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2023 - the year in Enterprise Use Cases

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez December 22, 2023
diginomica’s bread and butter is end user stories. That’s how we separate PR from fact - by diving into the nitty gritty of use cases. And 2023 was no different.


At the end of last year I wrote my ‘year in review’ piece on a common theme amongst the use cases I’d seen over the previous 12 months - the focus being one of Total Experience. At the time, we had begun moving out of a reactionary buying period during COVID-19 and had entered the Vaccine Economy. Organizations were thinking about remaining competitive by using technology to improve both the customer and employee experience, recognizing that there’s a virtuous cycle between the two if executed effectively. 

However, looking back at the user stories I’ve been privy to during 2023, I can’t say that there is once again a common thread that ties them all together. And that’s probably because organizations have been in a state of flux over the past twelve months: battling inflation, facing higher interest rates and a cost of living crisis, as well as having to get to grips with what generative AI means to them. Not to mention the worrying geopolitical situations in Europe and the Middle East. 

The diversity of challenges has resulted in a diversity in stories amongst the customers I’ve spoken to - with buyers pursuing different outcomes as they navigate the trying path ahead. This makes for interesting food for thought as we enter the New Year - and should help provide some insight into what to expect during 2024. Here are some of the most read and/or most interesting customer stories from the last twelve months. 

How creative marketing giant WPP is preparing for generative AI

Machines can optimize within mechanical systems. What it can't do is come up with an all new human insight, behavioral insight or cultural insight that the best marketing is really founded on. 

We see generative AI as a super important tool that's going to be fundamental in changing the way that we work across all aspects of our business. But we fundamentally do not see this as machines replacing humans, we see this as augmenting humans. 

Why? Unless you’ve spent the last year under a rock, it goes without saying that 2023 was the year of all things ‘generative AI’. The launch of ChatGPT at the end of 2022 opened the eyes and minds of technology vendors and buyers everywhere to how the technology could be used to transform business practices. Some of the examples we’ve seen over the past year have been very compelling - but it doesn’t come without its risks, of course. And we’ve also not seen many live use cases this year, as companies remain tight lipped about how they’re going to seek competitive advantage using generative AI. But WPP’s core business relies on creating content, which is very much suited to the role Large Language Models (LLMs) can play in the enterprise. WPP’s framework for generative AI is well worth paying attention to. 

Milton Keynes University Hospital CIO talks Oracle, Cerner and the future of digital in the NHS

Moving technology just to the side, but where it plays an important part and can help the clinician in the decision making, but is not interfering with the care they’re providing - that’s’ the goal. 

Why? Since Oracle acquired Cerner it has made clear its ambition for changing how we receive healthcare, using aggregate healthcare data at a national - or even global - level. And so it was with interest that we got to speak to a hospital in the UK, part of the NHS, which uses Cerner for its electronic patient records and considers itself ‘digitally mature’ in the healthcare sector. How CIO Craig York is thinking about using digital tools to complement the patient experience is compelling and his frank responses as to what is needed to make this happen makes for an interesting read. 

MANN+HUMMEL scales process standardization with Celonis - with a strong focus on value creation

The idea is that the S/4HANA transformation is more of the long term approach, through to 2025. And on the way to do that transformation we are using Celonis to get some improvements done and prepare for the standardization. 

Doing this since last year, we now have accounts receivables, accounts payables, order management, production planning, plant maintenance - a lot of specialist solutions too. I would say all the major process areas we are already covering. 

Why? This story focuses on German filtration company MANN+HUMMEL’s planned SAP S/4HANA migration (a hot topic of interest for many companies out there facing an end of support deadline) and how they’re using Celoni’s Execution Management System to scale process standardization across the business. The hope is that this will extract value and help with its SAP project, by using Celonis to streamline processes via a Center of Excellence. 

Deliveroo serves up automated service delivery with ServiceNow to improve the employee experience

I think one of the opportunities at Deliveroo was to really formalize and digitize our processes, rather than just relying on ‘who knows how to get something done’. Instead of sending someone a Slack message, let’s formalize things and make sure that tickets have a seamless handover and are being properly managed end-to-end. 

Why? Although ‘experience’ wasn’t the topic of every customer conversation this year, it certainly popped up a few times still. Deliveroo is a global brand and its head office is using ServiceNow to formalize its processes, by creating a ‘service’ architecture, rather than relying on institutional knowledge. The end goal is that work is carried out more efficiently and Deliveroo employees are happier. It’s a story that many organizations can relate to, given how many still rely on manual processes and ‘know how’ to get tasks done. 

Denny’s cooks up new intelligence stack with Confluent to serve fresh data to the business

It opens up so many possibilities, so many great possibilities, as far as the data we can get and what we can achieve. But then there are challenges on the other side of that real time data, in terms of making sure that we've got a portfolio that can handle receiving all of that information, processing it efficiently. 

