Today’s consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, and businesses must meet their demands to stay competitive and relevant. Mass marketing is proving to be less effective since customers expect personalized, real-time communications from brands. Additionally, undifferentiated marketing simply does not work for brands’ diverse market segments. Businesses must employ individualized marketing efforts to remain connected. With the variety of channels consumers can use to communicate and interact with brands, marketers have access to a goldmine of consumer information.
However, gaining access to this information and using it effectively has proven to be difficult for marketers, especially without all of the right tools. So how do businesses achieve marketing to the segment of one and make the most out of consumer behavior? Let’s first discuss exactly why individualized marketing is imperative for businesses. Then we’ll dive into how to employ personalized marketing and the technologies that enable it.
Why market to the segment of one?
Traditional marketing channels typically include advertising through print publications, radio and TV, mail, and phone. Many of these high-cost channels have fallen prey to lower-cost digital channels as consumers stay connected around the clock. Consumers want brands to connect with them individually, without the feeling of being stalked or intruded on.
Individualized marketing produces dynamically personalized content and messages that consumers are more likely to act upon. Marketers have seen a myriad of benefits from individualized marketing. According to a recent survey by Everage and The Realtime Report, the main benefits of real-time marketing include:
Increased customer engagement (81%)
Improved customer experience (73%)
Increased conversion rates (59%)
Improved brand perception (52%)
The majority of marketers today are harnessing this power, with 76% of surveyed marketers saying they have implemented real-time marketing techniques.
The omnichannel customer experience
The path consumers take to communicating and purchasing from brands has become significantly more complex. Say Joe Consumer started a conversation with Retailer Z on his preferred social media application, continued through website browsing and a phone call, and then finally visited the retailer in person. Though Joe was able to talk to Retailer Z, he had to update each channel’s spokesperson with his question, making him frustrated and turning him away from the offer. To alleviate this, it would be best for the retailer to be aware that all these separate interactions came from Joe to produce the most effective interactions with him.
How to market to the segment of one
To market to the segment of one, brands must deliver the right offer over the right channel at the right time, all while personalizing the offer at the individual level and taking into account all available consumer information. So how exactly do marketers do this? Three main things must be put into place:
Contextual data: By collecting and combining data from all channels, Retailer Z would have known Joe’s basic customer information, purchase history, as well as digital behaviors from when Joe browsed the website and clicked through product details. Collecting all of this data, normalizing it (removing noise and structuring it), and housing it in a centralized logical repository – though a daunting task – is necessary in order to market to consumers individually.
Analytics: Analyzing consumer data would also enable Retailer Z to put Joe in a specific market segment – which would then allow for forecasting and future behavior prediction. With established analytics, marketers can hone in on the driving force behind all consumer interactions. This can be done through analytical techniques such as segmentation, forecasting, modeling, and optimization.
Omnichannel capabilities: The ability to orchestrate and deliver marketing actions across all available channels is becoming more imperative as brands move towards “segment of one” marketing. If Retailer Z could link disparate channel actions back to a common customer profile, iterations of marketing programs could take place to enhance and include future actions. Having a real-time infrastructure in place that consists of a decision management architecture that is available in a “steady-state” (always on) is imperative as well. This infrastructure is critical in order to be able to reply with the next best offer or action in a timely, often sub-second, manner. Traditional transactional environments don’t allow for these quick, analytically-based decisions to be made across all channels today.
Consumers’ need for more personal relationships with brands has shifted marketers’ focus from traditional mass marketing to marketing to the segment of one. This requires the right technology and knowledge to seamlessly connect a consumer’s actions across all channels and points in time. Today, the most advanced marketing departments deliver these individualized experiences using contextual data, analytics, and omni-channel capabilities to achieve increased customer engagement and loyalty.
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About Jonathan Moran
Jonathan Moran is responsible for global marketing activities for all SAS Customer Intelligence solutions. Mr. Moran joined SAS in March of 2008 bringing seven years of industry experience with him, having worked in Global Professional Services and Sales Support roles at the Teradata Corporation.
