First things first. What does it mean to be a digitalised business?
Digitalisation is an overarching concept using digital technologies and integrating them into everyday life. Digitisation is a process of converting an object, data or an image into an electronic or digital format and is a part of digitalisation.
In this Age of the Customer© with the increased influence of Millennials or Gen Y, if a business is not already digitalised or in the transition to digital it could miss out on major business growth now and in the future.
Being digitalised is not all about technology, though it is a significant component. It is more about attitude and mind-set. Is a business proactive and forward thinking or only reacting and following the pack?
Digitalisation is how a business uses technology to improve processes, increase productivity and interact with its customers. It is also using technology to analyse business performance and make changes based on the results.
Understanding where the business excels and the areas holding it back enables truly informed judgements, it eliminates the guesswork and highlights what will increase growth. It is easier and quicker to do this in a digital environment.
Gartner, in a 2014 article states: “a lack of digital business competence will cause 25% of businesses to lose competitive ranking by 2017.” That is less than a year away. The article notes: “Digital business is not synonymous with IT. It is about revenue, value, markets and customers. It is outward-focused.”
Gartner has identified six steps to building a successful digital business. Top of the list:
- Create the right mind-set and shared understanding.
- Put the right leaders in place.
- Launch a digital business centre of excellence.
- Find, develop and acquire digital business skills and roles.
- Create new digital business capabilities.
- Formulate a digital strategy to respond to opportunities and threats.
Not too different to setting up any business really but the focus is on the inclusion of technology across the board, with all relevant departments involved and making the decisions not just IT.
In a separate 2014 post, Ben Rossi suggests “The digital workplace is an ongoing, deliberate approach to delivering a more consumer-like computing environment that is better able to facilitate innovative and flexible working practices”.
With a far more tech-savvy workforce and the Millennial influence, if a business does not adopt a digital strategy, it will find it has a disengaged workforce, which will provide customers with a less than fulfilling experience.
With only a few exceptions, customers are expecting an online experience, more importantly, a “satisfying” online experience. The more a business still relies on analogue processes and hard copy, the higher the risk they will lose customers.
Digital business has technology at its core, it is no longer just a support function but as Gartner points out “The digital revolution is about consumer behaviour and business opportunity, not technology.”