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Generating a Tangible ROI with Digital Signage

Digital signage is now found in nearly every corner of the modern world, and a substantial swath of new companies are discovering the benefits of strategic messaging that can be deployed across the globe via the simple touch of a button. However, the question many newcomers are asking, though, is: “Will digital signage really generate a tangible Return on Investment (ROI)?” The simple answer is yes! Business goals and objectives The first step to generating positive ROI is understanding how your digital signage aligns with your business goals and objectives. What are you looking to achieve? Increased sales, reduced costs, enhanced customer experience, and brand awareness are just a few of the many positive benefits organizations derive from digital signage. Understanding your business goals and aligning that to your digital signage strategy will help create a positive digital blueprint for your organization. Make sure you have SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-sensitive) goals. It is also important to consider how you will measure success. What constitutes enhanced customer experience? What costs are you looking to reduce and how will you measure their reduction? Tangible metrics If it exists you can usually find a way to measure it. Tangible metrics that are often measured in relation to digital signage include increased sales, reduced costs, reduced wait times, and improved customer and employee satisfaction. One way that airports and other public facilities are currently deploying digital signage is as a wayfinding tool. The ROI on these types of deployments is evident in reduced wait times and employees having more time to help service other areas of the business. On the revenue side, the average increase in sales from digital signage is somewhere between 3-5%. There is also an additional increase of margin per transaction of 2.5-3% based on customer upsells from attractive Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays. Surveys estimate that nearly 20% of customers have made an impulse purchase after seeing a product displayed on digital signage, making it is easy to see how quickly digital signage can provide a hard ROI, especially when displayed to large volumes of consumers. In another case study, a bank was able to reduce perceived wait time 10.8% through digital merchandising.[1] Product awareness doubled from 22% to 45% and customer recall for digital signage in branch reached nearly 63%. The positive impacts of a better customer experience and enhanced product recall are not always as easy to see as fluctuations in sales numbers, but they are never-the-less important barometers for the success of digital signage strategies. Measuring engagement It is also important to think outside the box about what is possible with digital signage. The rise of social media platforms and related applications gives businesses completely new, and often untapped, opportunities to engage with their buyers in a completely novel way. For example, one way to increase engagement and ROI might be through a targeted Twitter campaign that uses specific hashtags and measures growth in Twitter mentions and followers. The value of being a thought leader with millions of followers is potentially massive. Your customers are busy. Your customers are distracted. The best way to bridge the gap between a prospect and a sale is through digital signage that connects and influences buying habits, all while improving interactions. ROI doesn’t need to be elusive. Whether your organization is seeking out revenue increases, better brand awareness, or improved customer experiences, digital signage can provide galvanizing opportunities.       [1] https://www.digitalistmag.com/industries/retail/2014/05/02/how-digital-signage-drives-marketing-roi-01249973

Cybersecurity is a Challenge That Must Be Addressed

Technology continues to change, but now more rapidly than ever. As companies adopt new digital technologies––Internet of Things (IoT), big data, blockchain, cloud computing, and mobile computing––security must be a primary consideration. In the past, securing network perimeters from threats was enough. Now, data spreads across systems, devices, and the cloud, all of which require a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. The Digital World Needs Security Just Like the Non-Digital World From decision making to customer service, digital technology continues to reinvent the way companies operate. The automation of business processes and increasing digital connectedness of technology have significantly raised cybersecurity risks and threat levels. Any vulnerabilities can be exploited to quickly proliferate a cyberattack throughout the entire supply chain, costing an organization not only money but also the trust of its customers. To properly address these concerns, it is essential to take a proactive approach and build security directly into storage, applications, and interconnected devices. This ensures organizations can maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data wherever it resides, whether on premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments. IoT is Reinventing How Companies Conduct Business The Internet of Things makes cybersecurity essential, but also more challenging. Through IoT, billions of devices are now connected and interacting to a degree that the world has not seen before. As IoT becomes more prevalent, malicious cyberattacks are growing in frequency and sophistication. With these devices being deployed in potentially vulnerable environments, such as vehicles, banks, hospitals, factories, and power grids, the risks to human welfare grows more serious. The message is clear. Failing to secure these devices could have devastating real-world consequences. In Connected Environments, Security Must Exist Across All Applications IT personnel regularly secure outside access to their networks and applications. However, the transformation of digital communication has created a vast network of interconnected environments, so perimeter protection is no longer adequate. Once a cyber-attacker compromises a weak link, they have access to the company’s networks, systems, and data. In a digital world, security must be proactively embedded into all applications as the first line of defense. In addition, security controls should be defaulted to the highest levels of protection. Encryption of data in transit and two-factor authentication are additional measures that can dramatically increase the security of communications. It is essential that the cybersecurity and IT professionals find a common understanding, a shared terminology, and a unified approach to securing applications and data.  

