In 2020, the world is in the midst of the turmoil of the new coronavirus. Everything in society is changing and we are being asked for a "new way of life." Digitalization has made great strides in pushing the user's back. A society in which work and meetings are held online is rushed.
Of course, the digitization of society has advanced even before the new Corona. Lifestyle activities that were previously performed offline, such as mobile payments and delivery food apps, are now being replaced online. In the "after digital society" advocated in this book, "pure offline" will no longer exist. The online permeates the offline, and the real is digitally embraced.
The biggest changes in the after-digital society are in the nature of the data. The importance shifts from the conventional "attribute data" such as age, gender, and occupation to "behavioral data" that indicates the user's situation, and the key to enriching the UX (User Experience) is to utilize it. It is the author's argument that
This book is an update of "Surviving in an age without after digital offline" (Nikkei BP) according to the current situation. If you have the previous book at hand, you will have a better understanding of after-digital, but even if you start reading from this book, you will be able to follow it.
A new era of social change has already arrived. A book that every business person should read in order to survive in this tough world.
Main points of this book
All offline is included online. Pure offline no longer exists, and the line between online and offline is disappearing.
The biggest change in the after-digital society is the shift from attribute data to behavior data. Behavioral data brings the optimum UX (User Experience) to the user.
The society where data and technology merge is next to dystopia. If each private company does not act with a "good spirit," social development will stagnate.
What is the After-Digital Society?
A world where offline is rare
In China, the United States, and some Scandinavian and Southeast Asian countries, all life activities that were originally offline can now be completed online. Cashless payments, meal delivery services, and vehicle dispatch services are examples. The online data is linked to an individual's ID and can be used as huge and high-frequency action data. Japan is gradually becoming so.
The key is behavior data. Behavior data can increase the resolution of customer understanding and increase added value. In the after-digital society, those who cannot utilize action data will lose.
As online penetrates offline, the situation of "pure offline" diminishes. This is because not only pure online contacts such as apps and SNS, but also real integrated online contacts utilizing the IoT (Internet of Things) are increasing. The offline real world has a smaller presence than the online digital world.
Up until now, Japan's DX (Digital Transformation) was rooted in the attitude of "centering on the real world and seeing digital as added value." In "after digital," we must reverse this master-slave relationship between real and digital.
But that doesn't mean that the real doesn't matter. Real is better at moving experiences and gaining trust. The real contact "has a more important role than ever, but the frequency is rare." It is also important to think of "online real". By utilizing online customer behavior as a real point of contact, customer service quality will also increase. Real contacts should be digitally enhanced.
From attribute data to behavior data
The biggest social change in after-digital is the change from attribute data to behavior data. In the attribute data, customers are roughly captured in "person" units, whereas in the behavior data, people are captured in "situation" units. This makes it possible to provide the optimum content at the optimum timing with the optimum communication method. This is a major turning point in business. The market is defined not by attributes such as age and gender, but by the frequency and volume of a certain situation and how much money is spent in that situation. This is referred to as "situational targeting" in this document.
The key to situational targeting is to understand the situation of the user, provide solutions and benefits to it, and maintain frequent contact with the user. This is difficult for a product sales type business, so the advantage will shift to the experience provision type business. A typical example of the experience-providing business here is a subscription service. However, it is a major premise that it leads to customer understanding of the situation and constant value provision.
View online and offline as one
A common way of thinking among companies that succeed in the after-digital society is OMO (Online Merges with Offline). Instead of separating online from offline, it's not a separate "journey". A journey is a visualization of a person's actions, thoughts, and feelings. In an environment where offline is beginning to disappear, customers are no longer conscious of whether it is online or not. I'm just choosing the most convenient method at that time. Nevertheless, many companies still separate their online and offline businesses. It has a business structure that conflicts with the current state of society. It is becoming more important to treat the two as a unified "user journey" without distinguishing them. You have to think about online competition principles.
The important thing is to multiply UX (User Experience) and behavior data. It is of utmost importance that the UX quality such as "convenient, easy, easy to use, and fun" is superior to other services. Data will be accumulated. The service will be further improved by returning this data to UX. "Value Journey" is a new business model of experience-providing type that rotates this loop.
From product sales type to value journey type
In the future, “selling a product” will no longer be a goal. The product will become one of the points of contact with customers and will be treated the same as apps, events, stores, etc. All points of contact are summarized in a unified concept model, customers continue to ride on the journey that embodies the world view, and companies continue to be close to customers. That is a value journey type business. The goal in this model is customer success. The subscription model, in which music and images are just one of the points of contact, is also in this process.
The Value Journey is an after-digital business model that will significantly change the industrial structure. In China, with the “payment platformer” that can comprehensively acquire user data as the pinnacle, the “servicer” that holds the hegemony in each industry such as mobile and food has an industrial structure that holds behavioral data for each industry. The "maker" is positioned below it, and it is impossible to sell goods correctly without the data of two layers. In Japan as well, there is a movement for manufacturers to become servicers and to partner with servicers.
