a time.

[FYI: those 1,925 folks were spread out over 15 countries and nine industries, with over 85% percent of them posting revenues of more than $1 billion.]

When asked to select which benefits are being realized today or were expected from implementations combining digital technologies, Accenture said its survey respondents typically selected four per person, with the ones offering the “highest benefits” including:

  • Creation of new revenue opportunities (48%)
  • Faster time to market for product/services (46%)
  • Increased customer engagement (46%)
  • Enabling of rapid responses to customer demands (45%)
  • Enabling penetration of new markets (45%)

“The benefits of digital technology are not just being talked about anymore, but are being put into action as organizations are reshaping themselves to take advantage,” noted Jim Bailey, global managing director for Accenture’s mobility practice.

“A vast majority of respondents (87%) said their business had made significant in-roads in using digital technologies over the past year – to grow their customer base and/or to enhance their overall enterprise efficiency – but acknowledged there is still some way to go,” he added. “The survey results do suggest some clarity is needed regarding responsibility for strategy definition and digital decision-making, as we saw overall control of both shared between central teams and individual business functions.”

To that end, some 80% of those polled said they are “confident” that their enterprise maintains “one holistic strategy” for becoming a digital business, and the same percentage indicated that the role of a chief digital officer exists in their organization.

Yet 81% confirmed having separate teams owning different parts of digital strategy within each function, rather than across the enterprise. “It’s clear that enterprises are embracing digital technologies, but most organizations do not yet have a centralized team fully owning strategy, budget and implementation of digital technologies,” Bailey noted.

So why is any of this important to trucking? Well, as you can guess, much of this “digital activity” is being driven by mobile communication needs – by the smartphones and tablets that are becoming ubiquitous tools for drivers and motor carriers alike.

For example, when asked what digital technology these companies had already successfully adopted, mobility ranked highest at 65% – a reflection of the fact it has been implemented as a priority for some time, Accenture noted.

To emphasize that finding, where “digital mobility” was a top two priority for 43% of respondents in Accenture’s 2014 survey, this year, mobility was the most critical digital technology for 18%.

In this year’s study, by contrast, analytics –a “top-two” priority for 27% of those polled in 2014 – got tapped as “the most critical priority” for 34% of respondents, with the cloud following closely at 30%.

Bailey said those findings demonstrate that – as asserted in last year’s report – mobility has been fueling the digital surge, and now that enterprises have successfully employed it, they are prioritizing the implementation of other digital technologies to achieve the strongest possible results for their customers and for their enterprises.

“The fact that analytics is such a priority for survey respondents reflects the understanding that digital businesses rely on data for generating insights and informing decision making across all business functions,” he explained.

“The use of data in this way can bring businesses closer to their customers – whether consumers or other enterprises – and enable better targeted offerings for a more loyal customer base,” Bailey noted. “In addition, cloud ranking as the second highest priority supports the notion that data should be collectible and accessible from anywhere, through the use of mobility tools.”

Yet – surprise, surprise –security remains a huge problem in the digital space.

Indeed, Accenture found security concerns cited by over half (51%) of the survey’s respondents as one of the most important challenges in digital technology implementations, and by a quarter as the biggest challenge faced by enterprises overall.

“Constant developments in technology mean new challenges arise all the time around how to optimize a connected workforce or manage consumer campaigns across omni-channel platforms,” Bailey emphasized.

“Enterprises must therefore not only focus on implementing the new technologies, but on keeping ones already in place fit for purpose,” he said. “To overcome the challenges of security, enterprises need to view digital technologies holistically, treating them as an extension of wider enterprise security on an ongoing basis.”

Security, security; the need is everywhere, all to prevent even a drop of data from being pinched.

It’s something trucking must keep in mind as it relies more and more upon such a digital “stew” to ensure safe on-time delivery of freight in the days ahead.

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