Over the past 14 years, Mr. Moran has had the opportunity to not only architect, develop, demonstrate, and implement Customer Intelligence solutions, but he has also had the opportunity to work on-site with Fortune 500 customers helping them solve unique digital marketing challenges.
Mr. Moran graduated from North Carolina State University with an undergraduate double major – Marketing and Spanish Languages and Literatures. Mr. Moran also holds a MBA from North Carolina State University with a concentration in Technology Commercialization.
Today’s buyers want and need a more rewarding experience, especially when seeking technology solutions to meet critical needs. Businesses must adapt to buyers’ changes or face losing a share of their target market to competitors.
For business partners, social selling is becoming a vitally important strategy for reaching prospects early enough in the decision-making process to influence eventual purchases.
What is social selling?
Relationships between the business and the consumer can mean the difference between increasing revenue or losing customers to competitors. Social selling involves using social networks to build relationships with prospects in your target market.
The popularity of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms has made social selling a viable marketing tool for large and small businesses. Business partners can also use these platforms to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites and in-person events.
How does social selling improve brand awareness and increase customer loyalty?
Savvy marketers today know that 75% of B2B buyers are going online to be more informed about vendors. Using social selling to build a reputation, share relevant and interesting content and industry information, engage in conversation with consumers and clients, and seek out new prospects are all key to achieving sales success.
Vigilance and consistency are always important with this approach. A business that takes a lackadaisical approach to its marketing efforts will likely lose prospects to a competitor. However, a business that consistently updates and repurposes content, promotes itself as an expert in the industry, and actively engages others is more likely to stay top-of-mind with its target audience.
5 social selling techniques that work
Businesses that are successful at social selling understand that delivering consistent, high-quality content is the key to building relationships with their target markets and current clients. A social network must be nurtured, just as real-world networks were in the past through meetings, business lunches, phone calls, and seminars.
Sharing content related to the industry, informative videos, pictures of a product in use, and general content relevant to the target market is another important aspect of social selling.
Positioning a business as an industry thought leader also serves to showcase products and services in a manner that improves brand recognition and marketplace credibility.
Keeping online profiles up to date and detailed ensures that interested buyers can learn more about your business. A strong LinkedIn profile is especially important for those seeking B2B sales. Taking advantage of the Lead Builder function in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great way for businesses to find and make new connections.
Stepping back from selling and instead listening to buyer concerns can provide a wealth of information about what a buyer is looking for, enable you to provide useful information and solutions, and build trust with important decision makers.
Social selling is quickly becoming the primary method of revenue generation in today’s changing economic landscape. Want to learn more? Visit the SAP Marketing Academy, choose “SAP SME Academy Live Series,” and find the “Social Selling” series.
The Digitalist Magazine is your online destination for everything you need to know to lead your enterprise’s digital transformation.
Read the Digitalist Magazine and get the latest insights about the digital economy that you can capitalize on today.
About Lorraine Maurice
Lorraine Maurice is the Senior Director of Global Indirect Channel Marketing at SAP. She is responsible for the launch of SAP partner programs, solutions and communications into the Indirect Partner Ecosystem, which includes many partner types such as VARs, Distributors and DRCs.
Spoiler alert: Facebook is not the most engaging social media channel! Despite its sheer numbers of active users and maturity, this social media network may no longer be the top platform to focus on for your social media marketing strategies.
You can probably guess which platform ranks as the most potent channel for engagement. Since its inception as a photo-sharing app in 2010, Instagram has risen to become one of the largest social media networks with well over 500 million active monthly users.
According to a new report, Instagram isn’t just growing. It may be the most powerful social media channel available to businesses on the internet.
There are a few other surprises, such as Twitter’s waning significance and LinkedIn’s strength in certain industries.
Are you focusing your efforts on the right social media channels for your brand? Even more crucial, as we marketers strive to work smarter with the shift towards agile methods, are we wasting our time on others?
