What Does Digital Transformation Look Like For A Business?
Heightened competition across today’s digital economy has pushed many businesses into a state of constant urgency – how do we stay ahead of competition and keep up with industry demands, while staying true to our core business values?
Digital transformation – a term that has seen many different definitions over years, often used interchangeably with ‘digitisation’ which now widely refers to the conversion of analogue information into digital form. Digital transformation on the other hand, while having evolved from digitisation, has a much wider scope in its modern form, than just the adoption of software and digital tools.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation of a business takes place when the organisation leverages technology and data to revisit and develop new models for every aspect of the organisation from business to operations, to adopt a more customer-centric focus. For traditional businesses, this might mean walking away from long-established processes, which is usually the first and most important hurdle to cross when embarking on the digital transformation journey of a business.
Elements of digital transformation
It is important first and foremost to understand the basic elements of digital transformation, i.e. the aspects of your organisation that will actually be undergoing the transformation.
While the industry hasn’t exactly come to a consensus on a definitive number of elements, we have broken the process down into 3 main elements for your business to employ as a starting framework.
1. Customer Experience
Your customers should arguably be the first people you think of when running a business. Who are my customers, how can I make their experience with my brand a favourable one, how do I make them become advocates of my brand – these are some of the ever-present questions that businesses should work towards answering.
Technology and data can and should be used in a multitude of ways to better understand your customers and their needs. One key area of transformation is the sales experience.
Knowing how your customers interact with your brand and its products is key, when crafting a sales strategy. Big data analytics tools have made tracking, managing and analysing meaningful customer behaviour data much simpler – in turn helping to improve the accuracy and success of sales and marketing strategies.
Gone are the days where businesses wait for customers to come to them. Now, you go to your customers wherever they are. Digital marketing has seen return on investment numbers go through the roof, compared to traditional marketing strategies – but just setting up a social media account for your brand does not equate to the digital transformation and would not result in achieving your sales objectives. Rather, omni channel sales and marketing strategies need to be integrated and work together seamlessly for an ideal sales experience, where adjustments can be quickly made and performance can be easily measured.
Another important aspect of the customer experience is customer support. Many businesses use social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram as another avenue to solve their customers’ issues, simply because that is where their customers are. And ironically enough, having more of a digital presence online makes the brand seem more human, as customers get personalised attention and a solution to their problem.
Adidas is a great example of one such business that puts the customer first in every aspect of their unified brand experience journey: online, social and their physical retail stores. Going as far as to refer to their target customers as “creator consumers”, a consumer who wants to engage and create with the brand, rather than just be a passive consumer to be sold to, Adidas is a brand that has leveraged digital to keep up with the changing times while staying true to its core business vision.
Technology is no longer being used just for cost-savings and efficiency improvements; IT has now become the main driver of business innovation instead.
Business models are sometimes seen as the most difficult to transform and implement – making them all the more crucial for the digital transformation of your business.
Modifying your product offerings to integrate technology is one of the ways your business model can be digitally transformed. A traditional grocery store setting up its e-commerce site is one such example.
Reshaping your business boundaries through the integration of technology and data is another way that business models can be transformed. One example is Changi Airport’s iChangi mobile app, that offers its travellers an integrated experience with real-time updates on flight traffic, as well as information about shopping and dining promotion at various locations in the airport.
Your employees are the backbone of your organisation – without them, you will not have a business, even in this highly digital economy. Hence, it is important for your employees to be on-board with the digital transformation of the business, and for change to first start from within.
Operational inefficiency is one of the first things that digital transformation can eliminate when implemented. The automation of simple and repetitive tasks can free up valuable time for your operations team to be engaged in more strategic tasks.
Traditional multinational corporations (MNCs) have long been plagued with inefficiencies in their branch offices arising from their organisational structure among other issues. Hence, more companies are aiming to be “global companies”, with a unified culture and processes across all their offshore teams. Business technology and innovative collaboration techniques have made this evolution a much faster and easier task to undertake. When the whole organisation is aligned even down to the simplest of processes, productivity is greatly increased, not to mention the improvement in overall employee sentiment towards the brand itself.
The digital transformation of your business can be a daunting task for even the strongest of business leaders. Not knowing where to start and what to do are some anxiety-inducing problems that you might be facing. If you’re looking for help with your digital transformation journey, we here at Golden Equator are always ready for a helpful chat! Drop us a line here.