If Tickle Me Elmo Met Self-Driving Business

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Can you remember the Christmas of 1996? I do! My mom went through a mad scramble, as she always did, to make sure my little sister and I were happy. That year, all my sister wanted was a new toy that was being advertised, and my mom wanted to make sure she got it. That toy was Tickle Me Elmo — the retail phenomenon that went viral, or rather sold-out-in-a-flash for a toy that giggled when you tickled it. Suddenly, everybody, my sister included, had to have that toy — stampede, deception, and auctions notwithstanding!

If Tyco Preschool, the manufacturers of Tickle Me Elmo, were transported to 2018, they might have benefited from a new phenomenon — the self-driving business. Moreover, here’s how the scene would’ve played out.

Tyco, while releasing this toy would be able to monitor its sales more accurately, and recognize the sudden spike in sales, and social sentiment after talk show host Rosie O’Donnell showed the toy on her popular television show. Using these critical pieces of data and events, such as the impending holiday season, and analyzing information with Artificial Intelligence, Tyco could use automation tools and capabilities to trigger an immediate order to increase production, and simultaneously alert all distribution channels. A self-driving business would ensure that all retail outlets would be well-stocked for the holiday season, averting unnecessary stampedes, parental trauma, outrageous price-hikes, toy scalpers or John Gotti Junior, dropping off $8,000 at Toys ‘R’ Us to make off with a case of the fuzzy little red muppet! Then, this self-driving system would analyze the expected output and the resultant increase in revenue and share relevant information with business leaders –- all of it with no human involvement.

Moreover, how exactly would Tyco do that? Let’s get behind the scenes of a self-driving business.

Behind the Scenes of a Self-Driving Business

Today, people, processes, and technology are creating data that continues to grow exponentially. Many refer to data as the new currency and companies are spending millions to rally staff and technology to truly understand and analyze how to better put data to work.

The ability to extract actionable intelligence and insight from data is one part of a much broader strategy of the self-driving business. There are several other aspects to consider. Let’s continue with the retail industry. Events such as the holiday season, weather conditions or market shrinkage can all impact business decisions as can fashion trends or user sentiments, as we have seen earlier. There are also stimuli that help us understand what’s most appropriate from that insight, such as presence or absence of data, relations or even transaction type.

Ingesting all of these different types of data, and correlating them to make contextual decisions is near impossible for humans. That’s where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI can be a powerful ally for organizations to help make sense and intelligent decisions based on that data. Even as many organizations are still in the early stages of adopting AI, it will become table stakes in a few years. While AI can tell you what to do, it is your automation capabilities that carry out the orders.

If data is the fuel for a self-driving business, AI is the navigation system that helps drive your business and automation is the wheels it runs on. Automation comes in many forms, and the primary benefits come in the form of action. In the Tyco example described earlier, the many forms of automation — recommendations, alerting, requesting, and reporting could all benefit the company. The most important aspect of the self-driving business is closing the loop; the automation provides data back to people, process, technology to influence future decision making (by humans or AI).

A self-driving model has the potential to help you:

  • Make better informed and accurate business decisions with integrated automation and AI systems
  • Deliver better customer experiences with customer data analytics, automation tools and the right mix of digital platforms and devices
  • Predict and forecast events with smart data solutions and AI, thus helping you better prepare for the future
  • Increase enterprise efficiency and staff productivity with an integrated, automated and consolidated view of all business functions

The Tickle Me Elmo frenzy is one example of leveraging new-age perspectives to solve the critical business challenges customers are facing in the age of digital. A self-driving business could have incredible potential across several industries. Hospitals could deliver better patient experiences or identify patients at risk; manufacturers could redefine and improve business models, banks could provide targeted solutions for their customers and governments could increase public safety. Companies could deliver better experiences to their customers, partners and employee ecosystems.

Does this sound like something you’ve been seeking? Discover more about self-driving business.

Post Date: 9/11/2018

NTT DATA Tino Mathew Tino Mathew

About the author

Tino Mathew is a Senior Director at NTT DATA and helps organizations adapt to the ever-changing climate of Information Technology (IT). He is a thought leader in robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, an avid blockchain enthusiast, and loves to develop new-age business models that will usher in the future of IT for global organizations, with a focus on solving some of the most pressing problems companies face today. Tino holds Bachelor’s degree in Science of Management from the University of Phoenix and is a SAFe Certified Agilist.

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