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Transition from convenience to meaning
China, which is a digital advanced country, has a large gap between rich and poor due to rapid economic growth, and "financially becoming rich" is positioned as a great happiness, and a "earnings mainstream" has been created. There is also ideological control, and it is difficult to create diversity and uniqueness. On the other hand, in Japan, as it is called the “total middle class”, it is unlikely that income will increase rapidly in a short period of time. Since the upper limit of financial richness will soon be seen, each person forms a diverse culture in search of "a happy way of life like me".
I would like to pay attention to the word "freedom" here. The word freedom has two original meanings. "Freedom," which means being freed from the constraints, and "liberty," which means choosing and acquiring your own rights and way of life. Freedom refers to "convenience" that solves social issues and makes society more convenient, and liberty refers to "meaning" that people get by acquiring their own way of life. The more the market slows down, the more important the meaning in the market becomes.
In a liberty-type after-digital society, a variety of highly meaningful "world-view businesses" will be created. People have the freedom to choose UX, and can choose the UX journey that suits their situation at that time. In other words, we aim for a society where "freedom of choice of UX" is guaranteed by the user's intention. This is different from the “total society where power is taken by the state and the platform” like China today. It is an after-digital society image that Japan should aim for by flexibly utilizing UX and technology.
The era in which companies create society
The fact that users can select the UX that suits them at that time means that private companies can take charge of the architectural design of society.
The architecture in this case refers to "means for controlling behavior through environmental design". For example, if the building has a door, you can go in and out of it by designing an environment that allows you to behave appropriately in a natural manner. Social-level architecture was created at the administrative level, but the architecture was not maintained on the Internet. Based on the rules organized by Internet companies centering on search sites and portals, "action patterns" equivalent to the ease of use of towns, roads, transportation facilities in the real world are prescribed.
In a society where digital has penetrated and offline has almost disappeared, it has become possible to introduce the architectural design that private companies have been doing online to the real world. It can be said that companies have begun to use UX and technology to create a part of social architecture. This is called "architecture decentralization". The era is coming when the DX of companies that seek to create a better society is directly connected to the DX of society as a whole.
Be a company with a good spirit
In an after-digital society in which a corporate DX regulates the society as an aggregate, each company must consider what kind of world it wants.
Keep in mind that the people and organizations that handle UX and technology have a huge influence and can be abused. Problems such as personal information being traded without the user's knowledge, and the operating company monopolizing the copyright of the copyrighted work published on the platform have already occurred. Such a situation is likely to occur in a business entity that pursues its own profits with the highest priority. If such an event occurs, social progress will stagnate significantly.
In particular, the selfish use of data and AI gives fear to society, including the "surveillance society." If the number of cases of abuse increases, data and AI will be socially bad, and their use will be greatly restricted. Whether Japanese society can benefit from technology and develop depends on whether entrepreneurs and business people can use UX and technology with a good spirit.
Is the data management society dystopia?
The most important thing is "what to use the data for".
Until now, the Japanese Internet has functioned as a place to anonymously spit out one's dissatisfaction and desire in order to escape from the intolerable reality of oppression. Japanese people use Twitter a lot while ensuring anonymity higher than other countries. Living a different personality by hiding the status was secured as freedom for a cramped social environment. From such a society, the situation where "online covers offline and all behavior data is linked by one ID" seems to deprive the freedom protected in the hidden private space.
However, it is unlikely that all the data will be consolidated and exposed to the sun. Rather, ID integration brings a smoother and more comfortable UX than ever before, allowing you to flexibly select the most suitable method, product, and service. The user's benefit is great.
When new things emerge in the world, people are first afraid of them. What is important is that many people see what happens when they actually use it. The direction of social development changes greatly depending on what kind of cases emerge.
Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, various social implementations have been made to cope with it, and it has brought about great changes in the world. It has been proved that technology is not a threat but a useful thing to utilize, such as "opening the first medical examination online".
Everyone who works with data must always be aware that their vision and services can cause society to lean in either direction. The standard of data utilization in the after-digital society is to "use behavior data not only for the company's own profit, but to return it to UX to build a trusting relationship with the user and amplify the provided value".
Recommendation of reading
This book is an overview of where the technology and data management society is heading. The summary introduced the concept of "after digital," including the recap of the previous book, and sought to clarify the direction that Japanese society should take in the future. In the part that could not be included here, more detailed discussions have been developed, showing recent examples of Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Tencent and companies such as Grab in Thailand. Some contents are specifically examining how to build a user experience.
In the midst of the coronavirus turmoil, we are in a "no wait" situation, in the words of this book. This is a book that you should read carefully in order to survive in an "after digital" and "after corona" society.