The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has brought with it so many fundamental changes in the way we do business that enterprises cannot ignore the digital transformation necessary to keep up and stay competitive.
Digital transformation is necessary for future success regardless of the size of an enterprise and the industry where it operates.
According to a recent survey by CompleteSpectrum among 300 senior leaders from private equity-backed companies with annual revenue of between $15 million and $200 million, approximately 50% of the participants described digital transformation as aligning digital presence to increase delivery on brand promise and experience.
A total of 24% of participants believed digital transformation means coordinating a cohesive online strategy to generate better leads and capitalise on them, with 14% considering its automation of digital marketing using customer-facing technology. Only 9% said it means more effective measurement of digital channels return on investment and 2% believed it refers to improving a website’s aesthetic appeal.
This survey indicates that although many business leaders know that digital transformation is important, they are confused about exactly what digital transformation entails. This failure to understand the nature of digital transformation can rob enterprises of the opportunity to remain competitive in the digital age.
Some experts ascribe the confusion to the fact that business people use the terms digital transformation, digital strategy, and digital marketing interchangeably. They think digital transformation will require a completely new business model, with completely new products or services, associated experiences and supporting processes.
Others believe that digital transformation means that an enterprise requires a new digital strategy or that it only refers to customer experience, digital maturity, eCommerce and an online presence. Businesses confuse these concepts because the differences between product, service and marketing are becoming less recognisable.
It is understandable that businesses can get confused with all these terms as digital technologies are not the product or service they provide, but part of how the business is run. Owners and managers are not digital specialists because they are involved with providing a completely different product or service.
A digital strategy is necessary, but it has a far narrower focus on redesigning a specific user segment or business function than digital transformation. Digital marketing is part of the digital strategy for using digital technology to market to customers online.
Customer experience refers to how enterprises market to and engage with customers to form an emotional connection to motivate them to buy, with customer loyalty closely related to their experience. Digital maturity is a way to identify the starting point of the digital transformation needed in an enterprise.
The simple digitisation of the Third Industrial Revolution has resulted in innovation built on a blend of technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The subsequent transformation of businesses is digital transformation or digitalisation, where business activities are transformed to either optimise the supply of services and goods or to transform the customer journey.
Digital transformation means different things to different enterprises. For some, it means eCommerce. For others, it might mean moving from manual processes to digital. It could also be cloud computing, automation or the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
For a retailer, it may mean focussing on three things, namely a single view of a customer, omni-channel presence experience and supply chain automation and optimisation. However, everyone seems to agree that digital transformation entails using technology to achieve business goals, which may also differ from one enterprise to the next.
Therefore digital transformation can be described as a fundamental change in how an enterprise uses its technology, workforce and business processes to improve its performance and value to customers. It is a new way of thinking that involves more than simply adopting the technology.
Digital technologies and the strengthening of disruptions at the level of society and industry, such as consumer behaviour and expectation, competitive landscape and data availability, are at the core of the process of digital transformation. It is a process of using the right digital technologies, such as mobile, data analytics and smart embedded devices, to radically change business processes, customer relationships, culture, and customer experience.
At BCX we assist our customers to understand the true nature of digital transformation and determine their digital maturity to enable them to draw up a plan for their digital transformation journey. With our help, they can seamlessly integrate processes, systems, customers, partners and employees and find the right tools to create new products, services and business models.
We take care of our client’s digital transformation needs to enable them to focus on their customers’ needs and maximise productivity, increase profits and most of all future proof their businesses as they embark on the journey to digital transformation.
The world around us is changing rapidly and the same is true for the way we do business in a digital age. The golden thread running through this challenging time is digital. No wonder then that people talk about “transform, modernise and automate or die”. The old adage of “if you can’t beat them, join them” has never been more apt than now.
Get in touch with BCX and we will help you understand digital transformation and how it can help your business.
This article was published in partnership with BCX.