Note: This article is updated at How Digital is Changing Physical Experiences.
The business economy is going through massive change, as the old world meets the new world.
The convergence of mobility, analytics, social media, cloud computing, and embedded devices is driving the next wave of digital business transformation, where the physical world meets new online possibilities.
And it’s not limited to high-tech and media companies.
Businesses that master the digital landscape are able to gain strategic, competitive advantage. They are able to create new customer experiences, they are able to gain better insights into customers, and they are able to respond to new opportunities and changing demands in a seamless and agile way.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share some of the ways that businesses are meshing the physical experience with the digital experience to generate new business value.
Provide Customers with an Integrated Experience
Businesses that win find new ways to blend the physical world with the digital world. To serve customers better, businesses are integrating the experience across physical, phone, mail, social, and mobile channels for their customers.
“Companies with multiple channels to customers--physical, phone, mail, social, mobile, and so on--are experiencing pressure to provide an integrated experience. Delivering these omni-channel experiences requires envisioning and implementing change across both front-end and operational processes. Innovation does not come from opposing the old and the new. But as Burberry has shown, innovation comes from creatively meshing the digital and the physical to reinvent new and compelling customer experiences and to foster continuous innovation.”
Bridge In-Store Experiences with New Online Possibilities
Starbucks is a simple example of blending digital experiences with their physical store. To serve customers better, they deliver premium content to their in-store customers.
“Similarly, the unique Starbucks experience is rooted in connecting with customers in engaging ways. But Starbucks does not stop with the physical store. It has digitally enriched the customer experience by bridging its local, in-store experience with attractive new online possibilities. Delivered via a free Wi-Fi connection, the Starbucks Digital Network offers in-store customers premium digital content, such as the New York Times or The Economist, to enjoy alongside their coffee. The network also offers access to local content, from free local restaurant reviews from Zagat to check-in via Foursquare.”
An Example of Museums Blending Technology + Art
Museums can create new possibilities by turning walls into digital displays. With a digital display, the museum can showcase all of their collections and provide rich information, as well as create new backdrops, or tailor information and tours for their customers.
“Combining physical and digital to enhance customer experiences is not limited to just commercial enterprises. Public services are getting on the act. The Cleveland Museum of Art is using technology to enhance the experience and the management of visitors. 'EVERY museum is searching for this holy grail, this blending of technology and art,' said David Franklin, the director of the museum.
Fort-foot-wide touch screens display greeting-card sized images of all three thousand objects, and offers information like the location of the actual piece. By touching an icon on the image, visitors can transfer it from the wall to an iPad (their own, or rented from the museum for $5 a day), creating a personal list of favorites. From this list, visitors can design a personalized tour, which they can share with others.
'There is only so much information you can put on a wall, and no one walks around with catalogs anymore,' Franklin said. The app can produce a photo of the artwork's original setting--seeing a tapestry in a room filled with tapestries, rather than in a white-walled gallery, is more interesting. Another feature lets you take the elements of a large tapestry and rearrange them in either comic-book or movie-trailer format. The experience becomes fun, educational, and engaging. This reinvention has lured new technology-savvy visitors, but has also made seasoned museum-goers come more often.”
As you figure out the future capability vision for your business, and re-imagine what’s possible, consider how the Nexus of Forces (Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data), along with the mega mega-trend (Internet-of-Things), can help you shape your digital business transformation.