Sérgio Viana

samv

Partner and DX & UX Lead - Xpand IT

What is gamification and how it can help your business

5 SECOND SUMMARY:
  • Gamification involves the use of gaming techniques to increase participation, engage and/or generate loyalty of a person in a particular action;
  • In this article, you will find how gamification can be present in various business areas such as Fitness, Health, the Financial sector, Education, and even the corporate context.

What is gamification?

When we think about gamification, it is most likely that we have recovered, from the innermost recesses of our memory, images of McDonald’s Monopoly, or we remember in shock that we haven’t taken today’s Duolingo class. But when did the term gamification actually come into being? Well, the first official gamification definition, by Nick Pelling, which describes the process of using game concepts and interfaces applied to everyday contexts, dates back to 2012. As recently as 2014, Gartner released its first official definition of gamification – the “use of game mechanics and experience design to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals digitally”. However, Richard Bartle, writer and investigator, believes that the term was previously used by game designers.

Gamification is the use of gaming techniques to increase participation and engagement in and/or generate loyalty towards a particular action.

  • Challenges, achievements and missions. Probably, this is the most important element of gamification, and completing missions and winning challenges is what motivates players to participate voluntarily.
  • Rewards, progression and instant feedback. Badges and coins that can be exchanged for prizes or for experiences and the ability to compete with the best players are just a couple of examples of mechanics that should be adopted in gamification dynamics. It is crucial that the user receives instant feedback to stimulate engagement in the activity.
  • Gamification uses the natural human tendency to be competitive to achieve excellence in its performance. Neurophysiologically, gamification activates the production of hormones in the brain such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin – responsible for happiness and pleasure – which, in turn, trigger a sense of achievement.

Gamification benefits in business

Gamification is now part of our daily lives, always in different contexts. Gartner reports that over 70% of the companies on the Global 2000 list of companies use it in their business. Why? Four obvious advantages can be applied to both your customers and your employees:

  • Generates loyalty. Gamification is an excellent way to create an engaging bond fuelled by continuous interactions between your business and your customers and employees. In 2010, McDonald’s increased sales by 5.6% in the USA, using Gamification concepts derived from the classic Monopoly game.
  • Offers a broader view. The lack of instant feedback is a problem that affects businesses, currently. Knowing gamification as a solution, Worten created the platform Worten Winners. It is a feedback and organisational recognition platform focused on customer satisfaction, which allows all its employees to see sales status, stores and sales personnel rankings. In addition to giving access to individual and team rankings, it also has gamification elements, such as badges for the best salesperson and information about missions to be completed. The result? In 42 pilot stores, 60% of employees said they felt more involved in their day-to-day work.
  • Allows a personalised experience. Starbucks is known for its engagement initiatives and loyalty programmes. Still, initiatives like cup personalisation and My Starbucks Rewards are examples that not just borrow from customer loyalty but also from personalised experiences. For example, drinks and foods that adapt to every user’s palate. With personalised offers and rewards for every purchase, the customer becomes engaged with the brand and feels motivated at every purchase. Starbucks attributes 40% of its total sales to My Starbucks Rewards, which had 16 million active members in March 2019.
  • Creates brand recognition. Every business aspires to be top of mind for its target, and gamification can be a great help in achieving this. M&M’s Eye-Spy Pretzel is a good case study of a simple digital marketing campaign with a powerful impact. While promoting their pretzel products, the brand published a Facebook post that encouraged users to find the pretzel hidden in an image full of M&M’s. This puzzle resulted in 25,000 new Facebook page likes, 10,000 comments and around 6,000 shares.

By contradicting stale and boring processes behind acquiring new customers and motivating employees, Gamification can be a breath of fresh air for your business needs. There are already several industries that have started their journey into gamification very successfully.

Gamification use cases

Gamification in a Fitness context

Gamifying fitness programmes make exercise more fun, especially if you’re part of a community and rely on leaderboards to instantly celebrate your progress. Fitness apps like Nike+ Run Club, My Fitness Pal or Zombies, Run! are recurring top searches on Google Play and the App Store.

Run Away GIF

Gamification in Health

Gamification in the health apps market is estimated to grow from $3,072.5M in 2019 to $35,982.7M in 2027, according to Statista.

Gamification opportunities in the healthcare app market are vast. We can find apps to help us manage diabetes, and our mental health or even solutions for intermittent fasting fans. mySugr, Happify and Fastic are some examples that spring to mind, apps focused on user personalisation, with activity logs, goals to achieve and tasks to complete. There are encouragements, challenges and leaderboards to help us stay focused.

