Ganesh V. Iyer Managing Director & Global CIO, NIO
As the consumer need is going through a transition, enterprises are seeking for a rapid transition in their selling and servicing processes by leveraging mobile technologies. In an interview with Auto tech Outlook, Ganesh V. Iyer, Managing Director & Global CIO of NIO explains that to ensure a frictionless experience for consumers the players of auto tech sector should move beyond traditional B2C model to adopt more ‘community-based business models'.
What keeps you awake at night concerning the ongoing technology trends? What are the implications of that tech in your industry?
Lately, what keeps me awake at night is not about the technology changes that happening in the industry, rather the rapid changes in business models, product landscapes as well as consumer expectations and demand that’s happening across the industries are much more interesting. The auto industry is undergoing drastic changes. EVs will face greater demand as the world increasingly pays attention to climate change and environmental protection. As a business-savvy technology leader, I’m constantly thinking about architecting systems that can quickly and relatively easily adapt to support these disrupting business models especially in the ‘Go to Market’ business disciplines. Every organization, especially in the auto segment, is constantly thinking about new ways of selling, delivering and servicing consumer vehicles. Everyone is thinking about providing immersive user experiences using mobile technologies. For example, in China unless you design, architect and deploy slick, simplistic mobile-centric applications for users to interact with the product, you are selling as well as to connect, it will be extremely difficult to improve user adoption and most importantly user satisfaction.
Being in the AutoTech industry, I see dramatic shifts in the way traditional OEMs are engineering/selling/ servicing their products as the auto industry is going through a major disruption
Organizations are evolving from the traditional B2C model to more ‘community-based business models’. Digital technology and business models are much more integrated than ever before. The shift from the traditional software/ hardware solutions to more integrated ‘digital solutions and capabilities’ to solve customer problems is what excites me. Being in the AutoTech industry, I see dramatic shifts in the way traditional OEMs are engineering/selling/servicing their products as the auto industry is going through a major disruption. EV/AV vehicles are driving this disruption. Internet of Things (IoT) is shifting more and more towards Autonomy of Things (AOT). CIOs must play a major role in driving this technology shift.
What is the latest technology that has been implemented in your company under your influence? How has that created a change in the dynamics of the company?
My company, NIO designs, manufactures and sells smart and connected premium electric vehicles, driving innovations in next-generation technologies in connectivity, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. Our mission at NIO is to shape a joyful lifestyle by offering premium smart electric vehicles and being the best user enterprise in the world. With China being the first go-to-market segment for NIO and Chinese consumers generally expecting rich, immersive experiences from their gadgets and technologies, I was tasked with creating smart digital solutions to deliver these experiences to NIO users. We offer a one-of-a-kind community app for our users to have one-click solutions for configuring, ordering, servicing and charging their vehicles, a solution exclusive to NIO users. The NIO app is the central nervous system for the company, and my Digital Development teams are instrumental in delivering such unique solutions to drive user behavior and satisfaction. Our users connect and collaborate as well as with our employees and upper management throughout this community app that we developed internally.'
How do you measure success and how would you communicate that to your CEO?
As I mentioned, NIO’s vision is to create a user enterprise and shape a joyful lifestyle for our users. The success of my team is measured by the effectiveness of our NIO users’ ability to connect to their NIO vehicles and the surroundings as well with other fellow users to self-serve their needs. My CEO and the exec management get real-time feedback from our users through the NIO app and the digital experience metrics are very encouraging and speak volumes about my team’s success. My team is constantly looking at ways to improve our user satisfaction index by enhancing the digital experience capabilities.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give aspiring CIOs?
I have a couple of suggestions.
A. Always look at providing cutting edge immersive experiences to the consumers you serve. When it comes to the consumer experience, I’m noticing organizations shift more and more toward enhancing the digital experience, rather than digital functionality. Personal tech is growing every day. For companies to differentiate themselves, and retain /acquire new customers, they’ll need to provide cross-platform, personalized experiences. To get ahead of the trend, CIOs should examine their current suite of products and develop creative methods for amplifying their digital customer experiences. Digital Assistants are going into everything and the support of Digital Assistants has become the default expectation. They are shifting consumer behavior. Voice has become the ‘Defacto Interface’ on everything these days.
B. Have a market-specific focus. Every market segment is going through radical changes. To stay ahead of these market shifts, companies need to listen to real-time feedback from their users. CIOs should develop a dynamic, constantly updating product roadmap to support these efforts. For example, China’s technology market is largely centered around mobile. Companies looking to go to market in China must keep that in mind throughout the development process. A user-first approach is the most effective way to ensure that product developments are responding to the country- and market-specific needs.