Our residential colony is abuzz with branded pieces of identity in the early morning hours of everyday hawkers. Residents ran out of the house, buying fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken from vendors with whom they had developed a bond of strong customer loyalty. During the pandemic, our rations were delivered door-to-door through digital orders. The same band of customers now buy essentials from nearby malls, weekly haats or daily vendors to feel the human warmth, friendship and social touch! Business activity is more or less a social process.
When we talk about digitization, these issues also come to the fore. As economies prepare for Industry 4.0, companies are pushing their limits to go digital by adopting technology and harnessing the power of data. this race to get the lead in
The increasing competition among firms to carve a niche for themselves in their respective fields has made digitization imperative. This has yielded results in terms of short turnaround time, low cost, high efficiency enabling the firms to adapt themselves to the needs of the times.
Yet at the same time, it has raised concerns about whether digitization has become an end in itself rather than a means to achieve more creative goals. This has opened up many perspectives and issues. Do we simply allow ourselves to wander into the rabbit hole of data crunching and analytics, turning a blind eye to the entire universe of parameters of human emotion and behavior?
There is no doubt that digital routes and multiple apps have opened up ever-changing ways of accessing wider marketing possibilities and opportunities, planning inventory and helping to close the gap with the end users of the product. It is true that a competent analytics practitioner not only allows business operators to take care of
Taking your product route to the targeted hands, but even the consumers themselves, can monitor these through the Retail Link system and provide immediate feedback to their satisfaction.
But the contentious issue in this case is whether enterprises are becoming more short-sighted in their approach, losing sight of their long-term objectives in their race to acquire the latest digitally appropriate technology. We must remember that the value of a firm depends on the product it offers in the market. Thus, the ultimate objective of the firm should be to add value to the product through regular innovation and feedback.
The sole emphasis on metric driven price points can prevent a firm from going blue sky for improvement to create value for its loyal customers. For the decision makers it becomes a game theoretic choice between simply data crunching and an idea generating environment. Waiting for a sufficient and suitable amount of data can be a stumbling block to entrepreneurial impulses. In many cases, it has been observed that companies are adding or acquiring technology that may not be necessary to improve product quality or scale, but only by the short-term principle of ‘if they, why not me’ are directed.
In some of these cases, firms would have had better success if they had invested in their human resources, their R&D, or focused on the feedback received from end users through a system of social interaction. In the process, companies lose the competitive edge over their products. This pertinent point is raised by Mahadev Matt Mani and Paul Leinwand in their book Beyond Digital. While the authors deal with the many leadership approaches required to navigate the digital world, the focus on technology acquisition by firms as an end in itself is discussed extensively in the book.
While online lectures, classes, meetings and work-from-home (WFH) arrangements helped offices function even in the worst of the pandemic, they also highlighted the need to focus on the quality of human resources, social Significance The need to be concerned about the quality of physical contact and work-life balance between stakeholders.
Thus, lately, we are seeing a lot of large firms focusing on enhancing the quality of their human resources. This is also true for start-ups that are truly dependent on the strength of their innovation. This innovative potential can be fully harnessed only when the human brain is given the best environment to work and where the pulse of the users of their product reaches them seamlessly.
Another issue of concern over the years has been the increasing concentration in certain industries. The widespread use of technology in various sectors of the economy has given some firms an edge over others.