Season 20 Health GIF By The Simpsons

Gamification in the Financial sector

You may remember the well-known SmartyPig, an online bank where we can add money to a created savings goal and see the target percentage increasing in real-time. SmartyPig also has gamification elements that aren’t as obvious, such as a mascot, which helps users to stay engaged with the bank.

Many successful cases are using gamification in the finance sector. According to Total Retail and Mordor Intelligence, Extraco bank had an interesting case of successful initiation into the gamification process. Through financial literacy classes, highlighting the offers that they had available, they increased their conversion rate from 2% to 14% and new customer acquisition by 700%.

Paying No Money GIF By Noam Sussman

Gamification in Education

According to Intuition, 67% of students report that gamified learning is more engaging than traditional courses. Tools such as Duolingo, Kahoot! and Minecraft have been a worldwide educational success thanks to their use of basic game elements such as badges, competition between teams, progress tracking and even goal setting.

Party Eurovision GIF By Duolingo

Gamification in a Corporate context

Suppose 67% of students claim to be more engaged with gamification than with traditional teaching methods. In that case, TalentLMS tells us that 83% of employees who undergo gamified training say they are more motivated in their day-to-day tasks. If engaging employees with your company is one of your goals, know that plenty of offerings are available. Apps like Todoist, which rewards users with karma points as they complete tasks, platforms such as Trailhead, which makes learning a lighter and more enjoyable process, or Microsoft Dynamics 365, which gives prizes and status as rewards, are some examples of gamification that have been incorporated into the daily lives of teams worldwide.

Would you like to incorporate Gamification in your company?

As we hopefully made clear, there are several approaches to take when adopting gamification – in both internal and external teams. From an internal point of view, motivating teams in a context where digital interactions are prioritised have certainly been one of the challenges for your business. Gamification is a powerful tool for sustaining agile, effective communication with your customers and employees. Implementing and designing engaging, user-focused experiences implies specific know-how and proficiency. From an external point of view, gamification is an extremely interesting tool for creating a closer and more loyal relationship with your customers, regardless of what sector you operate in. Whatever area your company is in, contact us. Our team of User Experience and Digital Xperience experts have the required expertise to help you understand how to gain real benefits from this trend, providing the experience you want your consumers to enjoy.

Sérgio VianaWhat is gamification and how it can help your business
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The 4 main benefits of Power Platform adoption for Janssen

ESTE ARTIGO EM 5 SEGUNDOS:
  • Low-code platforms empower everyone to go faster in a completely personalised way. The question then arises: how can they be applied to my business? Get to know Janssen’s example.

Last October 20th, we were at Microsoft talking about the benefits that Power Platform, in harmony with Dynamics 365, brings to your business. In the context of these technologies, we have maintained the focus on empowering users and elevating business through a new approach. Power Platform – Microsoft’s low-code platform – is currently the most complete on the market. Using Power Platform in alliance with Dynamics 365 makes it possible to build and implement 100% personalised digital solutions, which will naturally help companies make more informed and swifter decisions.

At this event, we approached the Business Applications ecosystem via three distinct tracks: Dynamics 365, Power BI and Power Platform.

• The Dynamics 365 track focuses on “the importance of turning customers into fans”, quoting keynote speaker Francisco Costa, Partner & Enterprise Solutions Lead at Xpand IT. We’ve introduced how Dynamics 365 brings value to the customer journey, giving each customer a personalised experience and the business a solid, unified vision of information, thus unlocking the value of the data. We were in conversation with Paula Braz, Head of Marketing at Xpand IT, who helped us realise the challenges presented by adopting Dynamics 365 in marketing and with João Pratas, Business Applications Technical Specialist at Microsoft, who helped us understand the features of Dynamics 365 marketing through a use case.

• On the Power BI track, we focused on the importance of adopting Analytics and Azure (the Microsoft Cloud platform) to give businesses a 360° view of the customer and, as a result, better decision-making tools. Ricardo Pires, Partner & Business Intelligence Lead at Xpand IT, interviewed Luís Chaby, Azure Enterprise Sales Manager at Microsoft, in order to reflect on how market behaviour has changed since the adoption of Power BI and Microsoft Azure. Also, Vanessa Gomes, Data Analytics Engineer at Xpand IT, gave us a demo on how Power BI can be linked to Dynamics 365, in a data analytics context.

• On the Power Platform track, we have analysed how Power Apps and Power Automate empower the user. Rodrigo Umbelino, Enterprise Sales Executive at Microsoft, enriched us with real examples of the use of solutions currently available in Power Platform. The talk between Sérgio Viana, Partner & DX UX Lead at Xpand IT, and Pedro Santos, Digital Health & Solutions Manager at Janssen, highlighted the importance of looking at business digital transformation as a journey, rather than a string of unique projects, in order to be successful.

