Leveraging Digital Transformation to Improve Customer Relationships
2019-09-24 Marcel Hartgerink
Digital transformation is disrupting industry on a global scale and drastically changing existing business processes, company culture, and customer experiences. Under this impetus, companies are reimagining their business practices to excel in the digital age.
For manufacturers, digital transformation is critical for success. New technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing are driving the Industry 4.0 digital revolution (Forbes). According to a 2018 study, Industry 4.0: Global Digital Operations, conducted by global consultancy PWC, “out of 2,000 manufacturers, 86% expected to see cost reductions and revenue gains from their digitization efforts over the next five years.”
The integration of these new technologies via Industry 4.0 is enabling manufacturers to deliver a unique product to their consumers vs. the traditional mass-produced clones, causing a dramatic shift in consumer expectations towards personalized goods and services. Automotive manufacturers, in particular, have leveraged digital transformation to offer their customers a truly customized purchasing experience beyond simply being satisfied with a vehicle available on the dealer’s lot. Now, auto buyers can customize their vehicle with a seemingly endless number of options, from interior and exterior colors, Bluetooth connections, cameras, sensors and the like.
A good example of one company who re-invented its business processes to better serve their customers is Desoutter Industrial Tools, a French manufacturer of advanced electric and pneumatic assembly tools for the aerospace and automotive industries. Recognizing the shift in customer preferences in the context of Industry 4.0, Desoutter engaged in what they called a “radical transformation”, incorporating a high level of flexibility in the way their customers could deploy and repurpose their tools as their needs changed.
One important element of the transformation involved the introduction of more software-driven functions into their product portfolio. This move allowed Desoutter to implement a novel solution that would enable their customers to quickly repurpose their tools as needed without having to discard unused equipment or incur additional costs to acquire new capabilities. At the core of the new process is the concept of Unit Values (UVs). With the purchase of UVs, customers can dynamically draw from their UVs to access only the products’ features and services they need at any time. If they no longer require certain services, they can recover the UVs and convert them into a different service or even redeploy them on another tool. The approach gives their customers a way to immediately reconfigure a workstation, for instance, for another purpose using their available UVs.
One critical aspect of the process was license security. It was essential that UVs could be purchased electronically and protected against hacking or counterfeiting to ensure the appropriate monetization of their software. Integration of Wibu-Systems’ CodeMetersecurity and licensing technology provided protection for the UVs and the management flexibility necessary to efficiently create and deliver the UVs. As a result, Desoutter’s customers can use an online configurator to select the features they want on a specific tool and then order the UVs they need via an e-wallet in the form of a CodeMeter USB dongle. The customer can activate the service by simply connecting the dongle to a controller.
For Desoutter, the concept was not just about selling as many licenses as possible, but rather providing a solution that met the versatility required by their customers. By embracing digital transformation and re-engineering their business practices, Desoutter has strengthened their customer relationships and given themselves a significant edge over their competition.
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VP Sales | Security Expert
After completing his physics degree course in 1995, he was head of project management for software protection, software distribution, internet banking, and multimedia projects. In 2003, he joined Wibu-Systems and, as part of his role, contributed substantially to the development of Blurry Box® technology.