Creating value through digital transformation
19 January 2021 | Minutes to read: 4

Creating value through digital transformation

By Eric Flammang

Now is the perfect time for companies to truly commit to digital transformation. Businesses are continually facing shifts in demands and expectations from their customers, and their overall competitive pressures are dramatically increasing. “Disrupt” or be “Disrupted”!

Indeed, surviving the most challenging economic conditions since the 1929 depression in the hope of “re-flourishing” once the pandemic stops requires proactive and creative thinking and a serious ability to innovate.

It has been well and truly tempting during this pandemic to slow down on innovation and / or product development. Some businesses have panicked and stopped all development until more stable circumstances in which to operate. There is nothing worse a business could do during these times.

I often refer to this phenomenon as being the equivalent of a swimmer being caught in a rip current. Most of us would know that the best way not to lose one’s life in this situation is to work with the water movement instead of against it by staying calm and taking the strategic approach of swimming parallel to shore instead of fighting the rip.

Businesses often see themselves swimming against rip currents, exhausting themselves and eventually drowning. They use all their energy to stay afloat instead of embracing new trends and re-thinking their ways. They need to adapt to the environment in which they operate.

Times of uncertainty are also times of opportunity. No one knows for sure when and if the pandemic will end, but it does seem clear that the pace of digital transformation has only accelerated and will continue to do so.

Whether it is upgrading internal operations, launching an e-commerce strategy, developing a new product or reimagining existing products and services with new technology, this is an ideal time for everyone to move forward and beyond.

Innovation Is key to growth and success

When it comes to digital transformation: “Customers Rule!” And the current literature seems to constantly highlight the top three digital transformation initiatives as: enhancing customer experience, enabling new digital business models, and empowering customer-facing employees to better and more quickly serve customers.

For many, talking about innovation remains one of the most difficult challenges of this era. Some leaders confuse innovation with simply creating something new, and often discover that their new product or service does not create enough additional value for their customers.

This same literature does not seem to highlight a single recipe for success when it comes to digital transformation. However, there appears to be common ingredients used by those who are excelling at it.

The top drivers of success were having leaders who articulated a clear reason and plan for change and who used a broad range of digital tools including cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI), data architecture, The Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced machine learning.

Thinking outside the box with Smart Technology

The change in consumer behaviour coupled with the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business is changing how companies operate.

With brick-and-mortar stores closed due to the pandemic, businesses had to make major shifts in how they conduct business. Additionally, the way in which people interact with information and technology in their personal lives represents a fundamental change that is shaping expectations in the business world.

Today, consumer mobile apps turn everyday tasks into simple, customisable and intuitive experiences that can be done in a minute. The business that responds to a customer query first, wins. The company that makes it quick and easy for customers to carry out their transactions, keeps that customer for much longer. The company that removes operational drag attracts and maintains a productive, agile workforce.

And in today’s world, this means that businesses can’t achieve speed without simplicity. Mobile apps, with intelligent processing and push notifications, are the best way to bring speed to an enterprise with simplified workflows and anytime access. Whether it is providing a customer quote quicker than the business next door or having real-time visibility and control over inventory, the pace at which information and transactions can be made determines who wins and who loses.

Unfortunately, business technology isn’t quite as simple. This affects how consumers interact with brands as well as how employees work within organisations and ironically, figuring out how to make business systems simpler seems to be key to attaining the ultimate goal of business digital transformation.

And while innovative technologies continue to enter the market at a staggering pace, business leaders report that today’s biggest roadblock to digital transformation is integrating innovation with their existing systems.  Most enterprise systems were built before the digital era, in some cases decades before smartphones and tablets arrived. These systems are essential for a company’s operations, and therefore not quickly or easily replaced.

The complexities of innovation aren’t easy for companies to handle without the right tools. Some cloud-based agile innovation management software use data-mining AI to surface new insights and includes collaborative tools to develop ideas and engage a broad network of employees, partners, customers, other start-ups and experts.

The takeaways

We live in both exciting and challenging times. Exciting because of the opportunities that rapid changes in technology are providing us. Challenging because of the disruption caused by rapidly changing platforms and growing customer expectations.

Our focus is speed, efficiency, and customer value. It’s about removing complexity in our systems and processes to help businesses deliver better value to their customers

The ability to remove the complexity of business processes and systems is here. Mobility offers people the ability to complete any necessary task quicker, wherever they are and on any device.  Consumers and businesses alike will become truly empowered, mobilised, agile, and able to self-serve.

These powerful moments of innovation and productivity solidify an organisation’s competitive advantage. This is how innovative companies are disrupting industries, and how modern companies are transforming themselves – think outside the box and inspire your peers to do so. Re-think your ways and evolve with your environment, not against it. And use the technology to support and deliver everlasting change. “Disrupt” or be “Disrupted”!

If you want assistance with your business’s digital transformation, call your local William Buck advisor.

Our William Buck advisors and their extensive network of consultants and IT professionals can assist your business with its much-needed digital transformation.

Creating value through digital transformation

Eric Flammang

Eric is a registered tax agent and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Australia and New Zealand and holds a Master of Professional Accounting and Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management.

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