How social media sites add up – new digital marketing analysis report
This year’s official analysis of the digital marketing industry by TrackMaven – a comprehensive look at more than 700 leading businesses across 13 industries, found that Instagram isn’t simply the most engaging. This network crushes the other social media platforms when it comes to social media engagement in every industry except real estate.
And the least engaging? Of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, our old friend Twitter inspires the least engagement across the board. As with the Instagram phenomena, where the site was wildly engaging when compared to other networks, the report found that Twitter looks pallid next to all of its brighter, more engaging social network colleagues.
Again, with one exception. Construction equipment – which received, on average, 21.26 interactions per post per 1,000 followers. When it comes to the world of dump trucks, cranes and plow trucks, marketers get about the same amount of engagement across channels.
What’s even more surprising is that Facebook isn’t getting that much engagement, at least not enough to warrant its popularity among marketers. Still, today:
55% of marketers say Facebook is their most important platform for marketing – with the second in line being LinkedIn, favored by 18% of marketers
67% of marketers plan on increasing their activity on Facebook in 2017
Are we way off when it comes to our social media strategies? Should we be working on filling our photography skills gap for our brand’s Instagram account?
Industry does matter
Before you sign up for an evening photography class, what industry you are marketing for does make a difference. For example, in the healthcare industry, as well as in food services and accommodations, Facebook is still incredibly useful for engagement.
This makes sense – Facebook is great for restaurants and hotels who need a channel to regularly post updates, specials, and news about their location that locals would be interested in. Facebook also comes with the ability to let customers check in, often in exchange for deals.
This is like getting people to wear your brand’s t-shirt. They become a walking ad for your business and feel pretty good about it because they get something out of the deal as well.
Appealing to all demographics, including older adults, Facebook is ideal for health awareness campaigns and posting announcements about health classes, services, and general health tips. Also, this is an industry that tends to be very community-driven, just like your local pizzeria and coffee shop, which meshes with Facebook’s local business appeal.
Anne Arundel’s Medical Center has been a fantastic example of an engaging Facebook presence since their Facebook contest to raise awareness for men’s health in 2015, encouraging users to share their best “stachie” (mustache) photos. The company also does a great job tackling local issues that people are interested in, like addiction recovery and infant health. This type of marketing really fits with Facebook and wouldn’t work as well with a platform like Instagram.
Real estate, on the other hand, gets the most engagement with LinkedIn – the network known to appeal the most to professionals. This industry also does well with the visual sites, Pinterest and Instagram, which offer agents the chance to showcase their properties.
For higher education, which is marketing towards a younger audience, Instagram is a powerful engagement channel. Instagram is known to be extremely popular with millennials. In 2016, just under 60% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 were on Instagram – only 8% of users aged 65 and over had accounts.
Perhaps this has something to do with the popularity of Instagram with consumer goods companies. The power of Instagram for the finance and insurance industry may be a shock to marketers. This idea may sum up industry sentiment:
“Instagram probably isn’t going to move the needle for the majority of financial institutions. It could be a gigantic waste of time for many banks and credit unions.”
Well, it’s moving the needle. The visual, personal feel of Instagram appears to have an impact on customers. Financial services company, US Bank is a great Instagram example. It uses the platform to tell the story of their brand values, through regular posts about community involvement using #communitypossible.
Social media engagement isn’t everything. You may have great activity on your brand’s social media channels, but this isn’t necessarily going to directly translate into sales. What it will do is bring more attention to your brand and help to build loyalty and trust. 53% of Americans who follow brands are likely to be loyal to them. It also helps to make your brand feel more human, which eases those conversion rates. People are more interested in doing business with other humans.
Research done by Social Bakers found a direct correlation between activity in response to social media posts and website page views.
Getting the most out of your engagement
There’s a lot more to marketing than social media engagement, but marketers should really take a look at how they are using social media to engage in order to get the most out of their efforts. Is it worth spending as much time and resources on Facebook and Twitter?
Are you measuring how your engagement changes on each site over time? A good question to ask – and to test: Would you be better off automating more of your interactions with the channels that aren’t getting much engagement?
