The phrase digital disruption is no longer new and some of the first generation of disrupters who created new business models and markets now have fierce competition from others who have muscled in on their patch. The pace of technological change and level of innovation is such that no business can afford to stand still. The vast majority of companies – even those not directly in the tech sector – are already or will be impacted by the digital economy but some leaders are still putting their heads in the sand and absolving themselves of responsibility for it. But they have an ever-decreasing window of opportunity to act before they are outpaced by their competitors. Here are five solid business reasons why all leaders must embrace digital transformation.
Faster, better working
Automation and technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are central to increasing efficiencies and upping productivity. Companies that want to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution must explore how digital technology can be used to modernise, if not reinvent, processes and ways of working. According to customer experience firm GeneSys, three fifths of organisations forsee having AI or advanced automation tools in place within the next three years. Meanwhile, one third of them say AI tools will let their company speed up outcomes, improve efficiency and lower costs.
Data drives the business world
While leaders still need to possess a good instinct for what might equal business success, data analytics mean that far less needs to be left to chance. Decision-making is increasingly data-driven and strategies are backed up and supported by hard evidence. With the right systems and reporting tools in place, it is possible to have all-round visibility of how the company is performing in key areas which means any obstacles and issues impeding performance can be addressed far more quickly and effectively. Leaders must ensure that organisations have the tools and culture in place to become part of the data-driven business world.
Outstanding customer experience
Customer experience (CX) will continue to be a key battleground in the years ahead. Watermark Consulting has monitored customer experience for 11 years. In an analysis of stock performance of customer experience leaders versus laggards, the former outperformed the broader market, generating a total return that was 45 points higher than the S&P 500 Index. Laggards trailed 76 points behind the broader market. Technology is a key differentiator in customer experience. Social media channels, machine learning and advanced algorithms allows organisations to get closer to the customer than ever before. They can inform them of their preferences and likes, help them better understand what, when and where their products and services are bought and consumed, and allow customers to send feedback. They can also help to highlight weaknesses and any pain points that exist in the customer journey that can then be eradicated.
Winning new customers
Expanding the organisation’s online footprint and visibility is all part of the digital transformation process and is extremely valuable when it comes to lead generation and finding new customers. Recent years has seen the rise in activities such as growth hacking and employee advocacy which both exploit the use of digital channels such as social media to increase exposure to potential new customers with considerably less outlay than traditional marketing techniques. A digital culture and mindset will help organisations maximise the benefit of activities such as these which will ultimately lead to new customers and continued growth.
Expectations of future talent
The use of leading edge technology helps to bolster the employer brand as a modern and forward-thinking company, which in turn helps to attract top talent. Many companies are also recognising the importance of providing a high quality employee experience and technology can be a key differentiator of this just as it can be for customer experience. For instance, future generations will expect their working life to be made easier by technology and they expect to use the same technology at work as they do at home. According to a Gartner study, seven in 10 workplaces will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of chatbots and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) by 2021 to assist employees’ productivity.