The Importance of Digital Transformation for Successful Business
27 April 2017
The world is evolving digitally at a rapid pace. People are becoming more connected with everything in their lives. Products and services are shifting to be faster, smarter, and more technologically advanced. With the increase in connection, there is a reason for companies to transform digitally in order to increase their efficiency and their customer satisfaction.
But what does this actually mean?
Digital transformation is a broad term. It ultimately means that businesses will include and maximize the opportunities of digital technology in their operations and business models. Altimeter defined digital transformation as “...the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”1
This is true in all industries, from education to financial services. Individuals and organizations increasingly rely on electronic systems, like customer relationship management, to automate their processes. In fact, according to a report released from Forrester an improved customer experience is at the top of the priority list (for digital transformation).2 Customers expect high-quality, and relatable content that they can access easily any time. A significant portion of digital transformation strategies within businesses will accommodate online and digital channels for their customers.
In higher education, for example, registrars’ offices use digital transformation to process and send acceptance letters to prospective first year students with the hopes that their offer will be the first received and, in turn, accepted. Without digital transformation, this process would be done manually. It would be much slower. The competitive advantage of a quick turn around time (re: processing, sending, receiving, accepting) would be essentially lost.
While a large portion of adaption to digital business practices is driven by the needs of customers, research also suggests that the benefits of digital transformation go beyond consumer-centric motivation.3 Businesses who put a digital transformation strategy in place can also reap the benefits of reduced operational costs, increased productivity and alignment, and improved security and compliance.
Some initiatives that fall under this umbrella include updating websites and ecommerce programs, integrating social, mobile and web services, and updating customer-facing technology systems. For instance, installing Supplier/Vendor/Management Systems in the shipping sector can match carriers with producers and customers with greater ease.
Although research shows that the benefits of digital transformation are clear, many businesses have acknowledged that the process itself of shifting practices is too slow. According to a survey from Capgemini, ‘digital immaturity’ has been noted as an issue.4 Challenges such as changing company culture, cooperation between departments, and understanding the impact on the customer can all create barriers to effective implementation strategy.5
Yet, there are opportunities for businesses who are not skilled in digital transformation to accelerate their movement towards an efficient, innovative, and technologically driven model by working with partners who are trained in facilitating growth and challenges. These are truly the benefits of digital transformation and they apply across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Xpert Office Products, Fredericton, Saint John, Woodstock, NB
2. https://www.accenture.com/t20160706T103435__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/Accenture/Conversion-Assets/DotCom/ Documents/Global/PDF/Digital_2/Accenture-Digital-Transformation-In-The-Age-Of-The-Customer.pdf#zoom=50