Or have you already put your eggs in the Instagram basket – if so, are you using this site well to tell your brand’s story? Are you getting the intense response from your audience that your competitors are getting?
The most important insight to take from this report is that social media marketing perhaps is changing faster than we assumed. Sure, digital marketing is a rapidly evolving field, but social…this is an arena where there is so much freedom and flexibility.
With so many new entrants changing the game every few months or so, perhaps there will never be hard-and-fast rules. There’s no best single social network, or most popular, or most effective. It’s just what works, for you, right now. Thank goodness for Fridays and agile marketing.
Last August, a woman arrived at a Reno, Nevada, hospital and told the attending doctors that she had recently returned from an extended trip to India, where she had broken her right thighbone two years ago. The woman, who was in her 70s, had subsequently developed an infection in her thigh and hip for which she was hospitalized in India several times. The Reno doctors recognized that the infection was serious—and the visit to India, where antibiotic-resistant bacteria runs rampant, raised red flags.
When none of the 14 antibiotics the physicians used to treat the woman worked, they sent a sample of the bacterium to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for testing. The CDC confirmed the doctors’ worst fears: the woman had a class of microbe called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Carbapenems are a powerful class of antibiotics used as last-resort treatment for multidrug-resistant infections. The CDC further found that, in this patient’s case, the pathogen was impervious to all 26 antibiotics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In other words, there was no cure.
This is just the latest alarming development signaling the end of the road for antibiotics as we know them. In September, the woman died from septic shock, in which an infection takes over and shuts down the body’s systems, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Other antibiotic options, had they been available, might have saved the Nevada woman. But the solution to the larger problem won’t be a new drug. It will have to be an entirely new approach to the diagnosis of infectious disease, to the use of antibiotics, and to the monitoring of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)—all enabled by new technology.
Keeping an Eye Out for Outbreaks
Like others who are leading the fight against AMR, Dr. Steven Solomon has no illusions about the difficulty of the challenge. “It is the single most complex problem in all of medicine and public health—far outpacing the complexity and the difficulty of any other problem that we face,” says Solomon, who is a global health consultant and former director of the CDC’s Office of Antimicrobial Resistance.
Solomon wants to take the battle against AMR beyond the laboratory. In his view, surveillance—tracking and analyzing various data on AMR—is critical, particularly given how quickly and widely it spreads. But surveillance efforts are currently fraught with shortcomings. The available data is fragmented and often not comparable. Hospitals fail to collect the representative samples necessary for surveillance analytics, collecting data only on those patients who experience resistance and not on those who get better. Laboratories use a wide variety of testing methods, and reporting is not always consistent or complete.
Surveillance can serve as an early warning system. But weaknesses in these systems have caused public health officials to consistently underestimate the impact of AMR in loss of lives and financial costs. That’s why improving surveillance must be a top priority, says Solomon, who previously served as chair of the U.S. Federal Interagency Task Force on AMR and has been tracking the advance of AMR since he joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1981.
A Collaborative Diagnosis
Ineffective surveillance has also contributed to huge growth in the use of antibiotics when they aren’t warranted. Strong patient demand and financial incentives for prescribing physicians are blamed for antibiotics abuse in China. India has become the largest consumer of antibiotics on the planet, in part because they are prescribed or sold for diarrheal diseases and upper respiratory infections for which they have limited value. And many countries allow individuals to purchase antibiotics over the counter, exacerbating misuse and overuse.
In the United States, antibiotics are improperly prescribed 50% of the time, according to CDC estimates. One study of adult patients visiting U.S. doctors to treat respiratory problems found that more than two-thirds of antibiotics were prescribed for conditions that were not infections at all or for infections caused by viruses—for which an antibiotic would do nothing. That’s 27 million courses of antibiotics wasted a year—just for respiratory problems—in the United States alone.
And even in countries where there are national guidelines for prescribing antibiotics, those guidelines aren’t always followed. A study published in medical journal Family Practice showed that Swedish doctors, both those trained in Sweden and those trained abroad, inconsistently followed rules for prescribing antibiotics.