Digital Transformation in Business

We are witnessing a need for growing digitalisation in the business scenario. According to Gartner, digital transformation is an organisational priority for 87% of senior executives. The ability to materialise digital transformation initiatives, however, is severely limited by the lack of a qualified workforce in the IT market. A potential solution? Citizen developers. According to Gartner’s definition, a citizen developer is “a person who creates application resources for their own or others’ consumption”. The motto “Turn everyone into a developer with no code” empowers anyone to make at least the first version of the code solution they need.

Low-code platforms empower everyone to go faster in a completely personalised way. The question then arises: how can they be applied to my business? What institutions can do with Power Platform depends on every business’s unique needs.

Janssen’s example

On the Power Platform track, we presented the case of Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson Group company and a world leader in research.
Janssen’s first contact with Xpand IT, at the beginning of the pandemic, was through an initiative called Power Engagement – essentially, it consisted of a hands-on session around the technologies followed by the identification of potential projects. In the first instance, the challenge goal was to design an application that would allow their employees to receive meals at home.

• App delivery

The challenge proposed to Xpand IT was very simple: a hassle-free application that would allow Janssen employees and their families, living in the Lisbon metropolitan area, to receive meals at home, using only their smartphones.

Through this app delivery, Janssen was able to keep its canteen activity at similar levels to how it was pre-pandemic. Its employees had the opportunity to choose meals according to the menus available for different days and different municipalities, in a fast, practical way.

• Simplify

According to Pedro Santos, Digital Health & Solutions Manager at Janssen, “Power Apps play a key role in providing an immediate response to issues raised by the company”. While Janssen’s digital transformation journey with Xpand IT began in response to internal processes, the partnership with Xpand IT was driven by an ongoing urge for innovation. As such, further processes that need improvement and can be optimised using Power Platform have been identified.

Still, in the pandemic context, and given the growing need for digitalisation, we developed the Simplify app. Using Power Apps with a simple connection to Adobe Sign, for example, Janssen eliminated collecting paper signatures from internal and external partners – a process that used to take about a month – making it virtually immediate. Given that Janssen partner payments used to be dependent on signature validation, and are now instantaneous, the average time to pay stakeholders has been reduced by around 22 days, allowing Janssen to gain substantial efficiency while simultaneously adding value to its business partners.

The 4 main benefits of Power Platform adoption for Janssen

Thanks to the Power Platform application, Janssen was not only able to improve internal processes, but also to improve the experience of its clients and partners. All of this has enabled:

1. Customer focus;
2. Efficiency, by digitalising and automating processes;
3. A more sustainable agenda;
4. Automated processes, releasing employees for higher-value tasks.

Depending on your business solutions needs, Power Platform results in other benefits such as adopting a data-driven culture, based on Microsoft Power BI, that will analyse and add value to your data and give your customers a personalised experience, with 24/7 customer service, using Power Virtual Agents and Artificial Intelligence-based chatbots, so your business has an efficient workforce that is always available.

Start your Digital Transformation journey with Xpand IT

Xpand IT received Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Award in 2022 for the second year running. This recognition follows the distinction of Microsoft’s 2020 Partner of the Year for Power Apps & Data Analytics. Above all, these awards prove our expertise in working with these technologies.

At Xpand IT, we believe that trust and collaboration underpin good relationships. As shown in the above example of one of our partnerships, we can work with you and your company to realise your digital transformation needs. If you have already explored the possibilities that Power Platform can bring to your business and even discovered practical cases for its use, we are fully available to support you in your next steps. Get in touch to schedule a one-to-one conversation. Or alternatively, fill in the Power Platform Assessment we have prepared for you. This will give you unparalleled access to personalised resources and guidance from Xperts to implement this technology.

Sérgio VianaThe 4 main benefits of Power Platform adoption for Janssen
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How to modernise your business with Azure

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • 4 benefits of application modernisation with Azure: Security and reliability; Scalability and flexibility; Efficiency; Innovative experiences at scale.
  • How to modernise your business through app modernisation using the following strategies: Lift-and-Shift; Refactor; Replatform; Rebuild; Replace.

Cloud benefits for your business are manifold and we’ve even delved into them in previous articles. As a company, Xpand IT has a strong partnership with Microsoft, and as such, our modernisation proposals powered by these technologies are based on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform.

Regardless of the type of cloud that best suits your needs – public, private or hybrid – it is undeniable that its adoption has a relevant impact on your business and tangible benefits in your company’s day-to-day operations. According to IDC, companies that have begun the cloud migration journey are growing 19.6% faster than companies that have not yet done so. Alongside migration, modernisation is one of the most exciting approaches to cloud adoption, and in the context of cloud computing, modernising is the act of upgrading organisational processes, systems and tools to newer technologies. The goal is to capitalise on the investment in Azure, achieve a decrease in the Time to Market of some solutions and create new experiences, for customers and collaborators. With a cloud-first approach, your business will gain greater agility, will be properly scaled and stay in line with improved security practices.

