Fernando Castro Alvarez, Customer and Industry Workflows Portfolio Manager for CDW, and Catherine Gosnell, Operations Program Manager of Small Cell for Crown Castle USA, present at Knowledge 2023.

May 19 2023

Knowledge 2023: Living in the Future of Digital Transformation

The newest technology innovations improve the end-user experience for customers and employees.

Digital transformation is happening all around us. We see it in the emergence of technologies like generative artificial intelligence (AI) and the introduction of improved enterprise solutions.

Speakers at the Knowledge 2023 conference in Las Vegas focused on ways businesses can take advantage of digital transformation to drive growth. In many instances, it starts with understanding the customers and improving their experiences. If organizations build their enterprise service management solutions with end users in mind, they’ll increase adoption of new technologies, boosting efficiency, productivity and satisfaction.

Enterprise service management platforms like ServiceNow help unite teams, no matter their industry or function within the organization.

Here’s what Knowledge 2023 presenters had to say about improving enterprise services with digital tools and transforming modern workflows.

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Identifying Customers and What They Need

The first step to enacting digitally transformative solutions for customers is understanding who they are. “Every time we talk about customers, we think of external consumers, but what about your internal people? Aren’t they your customers too?” said CDW’s Fernando Castro Alvarez, a customer and industry workflows portfolio manager.

In a presentation Thursday, “People and Processes First: Crown Castle Teams Up with CDW for Transformation,” Castro Alvarez and Catherine Gosnell, operations program manager of small cell for Crown Castle USA, shared how digital transformation at the company began with a new understanding of who the business is serving.

“You need to learn about your people, about your processes and how they intertwine,” Gosnell said. “One of the things we started doing in our user groups was combining groups of people where their processes intertwined. When you do that, there are things that not only do they learn from the other groups but you learn about how their processes overlap.”

Once Crown Castle reframed how it was thinking about its customers, it was able to implement ServiceNow solutions to meet those customers’ needs. In doing so, one thing the Crown Castle team recognized was the importance of scalability.

“Right now, it’s just the IT team, so I’m just going to think about ITSM” is the wrong mindset for scalability, Castro Alvarez said.

Crown Castle was able to get buy-in for this process by involving end users during testing. While the team ultimately used the company’s roadmap as a North Star, it made users part of the transformation process, which ultimately improved their experience with the digital solutions.

LEARN MORE: Prioritize an improved experience for customers and end users.

Making these changes with customer experience and customer experience management in mind, the company achieved four significant results:

  • New ways of doing business: Teams moved from disparate legacy apps to a single system where integrated data added context to their work.
  • Improved support: It resolved customer problems proactively through simplified processes, the removal of swivel-chair work and a more personalized understanding of users.
  • Reduced spend: New systems allowed teams to forecast work more accurately and eliminate manual, disjointed processes through automation.
  • Transformed customer experience: Crown Castle’s business groups are engaged in a customer-centric framework that more easily supports all users from a single pane of glass.

The Customer Experience Through Simplified Procurement Processes

One way digital transformation enables a seamless customer experience is by simplifying the process of getting technology into end users’ hands. Investing in solutions like eProcurement allows all branches of your organization to operate with efficiency.

CDW shared Wednesday how ServiceNow supports electronic procurement in a session titled “Streamline Your IT Hardware Purchases with CDW's ePro.” Certified Master Architect Kelli Hoeppner and Field Solution Architect Tom Horton of CDW explained how eProcurement automates the procurement lifecycle to simply the process for asset management teams.

With the benefits of a service catalog, auto-ordering and advanced shipping notices, organizations can improve data accuracy and reduce hours spent supporting the ordering and purchase order processes.

The team showed examples of how these various benefits worked, sharing screenshots of dashboards and services at various stages of procurement. The services simplified the task of getting technologies into end-users’ hands to change the experiences of both internal and external customers.

Every time we talk about customers, we think of external consumers, but what about your internal people? Aren’t they your customers too?”

Fernando Castro Alvarez Customer and Industry Workflows Portfolio Manager, CDW

Samsung’s David Kinlough, senior director of enterprise business solutions, demonstrated a similar procurement and delivery process Wednesday in the session “The Global Current and Future State of Enterprise Mobility.”

Projecting the workflow in the dashboard on screen as part of the presentation, Kinlough used a document camera to show the simplicity of an end user activating a mobile device. He turned the phone on, made a couple of selections when prompted and connected it to the network in the hotel where the conference was taking place. Moments after the device was connected, the real-time workflow updated to show that the tech had been activated.

Kinlough demonstrated how ServiceNow eliminates unnecessary steps in getting technologies to customers, even when those customers are internal end users.

Kinlough’s co-presenter, K.C. Choi, noted that employees at many large enterprises are looking for mobile solutions.

“In recruiting and onboarding employees, Gen Z didn’t have experience using a PC. They had grown up as digital natives on a mobile device,” said Choi, Samsung’s Corporate EVP and head of its global mobile B2B team.

In response, the company is looking into the next generation of mobile technology and the service platforms that manage it.

Exploring Transformation Practices for the Customer Experience

In its session, Samsung speakers specifically explored the use cases of mobile technology for frontline workers. They noted the enormous value of mobile and wearable technologies for those in industries such as retail and manufacturing.

Not only are these industries employing more mobile solutions now, they’re looking to future possibilities through continued digital transformation. Choi noted that organizations are making workers more productive and businesses more profitable using enterprise data and the power of AI.

Choi used the example of fast-paced work on the assembly line of an unnamed automobile manufacturer. He said that today’s internal combustion engine vehicles have more than 700 power cables that need to be connected, and that each assembly station turns around its work in 55 seconds.

“The 700-plus number will actually increase when we go to electric cars, because electric cars have more electric connectors,” Choi said.

Choi said all of these connections need to be made by hand, and that the No. 1 reason vehicles are brought in for service is for issues with electrical connections.

DIVE DEEPER: How will generative artificial intelligence tools help businesses?

In response, the company used data on the vibrational frequency of the connections when they’re made properly and created a feedback system for employee wearables, such as smart watches. When the tech detects an improper frequency, it sends a haptic signal to the frontline worker, an alert that an incorrect connection was made.

Choi called this the “augmented worker,” and he claimed that it’s the future of digital transformation through data-enabled AI. “We mean ‘augmented worker’ as in the ability to make the worker safer, more productive and more accurate in what they’re doing.”

Though the concept of AI integrated at this level seems far off — and maybe even unsettling — Choi reminded attendees that most modern phones use AI to augment photos, recommend destinations in maps and send health alerts for contact tracing.

Incorporating AI into the augmented worker is simply another way to meet customers where they already are — on mobile platforms — and give them real-time feedback.

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