Why? Denny’s is a US institution, providing diner-style food to hungry customers since 1953. It was with great interest to hear this organization, one that has a lot of history and legacy, speak about how it is making better use of the data it collects from cloud-based point-of-sales systems, using Confluent’s real-time data streaming platform. The organization is clear about the opportunities ahead, but also honest about the challenges in orienting itself towards a data-driven approach. 

Crater Labs fuels demanding AI projects with Pure Storage

That's where we noticed that we were actually spending an inordinate amount of time waiting for our data to get prepared and go online so that we could train a model. That meant that we were passing on a lot of overhead, an unproductive cost, to our clients, which was ballooning the cost of some of our research projects. 

Why? A fascinating story about an organization at the forefront of AI projects, where the more efficient use of storage, and where access to live data at faster speeds is critical to cost savings, is front of mind. I expect the challenges facing Crater Labs will be echoed by many organizations around the world as they experiment with more and more AI and training of models - and so is well worth a read. 

World’s largest flooring manufacturer u-turns on investment decision and replaces six month old system with Samsara

We tried for six months. We got all of our 3G hardware replaced with this new system. But at the end of the day, they could not do hours of service accurately - and that's your core software. You have to provide your core hours of service or you're in trouble with the government

That seems like the basic requirements and they couldn't do that. So long story short, we had to rip that investment out of our trucks  - it was a huge mistake. 

Why? It’s not easy for an organization to admit its mistakes, particularly when it means sunk costs in a technology that didn’t work. And so it was refreshing to speak to Mohawk Industries, which operates out of Georgia in the US and is the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, who did exactly that. Mohawk ripped out a six month old system and replaced it with Samsara to meet its legal obligations of monitoring its commercial trucks. However, the story goes beyond legal obligations and shows how data in this context can drive real efficiencies. 

Bupa Australia adopts Pega to build more authentic relationships with its members

We run a good ship, the books are strong - but our customer sentiment doesn't always align with how well we think we're doing. So unless we do something about that, it's gonna be a fairly short lived strategy. 

We needed to get to know our customers better. How do we do that? We need to build relationships with them - and we didn't have a relationship with all of our members. 

Why? Another healthcare story, but this time a private sector healthcare organization - Bupa Australia - one that is trying to build a better relationship with its members. Bupa has integrated all of its outbound channels through Pega and is on a path to integrating its inbound channels, with the aim of collecting member data and providing better experiences. It was interesting to hear about the role of executive support needed to make the project work and the organization’s ‘hygiene factors’ for engagement - the basics that Bupa Australia has to get right before it can move on to more meaningful experiences. 

Lufthansa Group optimizes flight operations and reduces carbon footprint with Google Cloud

If we have a flight coming from Paris back to Zurich, to our hub, and it was supposed to arrive at 4.20pm - but it is now delayed by 60 minutes. This will have a lot of repercussions because, for example, 43 passengers were flying from Paris, through Zurich, to get to New York. And if they arrive late in Zurich, they won't be able to make the connection because the flight to New York was supposed to depart at 5:20pm. 

So operations controllers need to take a couple of questions into consideration. Should the passenger stay in Zurich until the next day, or is there maybe a later flight available to transport these 43 passengers and is there actually availability on this next flight? 

Or is there an option to reroute our passengers through the Lufthansa Group network, or even through the worldwide network of airlines? Or should we just wait for the passengers and delay the flight to New York, which will then have a bigger effect on all the other passengers traveling to New York? 

Why? The hypothetical challenge outlined above is one that airlines face all the time. And this isn’t just a question of experience for passengers, but one that costs airlines money - a problem when operating on such thin margins. Lufthansa is working with Google Cloud to gather all its data from its source systems and create an ‘ops cloud’ later on top - where it ingests the data and harmonizes it, so that it works across the globe. It then applies business rules and cost functions on top, to be able to assess whether certain options are possible at all. It is using machine learning capabilities to give operations controllers better predictions of what might happen and to enable them to make better decisions. Not only this, but the cost savings are also translating into CO2 savings. A truly fascinating story. 

American Express drives Qualtrics experience data through its organization to change the way it does business

20 years at a corporation, that's multi-generational for people who have come through. So it's critical to what we do. We measure experience at transaction level, the journey level, at the product level, brand level - all of those results go to all the different levels of the organization. 

Why? AmEx - or American Express - is a global financial services brand, one that’s synonymous with delivering benefits to its customers. And with that, experience means a lot to the organization. AmEx’s Experience Management program is using Qualtrics to understand customer sentiment and connect feedback to the optimal places across the company - where people are given the authority to make the necessary decisions to keep customers happy. Some strong learnings here for how to embrace regular change for the benefit of your end users - with data at the core. 

Disclosure - ServiceNow, Confluent, Samsara, Celonis, Pure Storage and Oracle are diginomica partners at time of writing.

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