All sorts of businesses have had to innovate to keep up with the times. If they haven’t, they are missing out on revenue. Consumers are expecting a seamless experience with any business they interact with. That customer journey starts with a cohesive digital experience from the first time they access your website or app, and extends to customer service interactions, paying their bills, and accessing helpful online resources.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is a new way of thinking about and engaging with customers. It is using digital technology to create or modify business processes, customer experiences, and a company’s culture to survive and flourish in our digital world.
Every year, companies invest in technologies to help with digital transformation to provide best-in-class customer service, increase employee retention and compensation, and reward shareholders––but most importantly, to increase revenue.
Examples of digital transformation
Have you ever heard of the Smith Corona company? It was the leading seller of typewriters for decades, but it collapsed in the mid-1980s due to the introduction of PC-based word processing. Unfortunately, thousands of jobs were lost because the company ultimately added no value in helping businesses enter a new, digital world. However, survivors like IBM, Microsoft, and HP, are still leaders because they have transformed their business to enhance their customer experience.
Along with these companies mentioned above, there are many other companies that have gone through digital transformation. All of them have successfully implemented certain strategies to accomplish this. Examples include:
- Redesigning their websites to be more SEO- and customer-friendly
- Optimizing the customer journey through triggered email campaigns
- Improving their sales strategies with data analytics and AI
- Offering automated customer service options like chatbots
Another great example is IKEA, the Scandinavian chain that has become a household name selling ready-to-assemble furniture. They have gone from selling 100% of their goods at their brick-and-mortar warehouse locations to selling 15% of their products online, a percentage that’s increasing annually.
They’ve done this by not only having affordable furniture, but they’ve made it easier to shop and order online by providing an updated, more customer-friendly website and a more efficient automated delivery process.
What are the benefits of digital transformation?
As any business knows, you can frequently lose customers (and employees) to competitors who have developed a better digital transformation strategy that provides benefits like:
- An enhanced customer experience by saving them time
- Knowing their customers better and making helpful recommendations for upsells and add-ons
- Making existing processes more efficient and developing new ones
- The improved loyalty of their customers and employees
- Increased profit margins
With the right digital transformation strategy, the possibilities are endless.
What are some recent digital transformation trends?
It’s crucial for businesses to stay on top of digital transformation trends because this is how you are going to stay competitive. Some examples include:
- Cloud migration: Moving some or all of your data center capabilities into the cloud
- AI/machine learning: AI is essentially computer systems mimicking humans, and machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that enables machines/computer systems how to learn over time
- Automation: Robotics are appearing everywhere, from the assembly line to the kitchen
- Customer data platforms: Collecting and unifying customer data from multiple sources to build a single, coherent view of each customer
- Virtual/remote work: Remote jobs are becoming more and more available, as well as hybrid work models
Realize it or not, you experience these digital transformation trends daily. Whether it’s working from your kitchen table, reading an AI-generated email, having your carpets cleaned by a robotic vacuum, or seeing shoes advertised in your social media feed because you recently purchased clothing online.
How do you successfully implement a digital transformation strategy?
Implementing a digital transformation strategy is intimidating to many business owners when they think of things like AI and robotics. Still, it’s not very different from when you last upgraded your computer hardware or software.
You’ll want to follow the same steps, such as:
- Align your goals by departments
- Prepare your team by training them thoroughly before, during, and after implementation
- Choose technology that makes sense for your business, not just because it’s the best-advertised
- Hire or partner with experts who can help you identify needs and make the transition
- Measure the impact digital transformation is having on your customers and employees
- Adapt as needed
Digital transformation now resembles some of the futuristic movies of the past that have now become a reality. This can be both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. If budget is a restricting factor for your business, consider getting a business loan or line of credit to help your company take the next step.
Accepting and implementing digital transformation will transform your business in exciting new ways––and the sky is truly the limit.