We’re part of an age where it’s not only recommended to utilize digital technology to enhance your business — it’s practically a necessity. IDC estimates that in 2018, nearly $1.3 trillion will have been spent on digital transformation worldwide. And while the term “digital transformation” is not new, that doesn’t mean it’s widely understood.
Defining Digital Transformation
To boil it down, digital transformation is a matter of incorporating digital technology into a business, thereby changing how the business operates and offers value to its customers. Digital transformation combines real-time data, coming from things like connected devices and mobile commerce, with modern technology, like cloud-based apps and artificial intelligence.
More companies are recognizing the urgency for digital transformation, ranking it among the top three business priorities for 2018. Companies that are interested in making this transformation may be looking into anything from web product development to data and analytics tools to new systems and technology. Think about an online retailer who has primarily offered only in-store or online purchases. In this new digital age, they might consider the benefits of a “ship to store” option for their customers. Or perhaps a business is wasting money on direct mail marketing and could instead take advantage of data-driven, targeted online ads. Digital transformation can take many different shapes and forms, depending on your business objectives
The Benefits of a Digitally Transformed Business
This digital implementation — when done purposefully and well — enables businesses to offer customers a seamless experience with minimal risk, creating a better overall customer experience. When interacting with a digitally transformed business, ideally, customers will have an easier time finding the products and services they’re looking for. And, your business can improve its processes and streamline tasks through technology.
Digital transformation can better optimize your business in areas such as planning, marketing, procurement and sales. Companies can expect better customer engagement data and reduced inventory costs via predictive analytics. And as customer demands inevitably shift over time, digitally transformed businesses will be more flexible to identify these shifts, adapt and provide quality services that meet customers' new needs.
The Steps For Digital Transformation
Identify your goals
It can be exciting embarking on a new, digital adventure, but before you jump in, take a step back and think about what your biggest objectives are. Do you offer great, unique services but customers have a hard time finding you online? Are there company processes that would benefit from the efficiency of automation? Are your traditional advertising efforts yielding increasingly lower ROIs?
Identify your biggest and most vital business challenges that you’re trying to overcome. As you prepare to implement a digital transformation, make sure you also get buy-in from your organization.
Think about what your customer or user actually needs
Take a look at your business from a customer point of view. Challenge other people in your organization to think from this perspective as well. If a potential client or customer is interacting with your business, what do they see and experience? Is that new technology you’ve been eyeing really necessary, or is the shiny newness of it blinding you from the fact that it’s not truly going to help you achieve your goals? Know your customer and the experience they truly desire.
As a web consulting company, we have clients across a wide range of industries, from healthcare to construction to hospitality, etc. But, there is one foundational principle that applies to every client — the user experience that you provide is your brand. What does that mean? Think about a strong brand that inspires loyalty in its consumer base. Google works as an obvious example. Their brand doesn't come from a cool logo or catchy tagline. It's built on the experience they offer their users; simple, highly accurate searching and a constant focus on improving that experience. They put their users first and continually evolve and adapt in ways that better suit their users' needs.
Embrace and evolve your digital transformation
Do your research. Identify whether there is a fundamental need for your idea within your market. And, once you find the strategies you think work best for your organization, test and experiment. For example, Alcon and BMW debuted pilot transformations in smaller markets first to test and fine-tune their engines before debuting in their far larger and riskier German market.
Lastly, prepare for things to not go according to your original plan. Part of digital transformation is the ability to be more adaptable — embrace that new identity. This is where startups tend to have an edge over established organizations. They're more agile and willing to push boundaries without fear, whereas companies and corporations that have already grown to a certain level of success tend to be slow-moving and reluctant to change. Don't let your business lose that scrappy startup mentality.
Remember: It’s a Process
If you’re overwhelmed by all of this, that’s understandable. Digitization is a massive process, and you may be looking over at what your competitors are doing, thinking “How can I keep up?”
The implementation of one digital capability into one of your company’s processes doesn’t mean you’ve been “digitally transformed.” And on the other hand, implementing every digital technology available also won’t get you where you need to go. Digital transformation is a change of the entire business culture, and it requires continuous experimenting and updating to work.
Is your business in need of a digital transformation? Take the first step, and contact our web consulting company today.