This article originally appeared on TechDecisions.com.
At the Always On Technology Symposium, presented by Carousel Industries, attendees were lucky enough to witness an opening keynote from Jean Turgeon of Avaya that focused on an underestimated aspect of technology transformation – the unique use cases of technology.
It sounds like that would be the first thing that technology providers would focus on, but it rarely is. As technology managers we are constantly bombarded with information about new technology – AI, Security, Cloud, Analytics, and more. We’re told about the power, the capabilities, the potential of these technologies. Rarely are we told, however, how that technology will specifically impact our organization.
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It takes research on the part of the technology manager to learn how technology can be implemented into a specific organization. As it should be – the job of a technology decision maker is to make informed decisions about tech, which implies getting information about that technology. But, from the manufacturer’s and installer’s perspective, why should it be so difficult to find specific use cases?
Turgeon posits that it shouldn’t – manufacturers and installers need to take on horizontal views of technology in order to provide specifics for different verticals. That’s how you provide good customer experience, which is what we need as technology managers. Taking that a step further, technology managers need to provide those unique business cases internally in order to make a case for installing technology.
Take for example a healthcare environment. A patient, Joe, is taking pills to lower his blood pressure. As he’s wearing biometric devices to measure his blood pressure, he notices that even though he is taking the pills, his blood pressure isn’t dropping. He wants to learn why, so he calls into his healthcare organization to find out.
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The call center uses bots to interact with customers. Joe speaks with the bot and explains his problem. At the same time, the system is gathering data about Joe – pulling information from internal databases and smart devices in his home to learn more about the problem. It compiles information.
The internal database lets the system know when Joe last saw a doctor, which doctor it was, when the medication was prescribed, when Joe ordered the medication, and when Joe picked up the medication. It gathers his overall health records to pull in outside factors that could contribute. It also pulls in information from his wearable device to learn more about when and how his blood pressure spikes. That same wearable also tells the system how many steps he’s been taking each day. It also pulls in information from his smart pill box to learn how often he is accessing his medication. His smart water bottle tells it when and how often he is drinking water.
So the system determines a number of factors that could be contributing. His medication may have expired, or he’s not taking it often enough. He might not be taking enough steps and getting the exercise needed to aide the medication. He might not be drinking enough water. It might have been too long since his last appointment and he needs an updated medication.
Maybe none of those are a problem, however. The bot can then connect him to his doctor’s office to discuss the situation further. The bot could even set up a new appointment for Joe to come in and see his doctor. Perhaps the problem is more immediate and his doctor is unavailable – the bot can refer him to someone outside of their network to discuss the problems further.
This entire system has utilized technology to improve the customer experience. Machine Learning and robotics to operate the call center. Internet of Things devices like sensors and wearable tech to measure different variables. Analytics take those measurements, organize them, and draw conclusions. Unified communications tech allows the bot to connect with different offices – and an open architecture so the bot can reach outside of the organization. Not to mention the cyber security technology ensuring all of this information stays secured. Meanwhile, all of this is happening within a cloud network environment.
Notice how the conversation didn’t start with any one technology. The conversation started with a problem a customer is having, and continued with what the customer and organization needs to solve that problem.
This is the basis of digital transformation. It’s not about implementing as much new technology as you possibly can. It’s about understanding what your business needs – which is essentially what your customers need from the business – and then moves into the technology that can solve those needs.
There’s another step, too – bringing the technology together. This is where it is absolutely imperative to understand the needs of the organization and the customer in order to gain success. If you don’t know what the technology is going to do for the organization, how can you possibly decide how that technology should work? How would you know that you might need to provide data and analytics to an outside source? How would you know you need to collect data from water bottles and pill cases?
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That’s not something the manufacturer focuses on. There’s no commercial running during Dateline that will explain how a certain leveling sensor can measure how often a water bottle is tipped in order to measure the fluid intake of patients in a healthcare environment. That information might not be anywhere on the company’s website either.
Turgeon explains that it is up to the manufacturers and installers to present those use cases of technology to the end user. That would be great, but it might not happen. Instead, as a technology decision maker, think about what your customer needs are, and what your organizational needs are. Practical needs. Operational needs. Only then should you think about the technology that can help solve those needs – and you can draw on manufacturers and installers to help you figure that part out.
Perhaps there will come a time when your installation partners start with the use case and move on to technology. Folks like Turgeon are trying to make that a reality. Until then, it’s up to you to figure out the use cases. Then you can challenge your partners to provide the right technology. In the new, digital world, it will take a new way of thinking to properly utilize technology.