Application modernisation is not a recent theme, and there are many companies that already take advantage of the cloud, but only from an infrastructure perspective. That is, they have migrated part of their applications to Azure – in an approach called lift and shift – however, they are not taking advantage of their full potential.

4 benefits of application modernisation with Azure

  1. Security and reliability: Your business can ensure application security and identify problems in just a few seconds. You can keep databases up to date and automate tasks that ensure high availability, disaster recovery, backups and maintenance during peak performance.
  2. Scalability and flexibility: Application modernisation allows you to take advantage of cloud benefits in terms of scale and elasticity. You can set up autoscaling so that applications continue to run regardless of sudden increases or decreases in market demands, taking advantage of a virtually unlimited infrastructure.
  3. Efficiency: With the correct adoption of Azure, your company will be the model of efficiency, ensuring the use of the right resources at the right time and according to need.
  4. Innovative experiences at scale: When your business goes into the modernisation process with Azure you will be able to create richer, more personalised experiences, faster and continuously – at scale, making it possible to serve thousands of users individually.

Application modernisation strategies

To use Azure’s full potential, you need an analysis of your company’s application park, identifying the different applications, technologies used and their impact on your business. This phase should be followed by a clear definition of how to migrate applications into the cloud, making the necessary changes so that you can take advantage of platform services and not just infrastructure, realising the potential that technology enables, and accelerating the time to the marketing of new offerings.

Once planning has been completed, that is, once the modernisation strategy has been completed, you will need to implement it. Consider those strategies that, for us, are the main Azure modernisation strategies, remembering that they are potentially specific to each application of a company.

  • Lift-and-shift: With no code changes required, companies move applications from their previous environment into the cloud, just as they are.
  • Refactor: Applications only need minimal code changes to get in and get the most out of the Azure environment.
  • Re-platform: Applications are moved into the cloud with minor code changes so that they can be used with Azure technologies.
  • Replace: Reform the application and replace it with a new, cloud-native application.

The example of Sonae Financial Services

Sonae FS needed to receive data from Mastercard Payment Transaction Services and integrate it with other entities to manage credit, all in real-time. Until then, mass data and error processing had been too time-consuming and affected productivity and agility.

To respond to this challenge, Xpand IT used Microsoft Azure and implemented a back office so that Sonae FS could verify KPIs and manage possible integration errors. With this back office, it would be possible to access different dashboards to allow visualising KPIs in real-time and notify teams of possible deviations.

By restructuring the architecture and including new operational dashboards and back offices, Sonae FS was able to get the best out of Azure and can now audit the entire process and have access to more detailed information. The adoption of the Replace modernisation strategy allowed Sonae FS to reshape its entire architecture to be cloud-native, giving the company the ability to respond to 4 x more requests compared to the initial phase of the project, considering all initiatives that Xpand IT is still developing.

Thanks to the cloud – the backbone of digital transformation – Sonae FS now benefits from a data-driven culture. They can use data to discover inefficient processes, identify alternatives and even automate those that are recurring and rule-based. In addition, rich data is integrated to manage processes and operations on a day-to-day basis, meaning that teams can make more assertive predictions and better decisions, with flexibility and agility.

Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Portugal

Each journey in application modernisation for Microsoft Azure is unique and while there are best practices, your business needs to adapt and evolve as needed.

In this sense, having a partner specialist in application modernisation with Azure is fundamental. Xpand IT is, for the second consecutive year, Microsoft’s ‘Partner of the Year Portugal’. At Xpand IT we help our clients grow and become competitive, leveraging best practices and the latest services from Microsoft Azure.

Sérgio VianaHow to modernise your business with Azure
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The future of Artificial intelligence: what to expect

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • Artificial Intelligence technologies are rising all over the world;
  • AI projects can impact areas such as Health; help in Climate Crises; Increase corporate productivity; Changing generations of consumer experiences, among others.

Artificial Intelligence is not a recent technology, although sometimes it seems like a technological trend that has emerged in recent years. The history of AI – a technology we recognise as disruptive at different levels – dates back to the 1950s, when the first developments were made. This technology has not always enjoyed the popularity that it enjoys nowadays. The truth is that there have been several up and downs in the history of artificial intelligence: we have witnessed cycles of hype and effusive enthusiasm followed by cycles – called AI winters – where there was a reduction in both interest and funding, only years later to witness a renewed scientific interest, typically boosted by technological advances.

