Rob Curley, Managing Director at Singlepoint spoke to Alex Meehan in The Sunday Business Post: Connected, about Digital transformation and its potential to improve all aspects of how companies do business. Read the transcript of this interview below.

Is your company doing enough to harness the power of technology? It’s a question that every business person should ask themselves as the trend for digital transformation continues to roll on.

While some firms have enthusiastically embraced the way that technology allows for a rethink in terms of how they operate, others remain fearful of the unknown and are content to make do with how they’ve always done things.But the application of technology to how even a small company  does business can have a profound effect. Efficiencies can be gained, costs saved and staff satisfaction levels raised, all while doing something that can help future proof the business.

While digital transformation at its most basic is the application of technology to improve business processes, that’s not necessarily what is happening most in the Irish market just now. Because it’s a relatively mature phenomenon, some companies are way ahead of that.

“Traditionally this has been about improving the online channel and getting involved in process automation, but we’re now seeing a lot of machine learning happening, and, in general, we’re seeing a lot of new technology trends combining to enable new ways of doing business,” said Rob Curley, managing director of Singlepoint.“It’s based on things like machine learning and running algorithms across big data sets using artificial technology — using the technology in a combined manner.”

The driver for this is that companies are looking to be able to provide improve customer experience and, to do that, they want as much insight as possible about their customers from their data. “So much data is being generated right now that people aren’t really able to consume it in real time. What we’re seeing as a result is companies investing in AI and machine learning to be able to make sense of that data, to be able to come up with the right kinds of insights, and as a result improve the customer’s experience across various channels,” Curley said.

According to Curley, this kind of digital transformation has moved past improving the front end of a website or app experience. “There are a lot of small companies that are specialising in those kinds of technologies. There is a lot of partnering going on as larger companies reach out to the marketplace to form strategic alliances with smaller companies that are able to provide this kind of insight-driven technology,” he said.

“The challenge for the larger companies and the reason they’re doing this is that they often don’t have the innovation in-house to be able to do this themselves. So it’s not just the giant consultancies that are providing this kind of service – it’s smaller boutique companies that have developed a high degree of expertise in the skillsets.” The challenge for companies seeking to do this kind of digital transformation in their own business is how to gain access to the skillset necessary.

If you don’t already have it, going out into the market for it can be expensive and difficult. “You have to be able to work with lots of different disparate sets of data, some of it structured and some of it unstructured, and often on custom-designed platforms. Despite this we’re seeing a lot of companies standing up the environments and technology to enable them to run or roll out machine learning algorithms,” said Curley.

“Also, companies doing this want to see a quick return. They want to see a four to six-week prototyping programme or proof of concept that shows that this business model will work, with that partner on that time scale and at that cost, not a long winded open-ended programme.”

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