Since the onset of the 21st century, businesses have grown exponentially as new technologies have paved the way for a digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of these technologies even further, with everyone doing more online than ever.
According to a 2021 survey, 48% of large corporate and middle-market companies in India have a digital transformation strategy in place.
They’ve developed their digital roadmaps and are rapidly ramping their efforts. If there were any doubts about the benefits of digitalization, the pandemic has eliminated them.
Embracing digital transformation is no longer “good to have,” rather it’s critical for your business to maintain a competitive edge and to improve customer experience.
How to transform your business technology
While you may have already adopted various types of technology, it is now time to think about what you’ll need to stay competitive.
The key areas to focus on for your medium or large-scale enterprise’s digital transformation are:
1. Do your research
Your journey to digital transformation will begin with comprehensive market research, which will lay the foundation for your business’s future.
You need to look for opportunities where you can claim a competitive advantage, such as:
- Purchase automation
- Providing remote access to employees
- Adopting a new online sales model
- Bringing in new tools to simplify departmental coordination
Research can help you better understand target audience in order to service them better.
2. Focus on creating a better customer experience
Traditional businesses often focus more on their products or services. But with the advent of the digitalized business environment, it’s now important to also focus on creating a better customer experience.
Your business growth will not only depend on your product or service, but also on the quality of your customer experience.
This plays a huge role when you consider how one positive online review can bring in extra customers. The modern marketplace turns around the experience factor.
For example, consider the example of D2C (direct to consumer) skincare brand, Minimalist. Their entire sales model is based on the online experience, which they leverage through selling on major portals like:
· Their website
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3. Modernize internal business systems
Digital transformation can help you free up extra time by consolidating smaller tedious tasks into more efficient plans of action. Some examples include:
· Streamlining operations
· Automating workflows
· Breaking down the silos while encouraging collaboration
For example, Cloud computing makes it easier for medium-scale businesses to integrate various software applications. The ability to sync between different platforms eliminates manual information transfer. The result is increased productivity and reduced errors.
4. Empower your employees with data
Data drives good business decisions. Advanced technologies can allow your team to extract value and insights from various databases.
They can also design relevant products and processes that’ll improve overall efficiency and increase sales.
Additionally, a digital transformation strategy helps you leverage AI-driven data collection and processing tools. You can then use these resources to share any analytical findings across the company to help in real-time decision-making.
5. Involve every level of the organization
A successful digital transformation strategy requires a strong foundation and a clear set of digital initiatives that rally employees around them.
For employee buy-ins, try educating them on the benefits of new tools and technologies and provide the necessary training to your team.
As an example, you can demonstrate how an online tool can help them increase their productivity so that they feel empowered to use these technologies effectively. This can give them the confidence they need to upskill and achieve career growth.
Another example is to show how using predictive analytics software can help your team optimize ad spending and generate high-quality leads or enhance sales.
Related: How to upskill your workforce
6. Find the right tech partner
If you have a medium or small business, you may not have the budget to hire a large IT team.
Instead, you can choose a technology partner with experience who would ensure a smooth and effective digital transition.
Look for vendors, agencies, or consultants who have extensive experience in your industry.
They’ll help you identify areas with a high potential for ROI (return on investment), along with providing necessary training and on-boarding so that your employees can use the new technologies productively.
Key business factors driving digital transformation
Three external factors are driving the need for digital transformation. Let’s break them down here:
1. Internet penetration in India
The internet penetration rate in India climbed to nearly 45% in 2021, up from about 4% in 2007.
Other major drivers of growth include:
- The adoption of Industry 4.0 (“smart manufacturing”)
- Social media
- The use of advanced technologies like the Cloud, big data, IoT and analytics
As a result, all enterprises, mid-market companies and SMEs face the pressure to transform digitally or be left behind.
2. The intensity and scale of competition
Chances are that others in your industry are already using data analytics and AI (artificial intelligence) to:
- Understand customer behavior
- Make smart decisions
Innovation and automation are often applied in areas like:
- Customer support
- Product development
Continuously upscaling your technology will help you stand out from competitors. It will also make your business more resistant to recessions and other stresses.
3. Changing patterns of consumer behavior
As per BCG research, COVID-19 has altered the behavior of Indian consumers in several important aspects. They now have:
- A heightened focus on health
- An embrace of digital tools
- A shift to online channels for making purchases
Your business should consider these shifts while making plans going forward.
Why should your organization implement a digital strategy?
While you may think you don’t have the time to regularly review your technology and plan for what’s needed next, there are many benefits to doing so.
To unlock growth
Innovation in services, products and offerings propels business growth. The insights gathered from data such as consumer insights, feedback and suggestions help your business make informed decisions on how to improve or modify your offerings to gain a competitive advantage.
Additionally, technologies such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) are transforming product design and creation.
To improve customer experience
Better user experience is crucial for any business. The rise of mobile penetration and technology advancements — and the preference for touch-free service brought on by the pandemic — has led to a change in customer expectations.
Offering personalized experiences to customers make their lives easier and your business more attractive to existing and new clients.
To make better decisions
A digital transformation strategy can give you access to large volumes of data. Using the right tools, your business can crunch this data into real-time insights that can further be used to make quicker decisions about your strategies.
When more and more companies are adopting hybrid working models, it is necessary to create a digital ecosystem where data can be accessed from anywhere.
To keep good employees longer
Lastly, the goal of digital transformation is also higher employee engagement. Many companies are going to stay remote even after the pandemic. A connected employee environment in the can help you:
- Monitor productivity
- Improve engagement
- Create a positive working experience
The result will be employees who stay with you longer, saving you the cost of hiring and training replacements.
Digital transformation is the key to growth
Every business is unique, and the digital transformation journey must be tailored as per your specific requirements. Every tool that you use in the process must serve a purpose to help your business grow while being cost-effective.
The right digital technology can help your business:
- Engage better with customers when and where they choose
- Create automated operations for faster and more efficient processes
- Allow for flexible ways of working
The sooner your business begins or ramps up its digital transformation journey, the faster you will be able to adapt to the new normal and gain a competitive edge.