Case Studies

Are you embracing ‘digital transformation’?

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Are you embracing ‘digital transformation? 

Digital transformation is a hot topic and relates to the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of our lives. In business terms, digital transformation results in fundamental changes to how businesses operate – how they interact with customers, suppliers and partners. Embracing digital capabilities is becoming increasingly important for organisations that want to remain competitive as customers, staff and anyone interacting with businesses expect the automation of processes – ever quicker and ever slicker. 

Part of the challenge with digital transformation is that it is not simply about making ongoing improvements to processes and procedures within one area of your business activities (which would fall within the remit of digital ‘strategy’). More accurately, it’s about rethinking the way things are done from the bottom up – starting from scratch and thinking like a technology company would – thinking from the perspective of customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders to ascertain what they expect from you and how to deliver it. In essence, if you were to start your business activities again entirely against the backdrop of rapid digitisation, how would you do things to ensure success? How can customer experience, worker satisfaction, partnerships and supplier/partner/stakeholder relationships be enhanced and enabled through technology? 

Increasingly, we expect to be able to make purchases, resolve issues and find information with the minimum of effort. We want solutions that are accessible, flexible and customisable. If you have competitors who are facilitating this through digital technologies, do you think you can remain competitive in the face of this?  

Digital transformation in action – some high-profile examples 

The charge towards the provision of services facilitated through digital technologies and requiring ever decreasing volumes of human interaction goes some way towards explaining the success of some of today’s most innovative and successful businesses, all of which have built their success on delivering what their customers need through digital means: 

Uber

Ultimately, Uber is a taxi company like any other, but it has revolutionised the delivery of its service through its app that overcomes many of the issues that customers face with a traditional taxi service (e.g. frustration at having to call taxi companies to find one that’s available, not knowing what the journey will cost before arrival and not necessarily having enough cash to hand, safety concerns about getting into a car without really knowing whether it’s the right (or a legitimate) taxi, etc.). 

Amazon

Whatever you may think of Amazon, it is mopping up a massive share of the market for, well, almost everything. And it does this by offering the utmost convenience – online access to a huge selection of products (often at competitive prices), swift delivery and easy returns, and the peace of mind of customer reviews to inform the selection process. Amazon is particularly appealing to those who aren’t sufficiently interested in the products they are buying to want to spend their lunchbreaks shopping around for them. People value the convenience factor of Amazon so much that it’s likely that they are sometimes buying products from Amazon that they may be able to find cheaper elsewhere. 

Netflix

Netflix has captured the ‘I want it and I want it now’ market by giving access to vast swathes of films and TV shows on demand. Viewers don’t want to be limited by a timetable to watch TV shows when they first air – they want to watch programmes at a time that is convenient for them or they want to re-watch shows that they particularly enjoyed. Netflix’s recommendations hook viewers in further by doing some of the thinking about future viewing for us. 

Food delivery services

Getting a takeaway was never particularly challenging, let’s be honest, yet the swathes of bicycle couriers carrying precarious-looking thermal boxes on their backs goes to show that food delivery is a big thing. Select your cuisine, choose your restaurant based on customer reviews, and choose your delivery time (to a certain extent), and all from the comfort of your own home. 

Clearly, these examples of digital transformation are on a massive scale, but they are good examples of how to use digital technologies to offer customers what they want and in the way that they want it.  

What does the digital transformation mean for you? 

So, how do companies that are working at a more realistic level put digital transformation into practice? The process could involve some, or all, of the following, depending on the nature of your business: 

  • Looking at your business processes/functions. What issues are staff, customers, suppliers and partners facing and how can interactions be facilitated and simplified? Where are the bottle necks in your processes? How could your organisation become more agile or productive? 
  • Which aspects of digital technologies would facilitate an improvement in your business processes (e.g. cloud computing, analytics, artificial intelligence, mobile working, the use of ‘big data’)?  
  • What are the barriers to implementing your plans? For example, what level of digital literacy would be required by the beneficiaries of your digitisation (staff, customers, suppliers and partners)? It’s important to draw the balance between revolutionising your processes through digital technologies and ensuring that those who need to interact with the new systems have the capability to do so. 
  • What are your competitors doing (or not doing)? Have other companies in your field adopted digital technologies? If so, how has this worked out for them? And if you’re considering transforming the way you carry out certain aspects of your business processes, but others haven’t, is this because they are slow on the uptake or perhaps because they have already decided that it isn’t worthwhile? 
  • What will you need in terms of third-party support to implement your digital transformation? Most companies won’t have all the required skills in-house. 
  • Consider training requirements for internal staff and any external parties (e.g. customers, suppliers, etc.) who will be interacting with your organisation. 

To really ‘transform’ digitally, requires reviewing business practices from the bottom up, and driving strategic change from the top down, so it’s no mean feat. But the rate of digital change is fast and gaining momentum, and organisations that want to remain competitive will need to embrace the digital revolution. If you want help developing your strategy and transforming your business activities through digital technology, then look no further – get in touch and let us help.  

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