Although this technology’s origin and evolution have not been linear, and it has not always been clear how essential it could become for different world economies, Artificial Intelligence has undeniable popularity nowadays. It seems a distant reality to mention the existence of an AI winter.

Source: ResearchGate

What AI can still offer

Since the last AI winter in 1988, many things have changed, and today artificial intelligence has assumed a leading role in the economy. Author and AI consultant Andrew Burgess, in his book The Executive Guide to Artificial Intelligence, discusses the four main drivers that help explain why AI has definitively made the leap from the laboratory to the real world:

1. Big Data: we currently have enormous data available. The amount of data we generate worldwide doubles every two years. According to Statista, the total amount of data created, processed and consumed predicted for 2020 was 64.6 zettabytes. This unprecedented availability of information is crucial, as AI feeds on data, which it uses to generate value.

2. Cheap Storage: all the data we generate needs to be stored, and this is a logistical issue we need to consider when working with large amounts of information. Storage costs are decreasing considerably, as well as the size of the machines that store that data, making it possible to buy more storage at a much lower price. Additionally, the speed at which data can be accessed via the cloud, for example, is increasing.

3. Faster Processing: in addition to storing the information we want to work with, we also need to process it. According to Moore’s Law, the number of transistors on microchips would double every two years. However, David House later revised the formula to the one we commonly use today: chip performance doubles every 18 months. With faster processors supporting AI activity, we make it possible to solve more complex problems requiring more data.

4. Ubiquitous Connectivity: it has only been in the last few years that networks (broadband and 4G and, more recently, 5G) have become fast enough to allow significant amounts of data to be distributed between servers and different devices. As such, and because we are currently able to guarantee good connectivity, we can ensure that information is quickly available to be collected, processed and analysed.

Therefore, we can benefit from a set of conditions we previously had no way of guaranteeing. All are essential for artificial intelligence to succeed as a technology with true disruptive potential. Without cheap storage, we wouldn’t be able to invest in an AI project that needs considerable information. And without available information, it wouldn’t be possible to consider this technology to solve these problems since information is the engine that AI needs to be able to show its true power. Now that we have all the conditions we need to take advantage of the technology, it’s time to know more about the future of Artificial Intelligence and what we can expect from now on. 

The future of Artificial Intelligence: what to expect

It is always challenging to make predictions about what the future holds because the future is a great unknown. However, looking back at the road this technology has travelled over the last few decades, we see positive indicators for the future. Still, it’s important to note that when AI was expected to prove a highly relevant technology at the beginning of the pandemic, its performance fell far below expectations. As we entered the first lockdown, there were several attempts by different organisations to use AI to help with the rapid detection of the disease, either by diagnosing it or predicting various regional outbreaks. But not all attempts were successful, and in retrospect, we can now see where AI underperformed, leaving us with important lessons for improving the technology in the future.

We know, for instance, that it’s not enough to rely solely on the availability of technology or information. Still, it is necessary to consider factors such as the quality and availability of the data we’re using, the possibility of discrimination and bias in results, the existence of human error in data collection and even the fact that our global and sometimes local context, is highly complex. We can still do a lot to improve the results we get from AI initiatives. Like others before, this technology still needs to evolve and mature.

But in the future, ensuring that we overcome the operationalisation obstacles inherent to AI projects, the technology will have room to become an essential ally for humanity in different ways:

Revolutionising healthcare, diagnosing diseases at an early stage and even assisting in the treatment process, allowing us to offer fully personalised healthcare, customised to the needs of each patient;

• Becoming one of the crucial tools in the prevention of climate crises, helping us to foresee extreme phenomena and accordingly plan for them;

• Becoming the most significant digital contributor to human workers, taking care of tasks that can be automated and ultimately revolutionising the way we work;

• Revolutionising the next generation of digital and phygital experiences. We can already see how new technologies are changing the experience stage – whether phygital, physical or digital. Artificial intelligence will be crucial in shaping the next generation of consumer experiences.

Final Thoughts

We’re just now starting to explore this technology’s potential for revolutionising different businesses and industries. We’re focused on helping you use AI to unlock new growth opportunities.

Our AI Solutions Centre aims to support companies in this AI adoption journey, offering the ability to adopt this technology with the necessary guidance and taking the steps needed to integrate intelligence into organisational systems. Challenge us to help you on this journey.

Sérgio VianaThe future of Artificial intelligence: what to expect
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Phygital: fusing the physical and digital world

5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • Phygital is a shared space between the physical and digital worlds and is a trend capable of impacting all sectors and industries;
  • There are various ways to approach Phygital in different sectors and with various purposes: Retail, Banking, Insurance and Tourism;

The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds have, over the years, blurred as a result of the technological developments at different levels – and the strategies defined by each company.  

