Seeing the Big Picture: A Digital Transformation Roadmap for Businesses

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If you're planning to update, upgrade or overhaul your business's digital strategy, you should get started as soon as possible. Digital transformation is happening right now and you don't want to get left behind.

Whether you realize it or not, technological breakthroughs affect every area of your business. The question is whether you're prepared and are in a position to benefit from changes in areas such as technology, marketing, and customer behaviour. In this digital transformation roadmap, we'll be exploring what this phenomenon is and how you can make the most of it.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of using the latest digital technology to impact every area of an organization. At the simplest level, it might be digitizing or automating a process that was developed in the pre-digital age. For example, converting paper records into electronic and uploading them to the cloud. However, transformation is an ongoing process that's constantly evolving. So it also can refer to upgrading to a more efficient software or adding a chatbot to your website for better customer service. Here are a few examples of companies undergoing digital transformation.

  • Nike. Despite its size and apparent dominance in the sportswear industry, Nike is implementing what it terms "massive transformation" in order to stay competitive. Much of the focus is on e-commerce, where Nike is actually reducing its retail partners from 30,000 to 40. Transformation can mean scaling back as well as adding on. 
  • Malaysia Airlines. This airline, which was awarded the Best Airline in Asia by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association, consistently upgrades its technology to maintain its status as one of the world's most innovative airlines. Most recently, the airline announced a partnership with Viasat, using its Aerodocs document management system to improve workflow tracking. 
  • Domino's. The popular American pizza chain was struggling until it reinvented itself as a digital brand with sophisticated apps and social media campaigns.

 

Why Digital Transformation is Essential

Companies today need to understand that digital transformation isn't simply something you do to make yourself look hip. It's something that's necessary. Here are some reasons you must make your digital strategy a priority. 

To Stay Competitive

As the pressures to evolve keep increasing, it's practically a certainty that your competitors are looking for ways to advance digitally. In fact, a Tech Pro Research survey found that 70% of companies either currently have or are planning a digital transformation strategy. If you don't make a similar effort, you'll fall behind in areas such as product development, efficiency, customer service, marketing, and any other departments that are relevant to your industry.

Your Customers Expect It

Customers live in a world dominated by smartphones, social media, apps, streaming online content, and fast deliveries (which they order using their apps). They expect fast and efficient service whether they're ordering a takeout meal, paying a bill, booking a flight, or asking for help with a software product. If you can't deliver a user-friendly experience on your website, on the phone, or however you interact with customers, they will search for alternatives. 

You Need the Best Data

Data plays a huge role in the success of any business today. You need up to date and accurate data to understand your customers and your market. Data helps you plan profitable marketing campaigns, predict how people will likely react to a new product, and track your competition. Even the best data isn't perfect but it does give you a significant edge.

Security

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for all organizations. Problems such as identity theft, malware, ransomware, and phishing plague companies of all types. That's why you need the latest information and technology to protect yourself and your customers. A single hacking incident can be catastrophic if it means personal data or financial assets are compromised. Upgrading your systems to cloud-based servers, using the latest firewalls and anti-virus software, and educating your employees are some practices to keep yourself safe. All of this requires a forward-looking outlook when it comes to digital technology.

Keep Up With Emerging Technologies

Many new and overlapping technologies are quickly being adopted by consumers and businesses.

  • The Internet of Things (IoT). Consumers are embracing smart devices both at home and at work.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Both AR and VR have applications in industries such as entertainment, real estate, travel, interior design, medicine, aerospace, and many others.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is useful for collecting and analysing data, customer service (as with chatbots). A Fujitsu survey of executives and decision-makers found that 68% believe that humans and AI will work closely together in the future.

While many products, companies, and industries are already applying  AI, IoT, AR, and VR., this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you don't want to get left behind, look for ways that you might incorporate such innovative technologies into your own business.

Tips For a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy

Here are some guidelines for successful digital transformation.

  • Assess where you are now. Take inventory of your present situation and identify areas where you need to upgrade or transform. Talk to employees and teams in all your departments and ask for feedback. Study the competition.
  • Identify your goals. You don't want to invest in technology just for the sake of it. Look at areas where you most need improvement and research potential digital solutions.
  • Create your own digital transformation roadmap that fits with your needs. You must consider your customers, budget, and goals.
  • Test and experiment. The same tools and technologies aren't right for everyone. The best way to find out if something works is to test it yourself. Don't be afraid to experiment with new tools, services, and processes.
  • Get everyone on board. For changes to be truly transformative, goals must be shared throughout an organization. Not everyone has the same skills, knowledge, and responsibilities, to be sure. However, it's still important to communicate your strategy and ensure everyone is on board with the mission and ready to play his or her part.

The pace of change is not likely to slow down in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, it's likely to speed up even more in the coming years. Every business should have a digital transformation strategy in place. Think of it as an ongoing process rather than something you set in place and forget about. The best approach is to consistently re-examine your digital tools and tactics and make adjustments as needed.

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