Adopting and adapting to digital is more than an afterthought in business today. To stay competitive and relevant, it's crucial for companies to begin and progress their transition to digital transformation.
With digital disruptors snapping at the heels of many industries, success will come to the businesses that ensure their workforce is skilled in the best practices of the digital age. Moreover, this transformation must be weaved into the fabric of the company and championed by leadership to have maximum impact.
The concern for many businesses is that they’ve already fallen behind. Some think they are too late to get started. In fact, digital speed is as much as 5 times faster than a traditional business, and that pace is essential to becoming a leader or a fast follower.
In this article, we explore the benefits of digital transformation to a business and its workforce.
The world’s obsession with the latest technology, social media and apps revolve around a desire for an easier life. People want valuable solutions to their problems. More importantly, they want it fast.
The experience of customers is at the heart of digital. As a result, the primary focus of digital transformation is to use cutting-edge technology to improve the customer experience.
Many companies recognize this, with 92% of leaders developing mature digital transformation strategies, specifically to enhance the consumer experience.
According to McKinsey, the success factors in customer experience in the transformation process are:
Those companies at the forefront of the digital revolution will earn much more authority, trust and respect from customers.
One of the great benefits of going digital is the ability to track metrics and analyze the data that is gained during digital marketing efforts. More to the point, using these insights allows businesses to optimize their strategies and processes for even better results.
In businesses, two things matter more than most - costs and revenue. It’s possible to make massive changes to both by integrating data-based insights into the company culture.
Using data-driven insights to understand customers and feeds into business strategy enables hyper-personalization, relevancy, real-time feedback and agility. This involves businesses to make use of both structured (personal customer information) and unstructured data (social media metrics) pulling together data from many sides of the business to help drive the transformation journey.
The importance of data in decision-making should not be underestimated. With the right leadership to encourage this attitude throughout an organization, the road to a higher ROI will become much easier.
Many people fear change. The thought of the entire organization making a massive digital transformation can be a daunting prospect for a workforce from leadership to entry-level employees. All processes and strategies, down to the core structure and company culture need to be addressed.
However, in that, there is an opportunity for unity throughout the workforce. To maximize the chances of a successful switch, there needs to be strong communication.
With encouragement, employees can break down age gaps and social divides to engage in conversation and learn together. Solid leadership at this point will improve the digital intelligence of the workforce.
The foundation for a smooth digital transformation is built upon digital congruence. When all departments are aligned, a strong company culture forms, allowing a successful and confident transition.
“In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate” - Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon
In business, agility is the ability to continuously improve and develop quickly, especially regarding digital processes.
This penchant for innovation is held in high regard across many industries. When it comes to digital transformation initiatives, 68% of companies rank agility among the top three considerations.
Dr. Brigit Koenig, CEO of German’s Allianz Health, summed up the state of business in the digital age, when she said, “It’s never over. There is always change and always more to do.”
The rapid development and perpetual changing of the digital landscape leave no time for companies to rest on their laurels.
Even those on top must be ready to adapt and innovate. There will always be new competition, new tools, and new trends. With that, the customer will demand more, wanting it faster and better than before. Staying ready is crucial.
As new technology continues to go stratospheric, the demand for these specialized skills will grow. To name a few skills that are coming into their own, the future of digital business is looking to be heavily built upon the following skillsets:
A report by Altimeter concluded that 31% of companies lack digital talent and experience among their workforce and leadership. Inhibited by fear of change, many companies view digital transformation as a huge cost rather than a smart investment.
By braving the challenge to make the change, businesses allow their employees to develop skills for the future, as well as equipping their business with the in-house knowledge to sustain growth and a competitive edge in the digital age.
Central to this flexible and adaptable nature is a strong digital workplace. This will allow the workforce to remain productive and engaged in the transformation without feeling overwhelmed or disconnected from the process.
Merely having the technology in place is not enough. If a business is to succeed in the future, the organization must adopt and apply a company culture that embraces the change.
Considering that 60% of professionals don’t feel equipped for change, a company culture that immerses the workforce in a digital learning environment is a significant benefit, helping them upskill for years ahead along with climb up the ladder to become digital-savvy employees.
Digital transformation allows this to happen by making an impact on leadership and driving culture from the top-down. Its importance is such that 90% of large companies are expected to have a CDO in place by 2019.
Putting money aside, the greatest universal benefit that technology has given businesses is that it has made it easier to connect with other people.
By going digital, companies can bring more than just their workforce together, but also their entire architecture. This includes social media, analytics and project management interfaces.
This consolidation of the company processes and operations enables the business to connect with their target audience and satisfy their needs.
Take Xylem as an example. Over the past number of years, the water technology provider has merged legacy IT systems to create one platform focused on operational efficiency, customer engagement, and growth. By leveraging social, mobile, IoT, analytics, and other tools with service at the core it has generated more than $30 million.
In conclusion, the future of digital transformation is no longer a dot on the horizon. The pressing need to implement it in the next few years can no longer be ignored - certainly not if the organization has any interest in success or profits. The digital age isn’t new, but it is different.
Choosing to remain on the outside was a liberty that many businesses had over the past decade. But time is up. We are in the midst of a digital Darwinism and it's the businesses that fully embrace and invest in their digital transformation that will thrive.