Customer insight to drive innovation is a key strategic objective for Australian and New Zealand businesses, according to a new report delivered by Mastercard and Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services.
The Become 2021 report has highlighted a priority on innovation among 51 per cent of ANZ organisations, with 47 per cent upping their innovation budgets. The latter is higher than the 42 per cent seen around the rest of the world. The report showed that 75 per cent of executives view customer insight as a vehicle for innovation.
The survey, which took into account 264 respondents of HBR readers and 1,002 respondents drawn from an ANZ consumer research panel, including business leaders from Xero, Afterpay, Optus, Westpac and others, found that organisations with a focus on innovation initiatives managed to strengthen their business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic’s long shadow, the pace and speed of innovation has brought on new opportunities, but also some challenges,” said Alex Clemente, Managing Director, HBR Analytic Services.
“Many organisations have proven they can be fast, agile, and emerge stronger after whatever next awaits, but there are some gaps in what businesses saw as important and what consumers need during and after the pandemic. I believe business and society are now forced to redefine what it means to be innovative. And businesses everywhere should re-evaluate if the new-found velocity and pace of change can be sustained.”
While an innovation agenda was highlighted as a priority, the report showed that ANZ businesses are lagging behind global counterparts when it comes to deciphering its benefits. 55 percent of organisations in Australia and New Zealand were found to be measuring the impact of innovation on business performance, versus 66 per cent globally.
Xero CEO Steve Vamos said it was important to have the type of workplace where innovation is encouraged.
“Innovation is not just about having great ideas. Ideas are a commodity. Good execution isn’t. You have to be really clear about what you’re trying to accomplish and create the environment where ideas can come from anywhere, at any time.”
Customers want security, but do businesses want to offer it?
Privacy and security were highlighted as being of high concern for customers. 80 per cent of consumer respondents agreed that businesses they interact with should be using secure tech to ensure their data is kept safe. 48 per cent of consumers were found to hold data protection as the most important element of a perfect customer experience, ahead of on-time delivery and products meeting expectations (46 per cent).
In what is a revealing imbalance, only 35 per cent will of ANZ organisations responded that they either have or plan to invest in data privacy and cyber security management to improve CX in the next year.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said they hold data management as a crucial element for the industry.
“Across mobile, digital, and virtual technology, consumers will inevitably want more control of their own data and experiences, and for their data, they will be looking for a more tailored experience. We see identity and data management technologies as key for the tourism industry. Brands that offer strong data management processes and transparency will build customer trust and drive loyalty. We see this as key to building for the future digital user.”