Digital Technologies and Priorities in 2019

Digital transformation was a hot topic in 2018 and it is sure to continue impacting organizations in 2019. In fact, according to a Forrester Research survey, 46% of executives believe that in less than five years, digital will have an impact on more than half their sales. The World Economic Forum estimated that digital transformation has the potential to create as much as $100 trillion in combined value for both industry and society by 2025. There are several trends within digital transformation worth further investigation: Digital Transformation Continues as a Top Priority for Business Leaders A recent Randstad study found that 95% of the 3,000 surveyed organizations felt a new type of leadership is required to adequately address changes in organizational structures and operating models due to digitalization. Rapid technological advances are causing companies to view this as an overall business priority, not just a technology or IT goal. To address this issue, an estimated 60% of CIOs are growing their budgets for analytics, machine learning, and data science according to Forbes. AI Will Power More Tools from Search to Digital Communications Consumers have embraced artificial intelligence through the use of virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and other devices. But with the rapid advancements of IoT devices and AI chips, artificial intelligence will be used for a lot more than finding a song or predicting the weather. Chatbots such as Mya will help HR pre-qualify candidates for jobs and even automatically reject a candidate if you decide to pass on his or her application. In addition, these chatbots will allow companies to use virtual agents to solve customer service issues without having to pass off calls to a human. Potential Blockchain Applications will Continue to Grow Most of us think of blockchain as a way to create digital currency such as Bitcoin, but this only scratches the surface of its capabilities. Blockchain-inspired solutions can also be used to achieve operational efficiency by automating business processes or digitizing records. The applications that will be produced with blockchain technology in the near future have the potential to enhance the secure sharing of information among known entities, as well as improving opportunities for tracking and tracing physical and digital assets. The Connected Cloud Will Produce a Mix of Different Cloud-Based Technologies Connected clouds are evolving to meet the varying needs of companies, whether they want cloud-source storage, networking, security, or app deployment. Public cloud providers like Amazon and Alibaba, for example, are now offering private cloud options as well. Providers are showing an increased commitment to connecting clouds so applications run seamlessly, secure, and streamlined. Finding the right mix of workloads running in public, private, and hybrid environments will be a big topic in 2019. Smart Spaces from Hospitals to Offices to Transportation and Manufacturing Centers A smart space is a physical or digital environment in which multiple elements––including people, processes, services, and things––interact to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience for a target set of people and industry scenarios. This can be seen in the advent of smart cities, digital workplaces, smart homes, and connected factories. The creation of smart spaces is poised to accelerate rapidly and become an integral part of the daily life of employees, customers, consumers, community members, and citizens. Digital Ethics and Privacy: The Value of Information Individuals, organizations, and governments are growing concerned about the use of their personal information by organizations in both the public and the private sector. Organizations must proactively address these concerns or face the inevitable backlash. This requires taking more action than just ensuring an organization is compliant with privacy laws. Digital ethics will be a hot topic as organizations learn to ways to handle privacy and information in 2019. Increased Use of Data and Analytics Across All Parts of Organizations Augmented analytics use machine learning to transform how data is developed, consumed, and shared. Automated insights from augmented analytics will be embedded in enterprise applications, such as those used by HR, finance, sales, marketing, customer service, and procurement, to optimize the decisions and actions of all employees and automate the process of data preparation, insight generation, and insight visualization. In many situations, this will eliminate the need for professional data scientists.

