If you haven’t experienced ‘digital transformation’ by now, you’re in trouble and the next goals should be about ‘Digital Evolution’ says Colin Thornton, Commercial Officer at Turrito.
Digital transformation has proven one of the most invaluable resources on the planet over the past two years. It has allowed for companies to function, for people to connect, and for industries to thrive. It is the backbone of the digital native, the key to unlocking a digitally-driven organisation, and the reason why most CEOs believe that it will be the reason that economies return to normal and business regains lost ground. That same Gartner survey also found that digital change remains a priority for the organisation because it offers a critical advantage, helps embed resilience, and create a sustainable workplace.
This sentiment is echoed by McKinsey. In their report ‘Strategy for a digital world’ they highlight the value of digital alongside the clear ‘power curve of economic profit’ that’s stretching the distance between those companies that have focused on digital and those who have not. As the research firm points out, there is a very obvious competitive advantage in digital capabilities and progressive company powered by digitally-savvy leaders. However, the Harvard Business Review really does capture the challenge that companies face as they step into digital waters – the how. How can they fully leverage their digital transformation investments to get the right value from these technologies and truly shift their internal dialog and digital capacity?
The terms themselves have also taken on a new meaning since the start of the pandemic. In 2020, digital natives and digital-first enterprises were nice to have. They were available in different flavours and organisations had the luxury of time to pick and choose their options. Now, digital is a reality in many companies but the jump on digital board hasn’t quite delivered the value that they wanted or expected. This makes now the right time to have conversations around how digital investments are working, how people are interacting with them, and what can be done to optimise them.
Most companies have invested into tools that allow for employees to work efficiently from home. They’ve implemented remote invoicing systems, customer experience portals, fresh integrations. And yet, many still expect physical interactions for the most basic of services, undoing all the good that their digital spend was supposed to offer. Sure, there will always be the need to physically prove identity and existence at the Department of Home Affairs, for example, but there are still companies that will not accept digital signatures on documents so their customers have no choice but to go manual to get services. This is not digitally-driven, unless backwards was the direction digital was supposed to take the business.
Think this tiny inconvenience is nothing to worry about? Think again. In the list of the most hated companies in 2021, some of the biggest problems were those caused by digital mistakes. Companies need to refine their digital initiatives so that they can deliver the kind of services and solutions that customers want. This shouldn’t be too far a leap. Most have learned that if they don’t pay attention to these market demands they will be left behind. What needs to happen now is that they take their digital capabilities to the max. That they learn from the easy ubiquity of digital natives who work from rooftops and coffee shops and any geographic location they wish and implement this easy and accessible approach into their organisational structure and processes.
And no, this is not just applicable to software devs and tech companies and savvy entrepreneurs. This approach is as relevant to the two-hundred-year-old auditing firm as it is to the sneaker salesman. There are already firms that have shifted so seamlessly to digital environments that not a shred of paper is needed to complete a comprehensive audit. Think of the time saving for both the auditing firm and the companies they service? And how that can be translated into better sales, improved client services and the freedom to add more clients to their books? This is squeezing value from digital.
This may sound like a cliché, but only in as much that service delivery transforms relationships is a cliché. Here, nestled within the functionality of digital is business opportunity. This is when IT stops being the guys in the room downstairs, when the CIO joins the boardroom table, and digital optimisation dominates every strategic decision because here lies measurable return on investment and sustainable business growth.