Photo: Sam Liew
The true digital disrupters know that getting ahead is about delivering real results. The Accenture Technology Vision 2015 refers to this trend as the "outcome economy", defined as the ability of companies to create value by delivering solutions to customers that, in turn, lead to quantifiable results.
Until now, this results-oriented approach to business has been difficult to realise as companies traditionally have limited effective ways of understanding what customers want.
Digital technology is resolving that difficulty and the outcome economy is no longer an aspiration. Major companies in every industry can stretch their boundaries to take advantage of it, while start-ups can use it as yet another way to become a disrupter.
The outcome economy is being driven largely by increasingly intelligent hardware, which is otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT). In this context, the definition of hardware is focused on edge devices ranging from smart washing machines, wearables and security cameras, to autonomous cars and intelligent buildings.
By tying feedback from embedded hardware and sensors to their digital systems, companies can capture data, generate insights into how customers use products and services, and measure their corresponding level of satisfaction. These highly connected hardware components help companies give customers what they really want: not more products or services but more meaningful results.
In fact, 87 percent of respondents Accenture surveyed acknowledged adoption of more intelligent hardware, sensors and devices on the edge of networks has resulted in organisations shifting from selling products or services to selling outcomes. Furthermore, 84 percent of respondents attributed a deeper understanding of product usage and customers' desired outcomes to embedded intelligence in products.
For example, U.S. agrochemical giant Monsanto integrates farm intelligence software with precision agriculture sensors and systems to deliver deep insights about current and future weather, soil and crop conditions.
This multi-dimensional knowledge powers Monsanto's ability to improve growers' outcomes by advising them not only on the most profitable crops for them to plant, but what seeds to buy, when to plant and harvest, what yields to expect and even the projected revenue that farmers can expect at the end of the harvesting season.
In the pharmaceuticals industry, Proteus Digital Health is focusing on improving patient outcomes by integrating a tiny, inert sensor in the pills it produces. The sensor acts in concert with a wearable device and mobile app to provide full "adherence transparency" for patients, healthcare providers and payers. With this approach, Proteus can help patients increase the effectiveness of their treatment, demonstrate cost savings over traditional methods of care, and drive better overall outcomes for patients, payers and providers.
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