Striking a balance in a digital world

How a focus on innovation and operational excellence drive business results Earlier this year, I had the great privilege of attending the CIO Perspectives conference and participate in the Publisher’s Panel alongside executives from OpenText, ePlus and IDG Events. The topic of the day was business innovation and operational excellence, and as part of the conversation, we addressed some key findings from the 2018 State of the CIO Report.  Of particular interest to me was the fact that while 88 per cent of CIOs say their role is becoming more focused on digital and innovation, nearly three quarters of respondents find it difficult to strike the balance between business innovation and operational excellence. Taken at face value, this presents a significant challenge for CIOs and other leaders, as digital transformation is becoming increasingly crucial to businesses’ ability to thrive. However, operational excellence and business innovation are not either-or scenarios. In a recent blog post, I discussed the concept of digital maturity, which refers to a company’s ability to use new tools and strategies to adapt to a digital environment that is constantly evolving. Ultimately, digital maturity and best-in-class operations go hand in hand: for a business to maintain operational excellence, it must embrace the digital landscape and use innovation to maximize its efficiency, gain a competitive advantage and increase its bottom line. At Omnivex, we offer a free Digital Assessment Tool, which allows companies to assess their digital maturity and use the findings to inform their digital transformation strategies. It’s important to note that operational excellence, purpose-driven innovation and successful digital transformation are tied together by effective communication. Muddled messages and tired delivery methods not only limit the potential for a symbiotic relationship between digital innovation and business excellence, but they can also have a negative impact on employee engagement, productivity and company results. What’s more, effective communication starts from the top, and it is up to the entire C-suite (including CIOs) to develop a comprehensive leadership strategy that fosters an environment in which the right information is shared with right people at the right time on the right device. Tools like digital signs are a benefit to companies that want to communicate in a meaningful and relevant way, but on a higher level, leaders must first ensure that effective communication is baked into the company’s overarching strategy and is utilized up, down and across the organization. Dovetailing from effective communication is company-wide buy-in, which is the most crucial piece of any organization’s digital transformation. CIOs, in collaboration with other leaders, must secure alignment and engagement from all levels and departments in order for change to be successful. If employees do not buy what the C-suite is selling, the risk of failure is high and, as a result, operational efficiency and productivity will likely suffer. In order to mitigate this risk and build a cohesive, engaged workforce, employees must understand what is happening and why, meaning that any effort to improve operational efficiency through digital channels must be strategic and purposeful. Furthermore, executives must determine the methods and tactics of change that will work for their organization’s specific needs, goals and culture. At the end of the day, leaders struggling to strike a balance don’t have to choose: they can have both digital innovation and operational excellence. With careful planning, effective communication and a clear, purpose-driven strategy, the two priorities can complement each other to ensure the business remains productive and efficient today while preparing for the new, always-changing realities of tomorrow.

What Does the Future of Information & IT Look Like in 2019?

