According to the Gartner IT Glossary –
“Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds”.
Going from a traditional to digital business
Traditional businesses know that they need to become digital to keep pace with an increasingly fast-paced, mobile-first culture.
With people expecting fast, seamless and secure interactions, this often manifests itself in the desire to launch a new app – but what would its purpose be?
Would it be used to make your workforce mobile or would it simplify your customer’s journey?
Herein lies the difference between a technologically savvy company and a truly digital business.
Digital transformation examples
There is no better example of digital transformation than one of the most well-known digital retail giants, Amazon.
Having successfully kept pace with an ever-changing digital culture, very few remember that they were initially just an online bookstore; they even revolutionised the way people read books with their iconic product, the Kindle.
Throughout Amazon’s journey from an online bookstore to the digital retail giant they are today is one overwhelming theme – understanding their customer’s journey.
Forming a digital roadmap
So, what is the first step to becoming a truly digital business? Instead of perusing an over-abundance of “how’s”, start with one simple question – why?
What value proposition would you provide your customer base by using a digital solution, how would it enable you to better understand their journey and finally, what can you use to empower your employees to provide a better service?
Perhaps the difference between being a company that uses technology, to being a digital business starts with a simple change of perspective. Instead of viewing digital as a thing, we should see it as a way of doing things.
Now that starts to form the grit of a digital transformation strategy.
What does this look like?
An example that remains relevant was one provided by Mark McDonald in 2014; he states the following:
“A company that feels digital will take CRM tools and just make them available on mobile devices. That may untether account execs from the office, but that doesn’t change the underlying ways they work. They’re not providing a different or better customer experience. They’re just more mobile.”
He went on to provide a contrasting example: a company analysed the history and interaction between their account execs and customers across many different communication channels.
The result: now when a customer calls, the company’s call-routing software recognises the number as an active account, looks up the account exec, and routes the call to him or her directly. The company leverages their digital platform to help the account executive be more human and accessible to the customer, thus doing a better job.
He finished his comparison with the following observation:
“Another company would have put that information online and made customers pick through an online profile, but that’s not being a digital business.”
Becoming a digital business in banking
It is fast becoming apparent that every successful digital transformation has one central constant – customer journey. This is not a new concept, but what has changed?
It’s no longer enough to know about your customer’s journey, you need to evidence that you understand it.
This disruptive newcomer, to what was considered a saturated sector with 29 banks covering corporate and retail segments for a population of just over 7 million, exceeded all expectations. With more than 100,000 people opening current accounts in their first year of operation, they became the fastest-growing CEE in Europe.
In an industry, renowned for out-of-the-way branches, long queues, and mountains of paperwork, one of their marketing slogans was “Visit friends, not branches” with a tagline of “Simple. Safe. Anywhere”. Quite simply, they knew their customer and understood that they needed to market lifestyle, not technology.
In the words of their CEO, Ingeborg Øfsthus, when asked what they were doing differently during an interview:
“What we want to do is make banking about simplicity and the customer journey…”
It wasn’t just technology that created the dramatic entrance of Telenor Banka into the Serbian market; they set out to deliver a service which was simpler and accessible to all, anywhere – technology was the enabler.
Conclusion: what components are needed for a digital business?
Technology alone will not drive a successful digital transformation of your business; there needs to be a clear intent.
Transforming organisation, processes, and technology will make you a technologically savvy company and perhaps even ready to become a digital business.
The simple truth is this; in a digital world where customers are well-informed, have more choices, trust their peers, and have a voice, a consistent and seamless experience is key.
From their mobile or tablet, to their laptop, to a phone call to customer service – they need to experience the power of digital as an enhancement to their experience, not a replacement of existing methods.
When that happens, you will be a successful digital business.
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Written by Erica Pattison | Change Manager, RedPixie | See her LinkedIn Profile