Electrolux and Volvo Cars about Succeeding with a Digital Initiative

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

How can you make digital fly in a large organization? While there might be different roads to success, a handful of matters seem to be common: go for a multidisciplinary approach, deliver quick yet with quality, try to work around the legacy, and don’t hesitate to reach out externally.

As digitization erases the borders between goods, products and service offerings, new innovative initiatives and business models see the light of day. At Cognizant Snapshot on From What to How several experienced digital transformers shared their views on what is most important as one proceeds towards a new digital offering.

From products to a new relationship
Electrolux is currently moving from selling single domestic appliances to offering a home with tailor-made interactions. Stefan Berg, VP Connected Consumer Solutions, is responsible for the development of Electrolux Ecosystem for IoT. He describes the company’s journey from door-to-door sales, with personal contact, to not knowing how the products were actually being used in the installed base of 400 million households. Now, Electrolux is re-connecting with customers via digital technology while also offering them new advantages such as personalization and automation.

At the same time, the whole industry is wondering how to make money from IoT. The raw material is there; connected customers, data and algorithms, but how do you turn that into a new revenue stream? When you see an interesting market initiative it’s already too late to act. Electrolux tries to combat this by increasing the internal speed and agility, standardizing internal initiatives on a common platform, working in cross teams, and by looking for external collaboration.

World-unique car subscription
Volvo Cars is also adapting to the new digital landscape and a changed customer behavior. As digital pre-search and omnichannel sales go primary, and consumer loyalty increases with added values and services on top of the core product, a car subscription was a natural next step. Martin Ölund, Manager Care by Volvo, says that the offering Care by Volvo is an initiative driven by the wish to capitalize on an existing product while providing a hassle-free customer experience.

Launched in 2016, Care by Volvo has resulted in a 61 % increase in incremental sales and in increased margin during the subscription period compared to traditional sales. Some of the keys behind the initiatives’ success, has been to run it outside the current organizations to remove any legacy barriers, to include team members from various positions, and to have an on-demand mindset where the team continuously run sprints and launch new features.

Set out to democratize computer vision
Serial entrepreneur Maria Lindström is used to finding new business opportunities within digital. To capitalize on the visual future – by 2020, 90% of internet traffic will be visual – her tech startup SarvAI works to make computer vision and machine learning more widely accessible by providing tools to easily create and test new data-driven services.

How can a large company learn from a startup when it comes to improving the capability to digitally innovate? Maria’s advice is to look deep into your data; this is where new potential business slumbers. Along the way, you’ll hopefully enjoy “the data network effect”; with a lot of data and smarter algorithms, you can create better products, attract more users who in their turn are willing to give away even more data for you to use – a positive spiral which also makes customers less inclined to choose a competitive solution. But most importantly, to innovate you must dare to jump into the water and act quickly.

Create value with rapid innovation
Matthew Chokshi is Creative Director at Zone Digital, one of the UK’s leading digital agencies and a recent Cognizant acquisition, is helping top brands like adidas, Unilever, and Marks & Spencer create value with rapid innovation. In a recent project for the latter, a new in-store purchase experience, the team managed to cut the innovation process from eight months to eight weeks thanks to an accelerator model and a team of digital experts. Matthew emphasizes the multidisciplinary approach, a dedicated product team that collaborated with stakeholders, and validation as you go as success factors.

The outcome of the Marks & Spencer project, was a validated experience and technical recommendation for national roll out. Mats Johard, Head of Cognizant Sweden, also points out the importance of access to an experimental ground where companies can prototype and scale up their initiatives.

Watch the whole seminar here.