“Nope, digitalization is not just about tech!” Often, people connect the word “digitalization” to artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, machine learning etc. While digital transformation certainly includes the implementation of new technologies, it is not only about tech! In fact, it is much more than that. This article explores the key aspects of digitalization and how tech most often solely forms the enabler of the actual transformation journey.
Before rushing to implement new technologies in order to solve short-term problems, management & stakeholders should take a step back to get a better view on the bigger picture and their long-term goals. Some useful questions could be:
- What does “going digital” mean for our business?
- What are we good at today and how can we further improve through use of technology?
- Which needs does our business have and how can we answer them through technology?
Moreover, when putting a digital strategy in place, it is important to not forget about company culture. Digital transformation requires a clear communication & collaboration plan to make sure all employees understand the digital mission & vision. This will not only insure a better customer experience, but also enhance operational efficiency.
Customer interaction is about giving customers access to your business through whatever means they prefer – a mobile device, desktop computer, traditional phone call or social media. Technology allows us to connect with costumers in various ways on real time basis. Studies show that being instantly available has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty. On the other hand, failing to appropriately use technology to connect with customers negatively impacts customer experience.
Examples for available technology are chatbots, often used for customer support and mobile apps for self-service. Those help customer instantly receive the needed product or service information. Also, consideration periods are shortened and customer ratings more positive.
A great customer experience can only be provided when back offices run efficiently. Technology can improve revenues when combined with rethinking processes. Robotic process automation (RPA) can enhance work efficiency by doing repetitive, manual and error-prone tasks. Having systems for important back-office processes such as finance and logistics in place can speed up and enhance work efficiency.
In any organization, people are the most valuable resource. Through automation, internal employees can focus on more meaningful tasks such as forward-looking data analytics. This requires taking into account that people training is essential, in order to optimize their productivity and adapt to new tasks. Providing the right training and using the right resources to achieve the right business objectives, is very important, especially if you want to leverage the myriad of cloud services and externally brokered services out there.
Surveys conducted by different audit firms show that more than 80% of consumers will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust the way an organization is handling their data. Beyond compliance with data laws and GDPR, companies should also ensure that policies are put in place which are easily readable and accessible for all customers.
In case of Cybersecurity attacks, a company should invest in best in class technology to ensure minimal interruption. A good example is Boeing, who reacted immediately with application fixes, when some yet unpatched units were infected with the crippling ransomware. Through immediate application of fixes, Boeing was able to contain ransomware and the rest of their military service units remained unaffected.
Digitalization is not just about tech. Priority when it comes to digital transformation should be the customer experience and journey. While there are several key elements to a successful digitalization, companies should always put a focus on how to ease its customers needs through data collection, review and analytics. At a time when industries are disrupted by technology and innovative start-ups, this article hopefully forms a guide to better understand the importance of a customer centric approach and that digital transformation is not only about implementation of technology.