Director of Sales Marcio Rodrigues tells us about the key themes at VivaTech Paris.
Marcio, 80,000 people are in attendance at VivaTech and there is a whole host of new technology on show. What have you made of the conference so far?
It’s fantastic. I think the fact it was President Macron who gave the keynote speech this morning reflects the size and significance of this event, and it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the positive impact tech is having across the globe. Events on this scale are rare and to have so many world leading organisations, who sit at the forefront of the technological revolution, in one room is impressive. I’m thrilled that Vizolution is amongst them, and it has been great to share our offering with so many attendees from across Financial Services, Utilities and Telecoms.
You’ve obviously been meeting people from various industries today. Have there been any key themes emerging in your discussions?
Blockchain… Robotics… Clean energy… The range of technology on show and the number of attendees mean many diverse themes are being discussed across the conference. But from the people I’ve been speaking to, it’s clear that a top priority for organisations is finding technology to enhance customer experiences and deliver streamlined business processes.
I think that there has always been a willingness and a desire in enterprise organisations to improve journeys from both a customer and business perspective. Historically, these projects have often been difficult owing to complex legacy systems and the resources required to get these projects off the ground. With the technology now on offer, what we are seeing today is that these obstacles no longer apply in the same way or to the same extent. FinTechs, InsurTechs and the like are collaborating with organisations to find innovative solutions that circumvent traditional barriers like legacy systems or lengthy integrations, so real innovation and value can be delivered within a short period of time.
In my opinion, the digital disruption in the business world means we are going through a period economist Joseph Schumpeter termed ‘creative destruction’. This is the "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. Digital disruption reminds me of a phoenix, the mythical creature that rises from the ashes of its predecessor. Firms today are undergoing a transformative period to clothe themselves in the new digital language of the future, moving on from the systems of old.
Why do you think it is that organisations are increasingly concerned with CX?
As Forrester wrote, we are now in the ‘Age of the Customer’. Challenger organisations like Amazon and Apple have set a new standard for customer service, and their influence hasn’t been contained within the retail sector alone. Second best is no longer good enough, with customers now expecting this standard from their Bank, Insurer, Utility or Telecom provider. What’s more, customers are more willing to leave organisations if they have had a poor experience, with price comparison sites and switching services making it much easier to identify better deals and make a move.
I think organisations are also increasingly concerned with CX due to the additional business benefits of optimising journeys. Typical reasons that cause customer journeys to be long and painful, like mailing documentation or verifying identity, also often mean inflated costs. By finding solutions to these issues, businesses can not only improve CX, but also see an uplift in other KPIs like efficiency or digitalisation.
On a more general level, it must also be noted that there is real momentum within enterprise boardrooms towards business transformation as a whole. Pace of change is accelerating, and the impact of inertia is clear in the life expectancy of companies today. It might surprise you to hear that 52% of The Fortune 500 firms since 2000 are gone. The average lifespan of a company in the S&P 500 index has decreased from 61 years in 1958 to just 18 years today, a run rate that would mean that by 2027, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not yet heard of.
What is the starting point for organisations looking to improve their customer journeys?
It sounds obvious, but the starting point must be putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Historically, journeys have been centred around what works for an organisation, but now it’s important that strategic priorities are aligned with a position of customer centricity. By looking through the customer lens, you will be in a better position to identify the breaks and delays that are causing your customers to drop out of the journey and creating inefficiencies.
Finally, we have seen that AI and Robotics are playing a big part at VivaTech. What does this mean for the future role of the human?
No one can deny that potential of AI, Robotics and the like is exciting. The pace of change is already rapid and is only showing signs accelerating even further. Nevertheless, I think some commentators can be too quick to create an all or nothing divide in regards to the ‘role of the human’ debate. On the one hand, you can find those that say the future is humanless and on the other you have those who reject advancements in technology altogether.
For me, the future is more blurred. Inevitably simple tasks suited to being automated will be, and rightly so. Why have a person processing documentation when a robot could do it in the fraction of the time and cost? But in the case of complex, emotional or high value situations, human interaction still retains a value that is not possible to automate. In answer to your question, I therefore think humans will still have a pivotal role to play within the future technological ecosystem but will be supported by digital tools to enhance and streamline interactions.
Want to know more about how technology can support traditional human interactions? Watch this short video below: