Impact of Shifting Consumer Behavior on Technology: Learnings from our Panel Discussion

February 21, 2021

In this panel discussion, our panelists share their thoughts on shifting consumer behavior and its impact on technology, both from an organizational and customer perspective. The panel also deliberates on how the demand from organizations is changing and the key areas companies need to focus on in terms of technology adoption, internal capabilities, and data protection.

Our panelists:

  • Marcos Da Silva, Director, Analytics Products & Strategy, Adastra
  • Mia Sajdak, Director and Account Executive, Adastra
  • Mark Segal, Technology Executive
  • Arianna Lutterman, Strategic Foresight, Fresh Squeezed Ideas

Key Highlights

How are technology trends impacting your day-to-day lives, both within the organization and from a customer perspective?

Technology is still missing the “human touch”: A Virtual Christmas, for instance, while better than nothing, is not good enough, and technology needs to continue to evolve to enable the human touch and do away with the limits it presently places on people.

Unprecedented ability to connect, even in lockdown: The pandemic has accelerated the technology change that was coming and the ability to interact online, work collaboratively remotely, order food, and shop online would not have been possible even a few years ago.

Video call fatigue is real, but the upside of shared experiences makes it worthwhile: While a day filled with video calls or a Zoom/Skype Christmas can be absolutely exhausting, people also use video calls to share immersive experiences and bring others into what they are doing in life. By keeping your video on during work calls, one can be more personable and build a rapport with team members quicker.

Danger of confusing the accelerated shift to technology as a desire to shift: Just because there was an intensification of digital adoption in the past year does not necessarily mean that people want more technology or virtual connections. It will be important to find a balance so that technology enables more social, human connections in the future.

In the wake of human behavior trends and COVID, what are you seeing in terms of demands from organizations when it comes to data, data estates, and meaningful use of data?

Citizen use of data: The biggest challenge for practitioners and organizations is that data is now expected to be pervasive and everyone is intended to consume it, even people who have not necessarily trained to be consumers of data.

Exponential increase in expectations around data: Everything is data-driven and organizations expectations about how data can be used or accessed have increased.

Need for Data Governance: Organizations that have seen data growth are acknowledging that, if not appropriately handled, data can be destructive, and are recognizing the need for deploying governance best practices.

Warm data and connections: The ability to connect data to other things in an integrated way allows organizations to gain real insights. There has been a shift from merely wanting to collect a plethora of data, to wanting to make sure that the data is meaningful, and this has triggered questions like “What do you ultimately want to achieve with the data?”.

Building a solid future-proof foundation: While we do not know what the technology is going to be in 20 years, if we build a solid foundation, through a sound data estate or cloud adoption framework, our customers (organizations) can go in any direction, building on top of it, and making it their own.

What are the key capabilities organizations need to focus on to capitalize on the current trends and build future-proof solutions?

Data Governance and Data Architecture: Data Governance is now becoming a key organizational skill to figure out what data you want to capture, what you intend to do with it, and its downstream impact. Data architecture is a part of the system architecture and organizations that are trying to find a way to bring customer touchpoints to a singular system are likely further along in their ability to use data effectively and quickly, compared to companies that are trying to create an architecture outside their mainstream systems to normalize the data.

Resilience and skill building: During the pandemic, resilience has enabled organizations to pivot and adapt whatever skills they had into something that can serve them well.

Warm, “human” data: Companies do not necessarily want more data, they want what the data is telling you, and for that, they need to be looking at the human side of data. Organizations need to look at how people’s needs are changing, listen to them well, and integrate those aspects into their way of working.

Foresight: Organizations need to continually look at different trends with nuance and keep a pulse on what is changing, and countertrends to what they were anticipating, so that they can build for the future.

As organizations are transforming and adapting to more digitization and digital processes, what can they do to have clearer guidelines around the protection and management of data?

People are more aware about their data: Even the potential of a data breach results in customer churn and causes people to review their own data hygiene and see who has access to their data. Organizations need to understand that losing customer trust is detrimental to business. A majority of people are not data-literate, and that was by design. If data security is not designed to be clear and transparent, and people are not being walked through how their data is being used, if is being designed to be confusing or hidden, then companies need to start thinking about how they can communicate their value to the customer. Data security will become table stakes, and it will only be a differentiator if it is properly communicated to the customer.

Treating data as an asset: The upcoming Bill C11 will force companies to set up a data privacy and security policy and that will lead to questions like “Do we really need to collect all this data?” and “Why do we have transient data stored in places?” Stronger policies will help companies understand where the data is, if they need it, how it is protected, whether it is obfuscated, what their purge policy is, and how this information gets communicated to the customers.

Change Management process: Securing data as an asset and adhering to upcoming regulations will be a lot easier if the data is managed. Going through a change management process is going to be absolutely necessary, because things like GDPR and the proposed C11 bill are going to force a lot of organizations to change to become more streamlined and simplify their processes.

Data by Design: Organizations are going to be a lot more conscious about where their data is, how it is used, collected, etc. because it will start costing more, both in terms of storage and the penalties of mismanagement or breach of regulations.

How has Adastra helped organizations better serve their customers during the pandemic?

Cloud migrations: Organizations are now more receptive and eager to understand what moving to the cloud might mean for them. Adastra has helped many organizations move to the cloud, and during the pandemic, these numbers have grown exponentially. We have been able to help our clients scale in the direction they needed to go and given them complete stack delivery for solutions that they needed.

AI and Machine Learning to understand patterns and issues: One of our projects for a large customer was around call centers. At the beginning of the pandemic, the client saw a huge spike in calls and wanted to get a holistic understanding of what was happening and about the main issues. Using ML and analytics, we were able to analyze call logs, understand patterns and do a sentiment analysis. Based on this, the client was able to get policies in place to address those things and provide relief and support to their customers. This engagement was a good example of how technology, data, and the use of data can be so powerful in serving the best interests of the customer and also in doing good.

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