This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic we’ve lived through for two years now. All digital initiatives have gained fundamental importance compared to other initiatives, often not by conscious choice or conscious decision but out of necessity. A shared space has been created between the physical and digital worlds, allowing us to take advantage of both in a hybrid way, and enabling us to fulfil our goals – whatever they may be. This is how we define Phygital, the mix of physical with digital that, as a trend, has the potential to impact all sectors and industries.

We can all recall concrete examples of Phygital in our daily lives, even before the pandemic. Examples include Augmented Reality applications such as IKEA’s (which allowed us to see how a specific piece of furniture would look in our living room by using our mobile phone) or even retailers such as Graham & Brown (that allow us to try out a new wallpaper, using our mobile phone to choose the area where we want to apply it, seeing on the mobile app how it would look, and even calculating the quantity of wallpaper a customer would need to apply it to their living room).

These applications used existing technologies to improve the user experience by merging the physical and the digital worlds. Even when these weren’t forms of interaction offered by brands, it was possible to see the trend happening: how many of us didn’t consult digital content while at a physical store browsing different articles, be it reviews from other people, informative videos about a specific product, etc.? All these examples clearly demonstrate that there’s a significant space to occupy with hybrid interactions and that brands that manage to do it better will undoubtedly be those that, in different aspects, will retain the attention of users and build loyalty based on a differentiating value proposition.

There are various ways to approach Phygital in different sectors and with various purposes. Here are a few to reflect about:

Retail

It’s perhaps the sector with most work done in this area, through concepts such as Magic Mirror (in which you can try on clothing items in a dressing room and check helpful information, complete the look with other items, etc.), or even examples of Augmented Reality such as those that I mentioned above. However, there are simple things that can keep the user in the context of the brand’s app, such as providing specific content related to the product they’re checking or more sensory experiences – such as witnessing a meal being cooked at a supermarket and, by scanning a QR code, all products are added to the shopping cart so that the customer can make the recipe.

Banking

This is a sector in which a more significant number of customers want to be served remotely, making it more important to offer them a relevant experience when they go to a branch. Fully digitalised account opening processes that combine technology with a more human component or even helpful information given to a user when they’re entering a branch are concrete examples of what can be done to make a difference.

Insurance

Simple initiatives, such as taking a picture of an expense and automatically recognising the data to be submitted for a claim or using insurance apps as practical support in the event of an accident that results in the need for physiotherapy are examples of what can be done with existing technology – and examples that contribute significantly to building the relevance of insurance companies in our daily lives, something so pressing for the industry.

Tourism

The possibility of using our devices when visiting a hotel, either to interact with the room, learn more about the surrounding areas or experiences that we can enjoy are examples of how we can use technology for the sake of experience.

Final Thoughts

There are several more examples that we can give and many more that would result from joint work and brainstorming sessions to look for a way to take advantage of the Phygital trend for the benefit of people. Of course, all these interactions will imply that Information Systems are prepared for this, which in some cases will be more straightforward than in others – and often, not because of technology, but because of each client’s digital maturity. However, it’s certainly something to bear in mind as we get ready to live in a more physical and humane world, but certainly (and permanently) a more digital one.

Sérgio VianaPhygital: fusing the physical and digital world
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How technology can help banks become sustainable

5-SECOND SUMMARY
  • 68% of consumers are interested in green financial products;
  • 63% of consumers want their bank to help them offset their carbon footprint;
  • Banks should continue to invest in their sustainability journey by offering green financial products to their clients;
  • The urge for sustainable banking: customers will reward banks that take leadership stances on climate issues.

We’re at a certain point in time where we can no longer ignore the stark reality of climate change or why we need to act now. According to the latest report from IPCC, “scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system”. The report states that temperatures are rising, and that’s because of the growing emissions of greenhouse gases that result from human activities. These activities, the report shows, “are responsible for approximately 1.1ºC of warming since 1850-1900” and that in the next 20 years, “global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5ºC of warming”. A rise of 1.5ºC in temperature might not seem like much, but it can be catastrophic for our planet and our natural resources, such as, for example, coral reefs which are responsible for maintaining the good health of our oceans and the many different species that call the oceans their homes.

Not all is bad news, though. It appears that climate change is finally becoming a priority for governments and businesses around the world, or at the very least, there’s been a growing pressure from society to address this issue. Some countries and organisations have already pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. This commitment sends a strong message to the rest of the world: there’s an urgency to act now. As Bill Gates affirms in his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, we don’t yet have all the tools we need. Still, we already have some tools available that we can use to reduce emissions and start on the path to carbon neutrality. Technology is central to make banking more sustainable. All sectors, industries and, well, every citizen has a part to play. That also includes the banking industry and different financial institutions. So, how can technology help banks become sustainable?

