If you find the idea of digital transformation daunting, you’re not alone. Despite the prevalence of modern technology, today’s industries are less than 40 per cent digitised. Our mission is to convince business owners that ‘going digital’ is the only way forward.
One of the biggest objections is a simple lack of understanding. Business owners may see digital transformation as a threat to their workforce or a costly investment. In truth, it represents a ground-breaking opportunity. Myriad business sectors are set to save money and reach more customers than ever before.
Digital transformation: what does it really mean?
It’s easy for marketers to throw around tech buzzwords without any real substance. Machine learning, artificial intelligence or even user experience offer little value without context.
Instead, we need to approach it from a holistic point of view. The Binar Academy defines digital transformation as “a holistic, end-to-end process to serve customers with a better experience by adapting technologies”.
In plain English, focusing on digital innovation will help to:
- Automate manual processes
- Create new revenue streams
- Collect data to spur actions
- Provide a personalised customer experience
- Adapt to new customer demands.
Applying these principles to your business strategy
How we implement these business processes depends largely on the sector. For a successful strategy, organisations need to review their technology and personnel.
Saving time and money with automation
The manufacturing industry has seen some of the biggest impacts of digital transformation. In October 2019, US-based Ithaca Beer Co. introduced automated batch reporting to streamline their production. Previously, brewers would write manual batch reports, which were susceptible to human error. A new automated system saved them $75,000 per day in downtime and left staff able to focus on other key roles.
A fantastic retail case study is that of the Lego Group. In 2004, the company was close to folding. The group underwent a huge organisational restructure and turned their attentions towards digital products. They were able to get more value from their staff by experimenting with micro businesses. They also adapted to new customer demand by branching out into mobile apps and games.
The consumer effect
These digital transformation initiatives aren’t limited to in-house production. They also have a tremendous impact on your customers. Once again, it is a holistic, end-to-end process.
So, why should this business transformation impact your consumers? Because the modern-day customer is changing.
How well do you really know your customer?
Smart technology is now so universal, we almost forget how far we’ve come. We engage with emerging technologies daily without even thinking about it, from voice assistants to streaming services.
These digital technologies provide a snapshot of the modern consumer. To survive these exponential advances, we need to recognise new customer needs.
Access over ownership
Physical ownership is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s consumer opts for streaming media rather than owning CDs and DVDs – we want fewer ‘things’ and faster access.
Today, mobile traffic accounts for 48.91 per cent of all online browsing. The modern customer wants a mobile-friendly experience, and search engines prioritise this.
Need for speed
We know what we want, and we want it now. 53 per cent of people will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
By 2020, 51 per cent of consumers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact. Likewise, 79 per cent of us are more likely to engage with a personalised offer. Only by harnessing customer data can businesses meet these increasing demands.
How can we innovate to satisfy our customers?
There is no better argument for digital transformation than the pace of change. From the age of the Neanderthal, when tools took thousands of years to develop, we’re now moving towards the age of singularity. Quite simply, it’s going faster than we ever anticipated – so how can we keep up?
Leverage customer data
The answer lies in your data. Every two days, we create as much data as we did from the beginning of time until 2003. We’re searching, downloading, transacting – all of which is invaluable information to business owners.
We shouldn’t collect data for data’s sake. We should use it to spur actions, for example:
- Analyse online behaviour to see where customers ‘drop-off’:
- Conduct a speed/mobile-friendly audit to improve the user experience
- Identify customer segments based on buying trends:
- Create targeted, personalised campaigns for user groups
- Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict future sales:
- Reduce wasted stock by anticipating customer needs.
The three steps towards digital transformation
Digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s about the customer experience, your company culture, and most importantly, your strategy. At Netsells, our teams are on-hand to put these strategies into motion.
Identify the problem you’re trying to solve.
Whether it’s streamlining processes or identifying new revenue streams, digital leaders succeed by pinpointing problems and combating them with new technologies.
Formulate a digital transformation strategy.
This will involve a review of outdated technology, your business capital, and each staff member’s role. Some organisations may benefit from a restructure to get the best from their teams.
Assess your expertise.
New technologies often mean new roles. Business owners should assess whether or not they need to hire an expert, or outsource to a third-party.
Are you ready to transform?
The transformation process is a daunting but infinitely worthwhile investment. According to the International Data Corporation, 85 per cent of decision-makers say they have just two years to make inroads into digital transformation. The time to act is now.
This was a blog post written for Netsells, looking into digital transformation and how it can help 21st Century enterprise.