Digital Transformation
Apr 17, 2018

A glimpse into the enterprise of the future

No VR goggles needed

A smart refrigerator that reorders milk before you realize you are fresh out. Artificial intelligence that predicts when to restock retail shelves, so your favorite snack is always there when you need it. Banks that approve the mortgage for that new house you are hoping to buy, even before you apply. The promise of the enterprise of the future – and the customer experience it delivers - is all around us.

Recently, we brought together clients and innovators at One World Observatory in New York to explore the idea of the enterprise of the future and talk about some of the opportunities on the horizon. Curiosity and imagination, artificial intelligence and digital transformation, adaptation and prediction – these were some of the common threads of discussion for thriving in transformative times.

Here are my five takeaways from our evening of reflection and debate – ideas that will impact the way I look at enterprise going forward.

1. The enterprise of the future will organize around the customer.

Everything – structures, silos, even governance models – will be reshaped around the customer, connecting the back and middle office to the front, moving from distinct company lines to seamless collaboration. These changes will break silos and boundaries between and within organizations, creating opportunities for co-innovation and collaboration. Workforces will shift from functional roles to more fluid, agile, and purpose-driven career paths, where mission-based teams come together and disperse, driving innovation and growth for the sake of the customer.

2. The exponential rise in digital technologies can lead to new business models - if you read the signals.

As enterprises work to organize themselves around the customer, advanced technologies – such as computer vision, machine learning, and advanced analytics – applied to specific business problems becomes more important than ever. With faster, more accurate predictive insights, leading businesses can create new services and enable new business models.

Take an insurance company, for example. Using drones, the company can take photographs and assess damage to a tiled roof after a hail storm. Over time, by analyzing millions of similar images and looking at weather patterns, the company may be able to predict how damaging future storms will be, and even inform customers that they've had hail damage before they themselves know they've had it, and before they suffer additional damage. In other words, roles are changing. Insurers will increasingly have the ability to move from just insuring losses to mitigating them, which keeps premiums competitive and redefines the customer's relationship with its insurer.

3. Prediction will become ubiquitous.

AI will become the central nervous system of evolved businesses, enabling and empowering them to predict future events. The most evolved enterprises will be able to anticipate what customers want and need by using advanced technologies to harness data – both internally and externally – to make prediction ubiquitous. We see the power of predictive insights in areas of business where signal detection becomes mission-critical. For example, areas such as patient safety or anti-money laundering will need to predict future events and prevent or change negative outcomes before they happen. Gathering and analyzing data, even as it is continuously and instantaneously changing, and taking advantage of these insights in real time before anyone else, will define how companies are able to conquer disruptions and threats.

4. Don't underestimate AI, or our role in it.

Our guest speaker, Andrew McAfee, co-founder and co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) put the current and future potential of AI in perspective. “Minds will still have a great deal to contribute in the brave new world of machines that keep getting better and better." Our role is in no way diminished and will be defined in the second machine age by our common sense, our ability to ask questions and our social skills. Machines can only provide answers that are as good as the questions posed to them.

5. The biggest threat to your business: Failure to dream.

As we debated, provoked, and deliberated, it was clear that as leaders, the ability to think beyond the immediate horizon of one's business to imagine the future and all of it's possibilities is key to success. Our CEO Tiger Tyagarajan said, “It's our job to dream for our clients, to be bold and gutsy."

At Genpact, we dream of solving complex problems and creating the future of the global enterprise. Amidst the reality that change is constant, and uncertainty is certain, affording ourselves the space to pause - to look beyond business technologies, beyond AI, beyond what's next and just dream, for a moment, about what's possible. Envision what could be. What should be. From here, the view is amazing.

About the author

Stacy Simpson

Stacy Simpson

CMO and global leader of corporate responsibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion

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