We are seeing a shift from traditional models that focus on the individual needs of people to wider societal issues, such as sustainability, gender equality, and human rights. Millennials and Gen Z want to protect the environment for future generations, and this is often more important to them than convenience, price or other deciding factors.
As digital transformation takes hold, and as society evolves to care more about social causes, leaders in the C-suite must adapt their business and leadership models to empower those around them and to work for communities as a whole.
Customer value vs. society
In today’s digital landscape, should leadership focus on customer value or develop more society-focused value propositions? The main trend we are seeing now is customer value propositions extending beyond self-seeking needs, growing to incorporate all four pillars of Corporate Social Responsibility. These include environmental sustainability initiatives, philanthropic giving, ethical business practices, and economic responsibility.
Research reveals that 87% of consumers have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, 88% will in turn be more loyal to that company, and 92% are more likely to trust that company over competitors. It’s clear that society now expects more, and as a result customer desires are becoming more altruistic.
Innovation in technology has made it possible for businesses to streamline operations, reduce pressure on natural resources, cut carbon emissions, and improve human resource allocation. By leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), IoT technology, cloud-based services, and machine learning, companies can bring about globalization in the most sustainable way. Digital transformation paves the way for a more eco-friendly future, and this value proposition is what will set brands apart for consumers, investors, employees and stakeholders.
How industry is changing today
Evidence of a digital society value proposition is all around us. There are already many examples where digital innovation and technology have brought multiple advantages to countries and communities.
Here are some examples of how digital transformation can deliver socio-economical or socio-political benefits:
Precision planting in agriculture
This new technology helps to achieve precise depth and spacing to optimize crop performance. It is a bottom line solution that not only saves money, but reduces seed waste and maximises land use. By applying nutrients, pesticides and water in the most sparing and strategic way, we can reduce environmental impact.
Stepping away from the one-size-fits all model, personalized medicine harnesses the power of biomarker testing technology to improve public health. Bringing together medical knowledge, technology and data science, is revolutionising patient care across the globe.
Mobility in automotive
The concept of mobility and car sharing form the future of the automotive industry. Moving away from car ownership and exploring new options of mobility, we can reduce fuel consumption and lower our carbon footprint. There are forecasts to suggest that over 400 million people will be turning to robotic car sharing by the year 2030.
Can the public sector lead the way?
By changing up their value proposition and focusing on CSR, private sector businesses can future-proof assets as their customer demographic develops. The benefits are irrefutable when implementing new technology, with the opportunity to cut back on resources, optimize processes and workflows, improve productivity, and enhance products and services through digital transformation. But CIOs in the public sector could have a head start in addressing the wants, fears and needs of the community with digital innovation.
Public sector organizations such as schools, hospitals and healthcare, and law enforcement agencies have a more obvious alignment with society-focused value propositions. The same goes for non-profit organizations such as NGOs and charities. The use of technology can radically improve performance of public sector staff and help to support better teamwork and collaboration so that organizations can work together effectively to provide the best possible services for the public.
However, if large private sector enterprises can rally around a relevant cause or collaborate with a selected charity to provide added meaning and value to their target audience, they can be an example of leading the change. By putting society first and profits second, brands can confirm their social value proposition and reach out to new customers.
Discover more business insights and trends, and learn how your organization can leverage a digital society value proposition at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Barcelona, Spain on the 3rd - 7th November 2019. It is the world’s biggest gathering of CIOs and IT executives, with a focus on leadership, business strategy and technology & information.