Sustainable Banking: technology as a driver of change

Financial institutions are embedded in the lives of people all over the world. We all need them to survive in the modern economy, and banks are an essential part of the economic fabric of our societies. Banks have a direct impact on the lives of different communities. They have the responsibility to be a driving force for positive change in the regions they operate in. We’ve seen banks step up to this responsibility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with the mortgage relief and other resources, and, therefore, they should strive to be a force of change in the climate crisis we’re now facing. The pressure for banks to act is coming from many different stakeholders such as regulators, employees and even customers. As the general public becomes even more aware of the urgency to deal with the climate crisis, they feel empowered to change their behaviours and start expecting that same change from the different companies they do business with. Technology and digital tools can, in this sense, become real drivers of change in two ways: by helping organisations reduce their emissions and achieve carbon neutrality and by integrating digital tools for consumers to make an individual contribution for the same goal.

According to Meniga’s European Carbon Survey 2021, 68% of consumers are interested in green financial products, while 63% want their bank to help them offset their carbon footprint. Consumer demand for alternative services and products is increasing, and consumers are keen on being part of the change. Banks, then, are in a privileged position to offer consumers the tools they need to take part in the environmental challenges we now face. How? On the one hand, by helping consumers become aware of the impact their purchases have on the environment and, on the other, by giving them the necessary digital tools to reduce said impact. There are already several offerings in the market that let banks address the growing needs of consumers in this regard, both to increase awareness and help consumers take action. A carbon footprint calculator, for instance, helps consumers understand how their daily activities and different purchases impact the environment. The carbon footprint estimates the total emissions of greenhouse gases resultant of the products we purchase or the daily decisions we make (our transportation mode, the food we buy, the travels we do, etc.).

By integrating such a tool on their digital banking journeys, banks will not only be able to help consumers understand how much of an impact they have on the total number of emissions of greenhouse gases, but also offer them alternatives so they can reduce said impact and make the transition from being aware of the problem to becoming part of the solution. That can be achieved by offering green financial products (such as green car loans, green savings, paperless statements, etc.), setting up offsetting schemes or offer a clear incentive to drive behavioural change — banks such as Barclays and Swedbank already offering green loan options. Commerzbank launched a mountain forest project: they plant one square meter of forest in Germany for every switch to paperless statements. Nordea gives consumers the chance to track their CO2 impact with a carbon footprint calculator on their mobile app.

On the other hand, organisations also have a part to play: several major companies such as Microsoft, Coca- Cola, Unilever, Best Buy, Siemens, and numerous cloud providers, to give some examples, have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030- 2040. Technologies such as the cloud are instrumental for companies to go green. According to Accenture, migrating to the public cloud “can achieve significant carbon reduction in the form of a 5.9% decrease in total IT emissions”. There are already various tools that can help organisations understand and reduce their environmental impact, such as Microsoft’s Sustainability Calculator. With tools such as these, organisations can achieve climate-related goals, reduce carbon footprint, and increase emissions transparency.

There’s an increasing effort on the part of banks to seek sustainability and to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in their business decisions. Banks should continue to invest in their sustainability journey by defining clear and transparent strategies and seeking a competitive edge with innovative services and products that result in the widespread adoption of these alternatives across different customer segments and other industries. Banks should take a stand on the climate crisis and be ready to become leaders in driving this movement forward. Ultimately, customers will reward banks that take that leadership stance on climate issues.

Reach out to us and explore how you can use technology to unlock your carbon zero future and take the lead on becoming a sustainable bank.

Let’s build the future of sustainable banking together?

Sérgio VianaHow technology can help banks become sustainable
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Experience as a differentiating factor

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5-SECOND SUMMARY:
  • Digital channels must continue to be a focus for companies, even if we’re currently envisioning a possible return to physical environments;
  • Phygital: the tendency is that there will exist more hybrid models, where physical blends with the digital;
  • Experience can make all the difference in the way brands relate to their customers;
  • Experience as a differentiating factor: brands that build relevant experiences for their users will benefit from a competitive advantage over their competitors.

The global economy is increasingly digital. In fact, digital has come to assume an unequalled preponderance in our lives in different ways: firstly, because we’re constantly connected. We’re connected to our computers, to our tablets or our smartphones. We’re connected 24/7, with no holiday breaks. We’re always available, and we have access to information anywhere and anytime. Through the technology available to us, we have learned to take access to immediate, convenient, and accessible services for granted. Secondly, we’re living a unique moment in history in which, over several months, we were confined to our homes and, without any other alternative, we had to adjust to almost exclusively digital reality, either in our professional lives (with remote work) or in our personal lives (by changing the way we interacted with brands and even our shopping habits).