Since the late 90s, when internet adoption became mainstream, there have been extensive predictions for the future of information and IT. While many seemed fantastical, space-aged imaginings of a technological culture gone too far, countless of these insights have indeed materialized, providing for a complex, yet connected world most could never have imagined. So, what does the future of information look like in 2019? Early Assumptions In a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, author Nicholas G. Carr asserted that IT had become ubiquitous and commoditized.1 In his view, IT was merely a standard cost of doing business that offered no competitive advantage. In the years to follow, cloud computing deconstructed the traditional IT organization and businesses have flocked to inexpensive or free applications as the cornerstone of their operations. With competitors mainly utilizing the same tools, the competitive advantage has shifted to other technologies. Microsoft’s Vision from 2009 Known for setting industry trends, Microsoft is often looked to when it comes to the future outlook of information and IT. In 2009, a short video called, “Microsoft Office Labs Vision 2019” was released to the public.2 The video displays a futuristic world of technology that, at the time, may have seemed improbable. Featuring innovations like touchscreen windows and a digital interactive newspaper, the video piqued the imagination and instilled within us a future of possibilities yet to come. While it’s true that a few of these technological predictions haven’t made it to the consumer level yet, today, many seem less far-fetched than they did when Microsoft recorded the video a decade ago. Accenture’s Vision from 2011 In 2011, Accenture distributed its vision of future tech, predicting technology to become fully incorporated with business trends and societal movements.3 Accenture maintained that the path of IT carries as much importance for businesses and governments as it does for technology sector. They also took note of strides in data analytics for business integration, cloud computing, a shift to service-centric architecture, social networks driving business intelligence, and a transformation in data privacy risk interpretation.  Accenture also noted that IT was no longer a supporting function, but rather a leading player in the lives of individuals.  While the report is a more matter-of-fact approach to the future of information and IT than Microsoft’s video, their intent to prophesize the direction of technology is similar. Much like Microsoft’s predictions, some of Accenture’s views have come to fruition or are still an anticipated possibility, while others have fallen short of the actual trajectory technological innovation has taken. Today’s Prediction for the Future of IT The vast array of emerging technologies today offers an even broader spectrum of possible expectations for the direction of information and IT. From automation and artificial intelligence to the internet of things4, modern technology solutions have the potential to impact every aspect of our lives and forever shape the path of society and technology. They represent significant gains in efficiency and productivity by empowering machines, and even networks of machines, to interact intelligently, learn, and improve on their own. Further, various new currencies are gaining a foothold in the economic world (i.e., cryptocurrency and blockchain technology), and their growing popularity could have a lasting impact on financial systems globally. Blockchain technology integrated into cryptocurrency promises to deliver added benefits in numerous industries as well. Regardless of what the future of information and IT holds, Omnivex is committed to staying current with both existing and emerging technologies, creating cutting-edge software to deliver complete digital communication network management solutions. Simply put, Omnivex enables organizations to improve the collection, distribution, and presentation of critical business information, ensuring our customers success.   1https://hbr.org/2003/05/it-doesnt-matter 2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwj2s_5e12U 3https://insuranceblog.accenture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Accenture_Technology_Vision_2011.pdf 4https://www.business2community.com/tech-gadgets/5-future-technologies-will-mainstream-2020-02006302  

The Importance of Digital Communications for IT

Information technology is defined as the utilization of computers to store, retrieve, and send data–while communication technology is the use of devices, such as telephones, radios, and computers, to facilitate communication between people. As technologies have continued to improve and expand functionalities, the realms of information technology and communication technology have become increasingly intertwined.  This trending convergence of information and communication technology offers tremendous opportunities for businesses, but it also creates challenges that must be met in order to realize its full potential. Because of this, the importance of digital communications as a priority for IT departments has never been higher. Digital Communications in the Workplace Access to digital communication tools in the workplace is now essential to building a cohesive and productive team. Developing relationships, sharing information, and engaging stakeholders anywhere on the planet are keys to a successful and growing business. Not only is digital communication good for business, but it’s also the way employees expect to communicate. “Digital communication in our personal lives has far outpaced the way we communicate in the workplace–so workers are now demanding better communication tools. To expect people to work any other way is a massively missed opportunity,” said Taylor Wallace, co-founder of WeVue. The benefits of digital communication are quite attractive, but there are challenges as well.  Implementing digital communication tools across a multigenerational workforce is not straightforward. People have different workplace perceptions, routines, and expectations.  Introducing new technology and ways of working can disrupt this cadence as employees adjust to the new working environment. Another potential issue is the overuse of digital communication. In some instances, workers spend more time communicating and less time working, resulting in lower productivity. A proper implementation strategy and clear communication expectations can help alleviate these concerns. Using Digital Communication Effectively Simply implementing new digital communication tools will not improve business performance. Carefully selecting the tool best suited for the business needs and developing an integration plan is absolutely essential. Implementing digital communication tools without a well thought out implementation and engagement plan will not solve organizational challenges. It is important to consider: who will be using the tools what will the tools be used for where are people using the tools located – office or remote why will they want to use the tools over traditional methods More than just office communications, consumers are increasingly making connections with businesses via digital communication. In fact, a survey by STARTEK found that 80% of consumers utilize a digital device to contact a company, while just 10% only use a phone. Even so, to be successful with digital communication, a solution must be carefully chosen and rolled out effectively. IT Must Lead the Way When it comes to selecting, implementing, and maintaining digital communication solutions, IT must lead the way and Omnivex is here to help. With powerful digital communication platforms that facilitate the collection, distribution, and presentation of targeted real-time information, Omnivex transforms the way organizations interact with their audiences.

