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Tapping Technology’s Hidden Value

It can take 15 years for technological solutions to be enacted. Firms can get on the fast track by co-creating value with their customers and competitors

QSB Insight TALKS is back this month with a presentation by Kathryn Brohman, Queen’s School of Business Associate Professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Management Information Systems. In this video, Brohman discusses how organizations overlook opportunities to build value through technology partly because they fail to engage customers or are reluctant to bridge artificial gaps with their competitors. 

Video Highlights

0:40     Lifetouch revolutionized the student photography business, using technology to streamline the customer experience. But when Brohman arranged for a photograph of her five-year-old son, she noticed the invoice included a $16 charge for touch-up and the printing of her child’s name on the bottom of the image. Both were set as default services but both were unnecessary and unwanted. Is this “forced complement” good customer service or an unethical business practice?  

7:54     Brohman’s vision of great customer service in the airline business: walking into an airport terminal with your smartphone activated, and the airport information system recognizing you and sending a text message with the next available flight to your destination, regardless of airline carrier. “This is something we’d pay for because it’s adding value to our experience. We’re involved in the process.” While available technology allows for this seamless experience, airlines resist it because it would be too disruptive to their business models. 

12:56     Brohman’s research shows that it takes 15 years for technological solutions to be enabled. The reasons: monopolies are not moved to innovate or barriers exist within industries. “How much longer will it take before organizations pick up on this lag and start to adopt some of the technologies that we know and love?"

16:40     Considering the massive amount of existing web content, including applications and information, only 3 percent is actually used on a typical day. “More content is coming on but the percentage of adoption is not getting any higher.” For companies lumbering in the slow lane, Brohman’s prescription includes “co-creation of value” with the people who know their products well.

Look for the next QSB Insight TALKS March 17, 2014: Salman Mufti on the art of decision-making.