By: Katie Johns
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been crippled. Some, which implemented digital transformation, have managed to thrive and overcome. While most businesses have reported losses and other challenges related to the coronavirus effect, those that have implemented digital transformation have, on the contrary, increased their profits.
Let’s face it – most industries weren’t ready for COVID-19. And they got hit hard where it hurts. However, IT seems to have been ready, not because it moved quickly to create solutions, but because it had already made several strides in preparation. The capacities and different capabilities to connect both the business and consumer is one of the main gains of digital transformation. Now is probably the most crucial time for companies and businesses to implement digital transformation.
Even with all of these strides made in the digital transformation sector, experts argue that there’s still more to do. The rapid technological advancements we are witnessing across the globe also point to the narrative that digital transformation is never ending. Businesses and customers are devising new ways of communicating with each other by using different technological tools. To stay relevant and viable businesswise, companies and businesses need to align their marketing strategies with technology. This helps to connect with clients in a faster and more convenient manner. Arguably, using digital transformation is the sure way of achieving these goals.
Thriving in the digital world is not as difficult as some people may want to make it look like. It is a great way of improving and increasing the potential of your company and help position it ahead of the rest.
Some technology gurus say that digital transformation is a never ending journey to improving the resources of a business or company.
Why is digital transformation a never-ending process?
To understand this better, it would be best to start with the definition of the word transformation. Standard dictionaries define transformation as a transmutation, conversion or metamorphosis. If these definitions are anything to go by, then digital transformation is perhaps never going to end any time soon. It is a gradual process of growth in technology and resources.
Take time to look back at how digital technology has changed over the years. What worked a while back is no longer working now. Several improvements have been made to improve efficiency and smooth flow of operations. For many, the internet in itself is the starting point of the digital technology sector.
It all started with businesses embracing technology through the creation of websites and email accounts. A new mode of payments (online payments) that saw customers settling bills without having to call the company emerged. Most clients thought this was sufficient, but the introduction of mobile technology made even more changes. This was encompassed with the viral use of social media sites globally. In this era, businesses and companies are constantly adopting the use of augmented and virtual reality. Then came the primary innovations of the 21st century – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, and impressive technologies.
The clear reality that most, if not all, of these technologies never existed roughly ten years ago proves that technology is never standstill. Right now, as you are reading this piece, there’s a huge possibility of a few innovators creating the next explosive technology. And the fact is that you stand the risk of remaining behind if you don’t embrace it.
The digital world is moving at an increasingly fast pace, even though some companies haven’t yet been able to exploit the existing technologies. Digitally immature companies, to be more precise, have suffered the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than their counterparts. This pandemic has shown to us what technology can do, and why we should adopt it in our daily operations.
As technology continues to advance, so will the acceleration of the rate at which companies are supposed to digitally transform themselves. Technological advancements and transformations are not leaving us anytime soon. If anything, they will become more frequent, as the gap between each transformation shortens. Therefore, to accrue the full benefits of digital transformation, companies and businesses will need to embrace the current and upcoming technologies.
The consumer dominates this current age. And as you may already know, millennials are the primary consumers of this era. They are tech-led and rely on everything technology. You could make or break your business depending on your digital adoption speed. Brands that have failed to embrace technology have suffered the heat of the current pandemic, with some having to close offices/showroom completely. Thus, to avoid business burnout, most companies have been forced to shift to the digital side, even though if it wasn’t a part of their yearly goals.
Implementing technology that can track, estimate, and respond to crucial changes in consumer behavior is a win for any business of this age. Artificial intelligence and automation are providing enhanced levels of efficiency, which helps to predict customer needs and to stay ahead of customer desires.
You will gain substantial mileage, and place your business ahead of the rest by adopting digital transformation. Leveraging new technologies as they come is the secret of maintaining a steady digital transformation. Since digital transformation is the link between people, information and systems, for any business, it is a crucial element that can’t be washed away.
Since digital transformation is a continuous process, it would be best if you kept yourself ready by doing the following:
Prepare for big changes
Technology is a rolling stone, and you should be ready to adopt to new changes when they come. People are innovating new ways of doing things and a lot is changing every day. According to the prediction from experts in the industry such as Forrester, companies looking to improve their dominance will need to focus on the digital evolution.
Already, machine learning and artificial intelligence have created a worthy force in the business world. In addition, block chain and quantum computing are rising rapidly, and business leaders should start investing in them for the future.
By preparing resources digitally, business owners will remain a step ahead of the consumer, and this makes it easy to retain clients. The use of technology has stood the test of time, and is not going to fail you.
This year, 2020, and the coming years, will see about 50% of businesses depending on their abilities to create digitally-enhanced services, and products.
Confirm who is in charge
It is easier to get things moving smoothly when everyone understands their roles. You will need to clarify who is in charge of what roles in the digital transformation process. Each process in your digital migration journey should have its own dedicated individual.
We all have different things to look out for in employees and those in charge of different dockets. However, when it comes down to digital transformation, working with the right individuals is paramount. For instance, skills needed when working in the digital transformation sector include technological insights, data analytics, and consumer marketing/understanding techniques. All of these skills will help your company stay ahead in this customer-driven era. Digital transformation within a company or business needs collaboration.
Work on any digital skills shortage
Predicting consumer patterns and spotting trends, as hinted earlier on, is an important advantage any business can have over the competition. It helps to ensure that you can easily react to any new conditions/changes in the market.
65% of companies believe that a skills shortage holds them back from achieving their goals. On the other hand, more than 50% equally think that acquiring new skills is a huge priority. In this current digital world, you will need to continue learning constantly, as a business. Your organization can move forward effectively when you exchange skills, data and information.
Your staff might have to go through the current digital courses to equip them with the right skills. Digital transformation should be the core of your business, as it is an ongoing process that never ends. Bearing in mind that there’s a shortage of digital skills, it would be best if you ensured your business has digitally-endowed staff to thrive.
Tips for a continuous digital transformation
Now that we know digital transformation is here to stay, it would help to know how to keep tabs with its progress. Here are a few tips:
- Work on your digital strategy – having a digital strategy helps you to bridge the gap between you and the customer.
- Concentrate on the digital landscape – beware of any trends in the digital landscape, and all other emerging technologies.
- Be flexible to change – your company or business should easily adapt to any changes – be it in technology or any other structures.
- Be innovative – this current era needs creativity and innovation. It would help a lot if you had an innovative team that can help you get ideas moving. You can do this by employing new staff and concentrating on making your digital transformation a success.
Digital transformation has done more good than bad to most businesses. If the current trend in its adoption is anything to go by, then we should see it continue even further, going onwards.