AI: The Future of Digital Communications

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enabling organizations to create a more personalized digital communications experience. So it is no surprise that the AI market is predicted to rise to nearly $60 billion by 2025. AI Will Provide Tremendous Growth Opportunities AI permits machines to learn from data in much the same way as the brain does and then use that knowledge to perform human-like tasks. Artificial intelligence is being used in some very exciting applications, including speech recognition, natural language processing, complex problem solving, self-driving cars, and voice-enabled digital assistants. Communications and media companies have embraced AI. Accenture Strategy research found that 63 percent of telecommunications executives believe AI deployment will drive additional revenue and growth opportunities by accelerating the introduction of new products and services. That’s why 72 percent of these same executives identify AI as a Top Three business priority currently or within one year. It’s clear that AI is the future of digital communications. AI Allows Personalization and Segmentation on a Level Never Seen Before Customers expect a personalized experience with information that is relevant to them. AI helps deliver that experience by enabling organizations to draw on the vast amount of historical data they have about their customers and their behaviors, and then leverage that information to deliver the targeted content. For example, digital signage can detect that a shopper entering a store is a female with curly hair, then use AI to immediately show her store items that customers like her have purchased. Artificial Intelligence can also be used to predict other offer aspects, like the quoted price necessary to make a conversion or which clients are more prone to making more than one purchase. Machines have the power to process huge amounts of data, quickly decide which data is most relevant, and then segment appropriately. AI Will Transform Digital Communications AI solutions for digital communications are becoming even more customizable, allowing the optimization of digital advertising and algorithm-generated content. AI-based digital signage networks, for example, are able to determine which ad to display to a customer by interpreting audience engagement levels and then comparing it to historical customer behavior patterns and data. In fact, digital signage networks that use AI are proven to increase content relevancy by up to 50 percent. These intelligent tools keep evolving and are now reaching a point in which they are able to surpass human ability in certain respects. In fact, Gartner predicts that 85% of customer interactions will be managed by artificial intelligence by 2020. Artificial Intelligence can help improve the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of your digital communications, and the time to act is now.

The workplace of the future

Human Resource departments are undergoing continuous change as both organizations and the workforce become more digital.  56% of companies are redesigning their HR programs to leverage digital and mobile tools. From implementing analytics and integrating legacy systems to new recruitment and employee tools, HR is building the workplace of the future with a renewed focus on employee engagement. Employee engagement is vital to the success of an organization and workers hired today expect digital communication. 85% of employees are performing below their potential due to engagement issues, but digital communication strategies aimed at employees can change this. HR plans that focus on innovation, digital communication and real-time information to build engagement is driving the workplace of the future, now. Watch below to learn more about the HR digital transformation.