Solomon strongly believes that, worldwide, doctors need to expand their use of technology in their offices or at the bedside to guide them through a more rational approach to antibiotic use. Doctors have traditionally been reluctant to adopt digital technologies, but Solomon thinks that the AMR crisis could change that. New digital tools could help doctors and hospitals integrate guidelines for optimal antibiotic prescribing into their everyday treatment routines.
“Human-computer interactions are critical, as the amount of information available on antibiotic resistance far exceeds the ability of humans to process it,” says Solomon. “It offers the possibility of greatly enhancing the utility of computer-assisted physician order entry (CPOE), combined with clinical decision support.” Healthcare facilities could embed relevant information and protocols at the point of care, guiding the physician through diagnosis and prescription and, as a byproduct, facilitating the collection and reporting of antibiotic use.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s antibiotic stewardship division has deployed a software program that gathers information from electronic medical records, order entries, computerized laboratory and pathology reports, and more. The system measures baseline antimicrobial use, dosing, duration, costs, and use patterns. It also analyzes bacteria and trends in their susceptibilities and helps with clinical decision making and prescription choices. The goal, says Dr. David Haslam, who heads the program, is to decrease the use of “big gun” super antibiotics in favor of more targeted treatment.
While this approach is not yet widespread, there is consensus that incorporating such clinical-decision support into electronic health records will help improve quality of care, contain costs, and reduce overtreatment in healthcare overall—not just in AMR. A 2013 randomized clinical trial finds that doctors who used decision-support tools were significantly less likely to order antibiotics than those in the control group and prescribed 50% fewer broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Putting mobile devices into doctors’ hands could also help them accept decision support, believes Solomon. Last summer, Scotland’s National Health Service developed an antimicrobial companion app to give practitioners nationwide mobile access to clinical guidance, as well as an audit tool to support boards in gathering data for local and national use.
“The immediacy and the consistency of the input to physicians at the time of ordering antibiotics may significantly help address the problem of overprescribing in ways that less-immediate interventions have failed to do,” Solomon says. In addition, handheld devices with so-called lab-on-a-chip technology could be used to test clinical specimens at the bedside and transmit the data across cellular or satellite networks in areas where infrastructure is more limited.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can also become invaluable technology collaborators to help doctors more precisely diagnose and treat infection. In such a system, “the physician and the AI program are really ‘co-prescribing,’” says Solomon. “The AI can handle so much more information than the physician and make recommendations that can incorporate more input on the type of infection, the patient’s physiologic status and history, and resistance patterns of recent isolates in that ward, in that hospital, and in the community.”
Speed Is Everything
Growing bacteria in a dish has never appealed to Dr. James Davis, a computational biologist with joint appointments at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago Computation Institute. The first of a growing breed of computational biologists, Davis chose a PhD advisor in 2004 who was steeped in bioinformatics technology “because you could see that things were starting to change,” he says. He was one of the first in his microbiology department to submit a completely “dry” dissertation—that is, one that was all digital with nothing grown in a lab.
Upon graduation, Davis wanted to see if it was possible to predict whether an organism would be susceptible or resistant to a given antibiotic, leading him to explore the potential of machine learning to predict AMR.
As the availability of cheap computing power has gone up and the cost of genome sequencing has gone down, it has become possible to sequence a pathogen sample in order to detect its AMR resistance mechanisms. This could allow doctors to identify the nature of an infection in minutes instead of hours or days, says Davis.
Davis is part of a team creating a giant database of bacterial genomes with AMR metadata for the Pathosystems Resource Integration Center (PATRIC), funded by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to collect data on priority pathogens, such as tuberculosis and gonorrhea.
Because the current inability to identify microbes quickly is one of the biggest roadblocks to making an accurate diagnosis, the team’s work is critically important. The standard method for identifying drug resistance is to take a sample from a wound, blood, or urine and expose the resident bacteria to various antibiotics. If the bacterial colony continues to divide and thrive despite the presence of a normally effective drug, it indicates resistance. The process typically takes between 16 and 20 hours, itself an inordinate amount of time in matters of life and death. For certain strains of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis, though, such testing can take a week. While physicians are waiting for test results, they often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics or make a best guess about what drug will work based on their knowledge of what’s happening in their hospital, “and in the meantime, you either get better,” says Davis, “or you don’t.”
