This question is very important and might provoke some fear and growls from within your organization, however, everybody agrees that digital transformation can make huge advances for your business.
To see how much internal and external factors would be affected, you need to be able to answer the following question.
If you had to start your business from scratch today, how would the technology available be different from when you started your business and how would you integrate new technology into the business?
To give you an example, a business just starting would be required to keep financial records and most likely the business would make use of modern financial software, with cloud storage options, and online access to relevant financial information thus keeping records digital, flexible and easily accessible.
Society is driven by digital technology; modern smartphones are stronger than the computers used in 1969 to put the first man on the moon. In some countries around the world, people barely have access to water but they own smartphones.
Digital technology has a massive impact on how we interact, influence and purchase the things we want and need.
Companies these days have a firm grasp on the concept of how to utilize the digital realm to maximize brand awareness and the impact that they have on the lives of their consumers. Businesses who don’t digitally transform are at risk from companies that are born digital.
The big question is how can traditional companies compete with born-digital companies? According to Gartner Digital businesses are defined as “Organizations founded after 1995, whose operating model and capabilities are based on the exploitation of information from the internet age and whose digital technologies are considered the main competence”
There’s a tendency amongst traditional business to believe that they cannot enter the digital world at all and that the golden age of establishing yourself digitally is over. This cannot be further from the truth. So how can traditional businesses stay in the race?
Below are some tips to help traditional businesses stay competitive in the digital world:
1. Find Inspiration in digital companies
Businesses can start by looking around to see what technology is being used by their competitors and how they’re integrating it into their service delivery. Just think with the arrival of websites at the beginning of the internet and today everyone’s using one.
2. Partner with Digital companies to fill in the gaps
Companies who want to start their digital transformation but can’t immediately digitize their products or services should partner with a digital company to fill in the gaps. It’s crucial to remember to adapt and stay true to the needs of one’s customers as most customers are already in the digital world.
3. Take advantage of technology to leverage data.
According to the Harvard Business review, leading digital companies have a different approach to business. They leverage data to better understand their target audience’s digital behaviour and make better predictions. Once the business understands the needs of its customers they implement personalized communication and this forester’s loyal customer relationships.
KPI’S or Key Performance Indicators are organizations most valuable measuring metric which helps them improve their business. To establish where digital transformation can assist your business, you need to have the right KPI’S. Not one business will be the same. Every business will have different staff members, departments and operating methods that each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Your business requires a tailor-made solution based on its unique set of needs, not a generic one. You can only improve or fix something within your business once you find and set up the right KPI’s relevant to your organization. By setting up the right KPI’s for your business, you identify strengths and weaknesses within the organization which could be tailored to fit your KPI’s.
4. Always look at the competition
If you want to know where to start your digital transformation, you can always look at what technology is being utilized by your competitors whether they are friendly rivals or serious competitors.
By looking at your competitors and how they operate you will identify your strengths and weaknesses within your business, you can then look at your competitors to see what makes them more efficient in areas that matter and how you could match or surpass them. Once you’ve identified your organization’s objectives, make a list of what can be improved.
5. Pay Attention to Technology
The biggest fundamental mistake any small or large business can make before the digital transformation is ignoring the technology that’s out there. If your business isn’t aware of current or new technology and its innovations and what it could do for your business you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Businesses who don’t pay attention to emerging technology will let opportunities for growth, pass them by. Any business must remain open to what new technologies can do to improve the operational process within the organization.
Businesses should not forget to keep an eye on the market. Tracking your KPI simply isn’t enough to remain relevant within the market space. The adage goes Knowledge is power and this is proving to be very true, the more data your business collects on the market itself, the better your chances at success.
There are key elements to be looking at such as how your customers and prospects are behaving, what are they looking for? And how are they getting it? This is vital and if your business isn’t utilizing good data, you won’t be successful in the digital age. Data analytics should be shared amongst all areas of your company and every department will benefit from better access to data.
6. Remember IT is not isolated
To make the best of digital transformation, companies have to get out of the mindset that IT is its distinct department within the organization that has no relation to the rest of the business. In most successful companies you’ll find that IT plays a fundamental part in the day to day operations of every department in a company.
There’s a big difference between a company that quarantines IT as just a tech support department when something goes wrong with the office network, versus a company that integrates IT from the ground up.