How Digital Communications Can Transform HR

  Recent advancements in digital communications are disrupting a wide variety of industries, including varied sectors such as transportation, insurance, and hotels. It’s also disrupting departments such as human resources. Once viewed as a support function that delivered employee services, HR is now poised to take a leadership position in the digital transformation sweeping organizations worldwide by exploring new applications, platforms, and ways of working. HR Leaders are Driving Organizations to Embrace Digital Tools According to Deloitte, 56 percent of companies are redesigning their HR programs to leverage digital and mobile tools, including the 41 percent that is actively building mobile apps to deliver HR services. Additionally, 33 percent of HR teams are using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide HR solutions to their employees. Over the past few years, many companies have replaced their legacy talent systems with integrated HR platforms. Now that the technology is in place, HR has turned its focus to people, work, and platforms to create a set of practices Deloitte calls “digital HR.” This strategy has become essential to creating the systems and tools necessary to attract and retain young, digitally savvy workers who are comfortable doing things themselves and sharing information in a transparent way. This new generation of workers demand an integrated, digital experience at work designed around teams, productivity, and empowerment–and it is up to HR to deliver it. Advanced Technology is Changing the Way HR Works Despite being in its infancy, AI has already been put to use in a number of innovative ways in HR. Chatbot services, such as Wade and Wendy, and Mya, help companies acquire talent, convert job seekers into applicants, and deliver informed recommendations throughout the recruiting process. The technology does this by showing prospective employees job opportunities in the company, helping with their career strategies, and allowing them to better understand the organization’s culture. Artificial Intelligence is also being utilized in software that helps human resource professionals write better job descriptions using advanced algorithms that identify and reduce gender, race, or generational bias. In addition, crowdsourcing is being used by Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth and LinkedIn Salary to collect anonymous data on millions of salaries to allow professionals to compare their compensation package against those offered in similar jobs by city, tenure, industry, and even company. Embracing Digital Communications Can Make Organizations More Efficient Leveraging digital tools empowers HR professionals to help employees do their jobs better. Digital signage can be used to enhance employee experience by providing real-time information about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), highlighting vision and organizational goals, and sharing relevant news, weather and safety information. Mobile apps enable organizations to stay connected with employees out in the field, providing them with relevant company information and access to necessary tools. Integrating digital signage and mobile apps also provides a new way to tackle onboarding, training and coaching across a dispersed workforce. The workplace of the future is digital – HR teams that embrace digital communications will transform their organization, enhancing employee experience and creating competitive advantage.

How Digital Maturity Is Affecting Core Operations and Value

Regardless of your organization’s industry, the digital space that you work in can be overwhelming. New digital trends, such as big data, AI, mobilty are having a huge impact on both organizations and individuals. To survive, organizations must employ digital communication strategies to meet the growing demands of the business to remain digitally mature. In other words, they must be able to adapt and compete in a constantly changing digital market. Every company can take steps to become more digitally mature. Doing so can create competitive advantages and increase market share. Adept Companies Adapt There are several key factors that help identify digital maturity. One aspect is the ability to adapt to increasingly digital environments. Another is implementing digital technologies to improve operations. According to a 2017 digital business global executive study and research project from Deloitte Insights, more than 70% of respondents from digitally maturing companies say their organizations are increasingly organized around cross-functional teams versus only 28% of companies in the early stages of digital development. Clearly, there is a fundamental shift occurring in the way work is getting done, a paradigm change that will significantly impact organizational behavior, corporate culture, talent recruitment, and leadership tactics. Working on Your Core Having too many competing priorities is often the biggest barrier to realizing digital maturity. However, to achieve it, companies must fully commit to making digital communications a core part of their organization and business strategy. Leaders must not only emphasize that digital maturity is of paramount importance, but use that focus to transform the business, customer experience, and the bottom line. To truly drive digital success, this level of commitment may require major changes within an organization, including reconfiguring of the leadership team, organizational structure, workforce, and culture. Monumental changes such as these are no longer optional, but essential to survive. The Long View Digitally mature companies take the long view. These companies utilize longer strategic planning horizons than those employed by less digitally mature organizations. In fact, almost 30% of these organizations plan five or more years in advance compared to only 13% of the least digitally mature organizations. In addition to the long view, their digital strategies focus on both technology and core business capabilities. They are also open to organizational change and flexibility, providing them the ability to adjust more fluidly in rapidly changing digital environments. It’s Time to Assess Your Digital Maturity The good news is, every company can take steps to become more digitally mature. Omnivex has created a digital maturity assessment tool to help organizations see where they stand, compare themselves to industry peers, and evaluate how they can improve. Curious about your own organization's level of digital maturity? Use the digital assessment tool to learn more.

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