At PATRIC, researchers are using machine-learning classifiers to identify regions of the genome involved in antibiotic resistance that could form the foundation for a “laboratory free” process for predicting resistance. Being able to identify the genetic mechanisms of AMR and predict the behavior of bacterial pathogens without petri dishes could inform clinical decision making and improve reaction time. Thus far, the researchers have developed machine-learning classifiers for identifying antibiotic resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii (a big player in hospital-acquired infection), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. MRSA, a worldwide problem), and Streptococcus pneumoniae (a leading cause of bacterial meningitis), with accuracies ranging from 88% to 99%.
Houston Methodist Hospital, which uses the PATRIC database, is researching multidrug-resistant bacteria, specifically MRSA. Not only does resistance increase the cost of care, but people with MRSA are 64% more likely to die than people with a nonresistant form of the infection, according to WHO. Houston Methodist is investigating the molecular genetic causes of drug resistance in MRSA in order to identify new treatment approaches and help develop novel antimicrobial agents.
The Hunt for a New Class of Antibiotics
There are antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and then there’s Clostridium difficile—a.k.a. C. difficile—a bacterium that attacks the intestines even in young and healthy patients in hospitals after the use of antibiotics.
It is because of C. difficile that Dr. L. Clifford McDonald jumped into the AMR fight. The epidemiologist was finishing his work analyzing the spread of SARS in Toronto hospitals in 2004 when he turned his attention to C. difficile, convinced that the bacteria would become more common and more deadly. He was right, and today he’s at the forefront of treating the infection and preventing the spread of AMR as senior advisor for science and integrity in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “[AMR] is an area that we’re funding heavily…insofar as the CDC budget can fund anything heavily,” says McDonald, whose group has awarded $14 million in contracts for innovative anti-AMR approaches.
Developing new antibiotics is a major part of the AMR battle. The majority of new antibiotics developed in recent years have been variations of existing drug classes. It’s been three decades since the last new class of antibiotics was introduced. Less than 5% of venture capital in pharmaceutical R&D is focused on antimicrobial development. A 2008 study found that less than 10% of the 167 antibiotics in development at the time had a new “mechanism of action” to deal with multidrug resistance. “The low-hanging fruit [of antibiotic development] has been picked,” noted a WHO report.
Researchers will have to dig much deeper to develop novel medicines. Machine learning could help drug developers sort through much larger data sets and go about the capital-intensive drug development process in a more prescriptive fashion, synthesizing those molecules most likely to have an impact.
McDonald believes that it will become easier to find new antibiotics if we gain a better understanding of the communities of bacteria living in each of us—as many as 1,000 different types of microbes live in our intestines, for example. Disruption to those microbial communities—our “microbiome”—can herald AMR. McDonald says that Big Data and machine learning will be needed to unlock our microbiomes, and that’s where much of the medical community’s investment is going.
He predicts that within five years, hospitals will take fecal samples or skin swabs and sequence the microorganisms in them as a kind of pulse check on antibiotic resistance. “Just doing the bioinformatics to sort out what’s there and the types of antibiotic resistance that might be in that microbiome is a Big Data challenge,” McDonald says. “The only way to make sense of it, going forward, will be advanced analytic techniques, which will no doubt include machine learning.”
Reducing Resistance on the Farm
Bringing information closer to where it’s needed could also help reduce agriculture’s contribution to the antibiotic resistance problem. Antibiotics are widely given to livestock to promote growth or prevent disease. In the United States, more kilograms of antibiotics are administered to animals than to people, according to data from the FDA.
One company has developed a rapid, on-farm diagnostics tool to provide livestock producers with more accurate disease detection to make more informed management and treatment decisions, which it says has demonstrated a 47% to 59% reduction in antibiotic usage. Such systems, combined with pressure or regulations to reduce antibiotic use in meat production, could also help turn the AMR tide.
