Keep Your Competitive Edge and Digitize!
Lately, it feels as if every business is going digital. We live in a time where cars are driving themselves robots are cleaning our houses and believe it or not, bots—or intelligent computer programs—are autonomously writing newspaper articles (not this one, though).
So what is digital? It initially struck me as a somewhat dated term. Over the last 30 years we’ve seen digital watches, digital calculators, digital cameras and other “digital” devices. It’s 2017; what’s different? New technology megatrends such as mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have dramatically changed the business landscape. Today, the big traditional players are being disrupted by nimble startups across every industry. According to a study by Digital Vortex, 40 percent of incumbents are at risk of being displaced in the next five years. The question is Will you disrupt or be disrupted?
Build a Solid Foundation for Digital
Digital transformation requires end-to-end changes, in both your organization and your technology. To be ready for the digital age, your people will need to redefine processes and, in many cases, build new skills before they can fully embrace new technologies.
One essential element of your digital strategy must be your network. Although it is invisible to most of us, the network becomes more relevant in the digital era. The network is the common element and the foundation that enables us to connect anywhere, at any time and from any mobile device or thing. It also delivers meaningful inputs through big data—large amounts of data that are analyzed to deliver valuable insights such as customer behavior trends and product sentiment. These insights are perfect for the retail world, but data-driven insights can apply to any industry: healthcare, manufacturing, and others.
As we become more digital, we face more risks by opening up sensitive information into public cloud and Wi-Fi environments. In many ways, this is a double-edged sword because your workers expect information to be ready at their fingertips. However, at the same time, the network needs to shield your business from cyber security threats. This can be done by enforcing who has access to the information and how they access it. Deeply and automatically inspecting applications for threats at the network level will protect your users, your intellectual property, and your reputation.
Focus Areas for Digital Transformation
To break this down, we typically look at three main areas:
Delivering new customer experiences: Like everyone, I’m busy, so when I go to my favorite coffee shop, I cut my wait time by ordering from an app on my phone. I save time and earn points for every purchase. This makes the coffee shop happy because they can serve more customers and, more importantly, they use the transaction data to tailor offers and create customer loyalty. This is real business value.
Transforming processes and business models: I live in Virginia and can’t recall the last time I raised my hand to hail a taxi on the street. I used to do this all the time while growing up in Brooklyn, but now it feels like a relic from a bygone era. The taxi industry was totally disrupted by digital transformation. When Uber, Lyft, and other companies began expanding globally, taxi companies did not foresee the digital shift, and many are now left behind, stuck in an antiquated business model.
Empowering workforce innovation: I see more and more companies, just like the one I work for, deploying collaboration and security technologies to increase innovation, productivity, and satisfaction by providing workers a better experience. It’s no longer only about how much you get paid for your work or if you have a kitchen stocked with snacks, it’s about what tools you can use to do your work with the highest levels of engagement and flexibility.
The Sky is the Limit
You might say—“This all seems very technological, but not all companies are from the technology industry, and I’m not a geek. How can I benefit from the hype around digital transformation?”
Research by the authors of “Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation” shows companies that master this transition to digital will not only drive more revenue, but will be 29 percent more profitable on average. The companies that succeed in tomorrow’s world will be the ones that embrace technology and software to create new ways to engage their employees, partners, and customers.
Imagine: What will digital transformation do to your business? How will you innovate and adapt business processes, deliver better customer experiences and improve your workforce efficiency? Digital really levels a lot of playing fields, allowing smaller companies to compete in the big leagues and win!
Done right, digital transformation can have dramatic benefits, ranging from immensely improving the bottom line and overall customer experience for a business, all the way to disrupting an entire industry.
Hopefully, you’ll start to believe your company is a technology company, no matter which industry or vertical you are in. There’s never been a better time to reimagine your business. How are you going to transform?