The truth is that in a pre-pandemic context – a reality that today seems entirely distant for us – digital channels were gradually becoming more important and were one of the elements brands used to build a personalised relationship with their customers. The current pandemic crisis has only demonstrated that digital channels must continue to be a focus for companies, even if we’re currently beginning to envision a possible return to the office and physical environments. That’s because it will hardly be possible to return to the “old normal” as we previously knew it.

The tendency is that there will exist more hybrid models, where physical blends with digital and vice-versa. With the preponderance that digital is assuming in our lives, through circumstances and also through changing behaviours and habits, it’s increasingly clear that digital channels are no longer an option for companies that want to build a personalised relationship with their customers; instead, they will become a central element in brands’ customer engagement strategy.

The consequence of all this? As digital channels become one of the priorities for companies, they will also experience more competition. By multiplying the options for users, it becomes more and more complicated for them to decide which product, service or channel to use. Brands end up having greater difficulty distinguishing their products/services from competitors and even effectively communicating their offer. After all, with all these factors, there seems to be no critical success factor for brands to stand out from their competitors. However, if there is something that the pandemic has shown us, is there is indeed a factor that can make all the difference in the way brands relate to their customers and in the degree of success in the development of digital channels: Experience.

Experience and technology

Experience determines the emotional connection that the user will establish with the brand – a biological reaction that can impact the consumer to the point of deciding whether they remain loyal to a brand (or not). User experience is not a new discipline, but it has asserted itself with due relevance in recent years. Building a good experience implies a deep knowledge about how users interact with a particular product, service, brand or interface. It requires a holistic view of their needs, likes, values and even their limitations. Experience should always focus on users: after all, it is with them that brands want to establish a connection.

The pandemic has taught us some important lessons: one of those is that technology will continue to be an integral part of our future, and the other is that, as human beings, we continue to value physical and emotional connections. The challenge for all brands is precisely this: how to design Experiences capable of triggering positive emotions in users and with a significant emotional impact with technologies they have at their disposal. But this is a challenge that, if brands can overcome, makes it clear that brands that build relevant experiences for their users will benefit from a competitive advantage over their competitors. It is, therefore, increasingly important to create differentiated digital experiences with the potential to impact the target audience. This is possible through a set of platforms that users use in their daily lives – from mobile apps to web portals, through chatbots and initiatives such as digital kiosks (which are an exciting example of “phygital” as a trend that blends the physical with the digital). These Experiences can be implemented in various sectors, such as Banking, Insurance, Retail and Health, among others.

It’s a fact that consumers are increasingly demanding. With the growing relevance of digital channels (a trend that should continue to grow in the coming years), the experience can be a differentiating factor, enhancing the brand’s relationship with its customers. It is, above all, essential to strengthen the relationship between Experience and Technology, taking advantage of the potential this relationship has to offer. In an increasingly digital world, the potential is immense.

What about you: do you have any challenge in which you consider that Experience can be a differentiating factor, in line with what we described above? Whether you have a challenge where you feel the experience is critical or need to understand how the experience can add value, we will work with you to help boost your brand’s relationship with your customers without ever losing focus on technology. Reach out!

Summary:

It’s a fact that consumers are increasingly demanding. With the growing relevance of digital channels (a trend that should continue to grow in the coming years), the experience can be a differentiating factor, enhancing the brand’s relationship with its customers. It is, above all, essential to strengthen the relationship between Experience and Technology, taking advantage of the potential this relationship has to offer. In an increasingly digital world, the potential is immense.

What about you: do you have any challenge in which you consider that Experience can be a differentiating factor, in line with what we described above? Whether you have a challenge where you feel the experience is critical or need to understand how the experience can add value, we will work with you to help boost your brand’s relationship with your customers without ever losing focus on technology. Reach out!

Sérgio VianaExperience as a differentiating factor
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Microsoft collaboration: promoting innovation with Azure

Our partnership with Microsoft has been growing through the years. What started as a small Business Unit inside the company has grown to a globally recognized team of experts in specific areas like Xamarin, Azure and Big Data. And all the work we’ve done in these past four years with customers has led to a very impressive list of companies with whom we’ve been able to develop outstanding solutions that are able to deliver great experiences to end users.

Sérgio VianaMicrosoft collaboration: promoting innovation with Azure
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We live in a Customer Experience Economy. Except for my kids… for now!

It’s a fascinating world out there. A world full of innovation powered by technology. Full of new products, solutions and services that allow us to live differently, for better and for worse, than how we did a few years ago. A world where challenges arise due to all those technologies and the impact they have on society. But a fascinating world, nonetheless.

Sérgio VianaWe live in a Customer Experience Economy. Except for my kids… for now!
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