Why is Digital Transformation important to businesses?

by
Nick Gall

Why is Digital Transformation important to businesses?

Nick Gall

To predict the evolution of technology would be great wouldn’t it?! Let’s face it we’d all like to be a Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs but even some of the greats slipped up from time to time. Bill Gates once said “Two years from now, spam will be solved…” not quite Bill, some may say we’re receiving more than ever. Another classic was in 2005 when Alan Sugar was ridiculed for saying: “Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput.”. Clearly they were wrong but it’s not hard to see why, technology is moving faster than ever before and it’s not becoming easier to predict.

Since the introduction of powerful computers, smartphones, Internet and apps, everything we do has become more digitised. The accessibility of data and the ability to consume more than ever is having a direct effect on our patience towards day to day operations. We’re just not willing to wait for information these days.

It’s this shift in our behaviour, Millennials coming of age and the technologies we use that will make businesses vulnerable and more powerful all the same. Digital has changed business forever and those that have embraced digital are most likely leading their industry and influencing others whereas those that haven’t will begin to lag behind.

Digital strategy isn’t just about having a website, it’s considering IT as part of the business planning and decision making process. It’s about moving beyond developing and supplying services for internal users to developing solutions that meet the needs and expectations of external customers too. It’s this delicate shift that businesses are missing. Are you bringing IT closer to the decisions you make? Setting KPI’s for innovation dare I say? If not, start now.
Businesses delivering products or services to the public are predominantly in the firing line. Your customers will be expecting you to know who they are and their history with you within seconds of taking their call. There are developments in the market for fridges that scan your items to enable automatic reordering and home technologies that offer voice command to help plan your day or your next shopping list and this is only the start of how consumers will want to interact with their favourite brands. The rise in popularity of the Internet Of Things is a clear enabler for this innovation and simply for large corporates it’s a question of why have your customer on the phone shouting about an issue if you could have already fixed it?
Business to Business organisations won’t find this transition that much easier however they won’t need the constant overhaul of their digital strategy as businesses in the consumer space will. Businesses have already begun to expect more and gone are the days where you can keep your data tucked away on the server or (heaven forbid) in a filing cabinet ready to post clients the info they request. Storing data securely in an accessible environment for client self-serve access is becoming the norm. Integration projects are very popular too. Bringing current applications together is a key driver for businesses where they’re trying to get the most out of current assets but need to reduce change for staff – whilst at the same time meeting the new demands of their clients.
It’s hard to see any plausible excuse for not moving with the times, I’ve already mentioned the sheer volume of innovation so we’re spoilt for choice really. The dark and littered past of IT with large and costly server deployments are simply no more. So digital transformation is easy right?! Unfortunately, not. Of course Technology is easier to purchase and deploy and yes there’s more choice but our requirements are more widespread and we no longer just have our users to consider, it’s our clients too!
Businesses accepting that IT isn’t simply support for back office and internal customers is key. Draw a line in the sand and start over. IT shouldn’t just serve you email and a good CRM. That’s considered the standard and we’re beyond that now. Consider technology to be key to the business delivery, review your products and services and overhaul your processes by asking how involved IT are in your business objectives.
A couple of things are guaranteed; Innovation will at continue at (least) its current rate and we’ll see more and more options to choose from. That in turn will raise the expectations of our clients meaning the pressure will firmly be on to digitise your business.