Breaking Down Data Silos Is the First Step
Adding to the complexity of the fight against AMR is the structure and culture of the global healthcare system itself. Historically, healthcare has been a siloed industry, notorious for its scattered approach focused on transactions rather than healthy outcomes or the true value of treatment. There’s no definitive data on the impact of AMR worldwide; the best we can do is infer estimates from the information that does exist.
The biggest issue is the availability of good data to share through mobile solutions, to drive HCI clinical-decision support tools, and to feed supercomputers and machine-learning platforms. “We have a fragmented healthcare delivery system and therefore we have fragmented information. Getting these sources of data all into one place and then enabling them all to talk to each other has been problematic,” McDonald says.
Collecting, integrating, and sharing AMR-related data on a national and ultimately global scale will be necessary to better understand the issue. HCI and mobile tools can help doctors, hospitals, and public health authorities collect more information while advanced analytics, machine learning, and in-memory computing can enable them to analyze that data in close to real time. As a result, we’ll better understand patterns of resistance from the bedside to the community and up to national and international levels, says Solomon. The good news is that new technology capabilities like AI and new potential streams of data are coming online as an era of data sharing in healthcare is beginning to dawn, adds McDonald.
The ideal goal is a digitally enabled virtuous cycle of information and treatment that could save millions of dollars, lives, and perhaps even civilization if we can get there. D!
Despite the progress made in some countries, I am also aware of others that are still resistant to digitizing their economy and automating operations. What’s the difference between firms that are digital leaders and those that are slow to mature? From my perspective in working with a variety of businesses throughout Europe, it’s a combination of diversity and technology availability.
European companies are hardly homogenous. Comprising 47 countries across the continent, they serve communities that speak any of 225 spoken languages. Each one is experiencing various stages of digital development, economic stability, and workforce needs.
Nevertheless, as a whole, European firms do prioritize customer acquisition as well as improving efficiency and reducing costs. Over one-third of small and midsize companies are investing in collaboration software, customer relationship management solutions, e-commerce platforms, analytics, and talent management applications. Steadily, business leaders are finding better ways to go beyond data collection by applying predictive analytics to gain real-time insight from predictive analytics and machine learning to automate processes where possible.
Small and midsize businesses have a distinct advantage in this area over their larger rivals because they can, by nature, adopt new technology and practices quickly and act on decisions with greater agility. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of European firms are embracing the early stages of digitalization and planning to mature over time. Yet, the level of adoption depends solely on the leadership team’s commitment.
For many small and midsize companies across this region, the path to digital maturity resides in the cloud, more so than on-premise software deployment. For example, the flexibility associated with cloud deployment is viewed as a top attribute, especially among U.K. firms. This brings us back to the diversity of our region. Some countries prioritize personal data security while others may be more concerned with the ability to access the information they need in even the most remote of areas.
Technology alone does not deliver digital transformation
Digital transformation is certainly worth the effort for European firms. Between 60%–90% of small and midsize European businesses say their technology investments have met or exceeded their expectations – indicative of the steady, powerhouse transitions enabled by cloud computing. Companies are now getting the same access to the latest technology, data storage, and IT resources.
However, it is also important to note that a cloud platform is only as effective as the long-term digital strategy that it enables. To invigorate transformative changes, leadership needs to go beyond technology and adopt a mindset that embraces new ideas, tests the fitness of business models and processes continuously, and allows the flexibility to evolve the company as quickly as market dynamics change. By taking a step back and integrating digital objectives throughout the business strategy, leadership can pull together the elements needed to turn technology investments into differentiating, sustainable change. For example, the best talent with the right skills is hired. Plus, partners and suppliers with a complementary or shared digital vision and capability are onboarded.
The IDC Infobrief confirms what I have known all along: Small and midsize businesses are beginning to digitally mature and maintain a strategy that is relevant to their end-to-end processes. And furthering their digital transformation go hand in hand with the firms’ ability to ignite a transformational force that will likely progress Europe’s culture, social structure, and economy.