‘Digital transformation,’ is the movement that is changing the way businesses do business and people live their lives.
Leading its growth across the modern world is the mobile app. Decades ago, no one would’ve ever thought that it could be possible to do everything and more with a few taps of an app on a phone. As of this writing, there are about ten million apps in use all over the globe, a whopping USD$120 billion market.
Regardless of how you feel about it, the digital transformation is real. The question is, how can you maximise its potential to make it work for you and your business, no matter how small.
The technology of business
Digital transformation refers to the change in the way an organization, for-profit or otherwise, employs technology to improve its function. Something as simple as adding more PC units or installing software can be considered as a ‘digital transformation’.
Regardless of the nature of the industry, digital transformation requires five critical elements for it to be successful. These involve:
- A business model that makes transactions more convenient
- A customer experience that engages on a personal level
- A dynamic operation focused on data-driven decision-making
- A team member experience that anticipates future trends
- A data-driven, externally-facing digital platform as its base
Adopting this new technology influences how companies can operate better in so many ways, regardless of their size. For example, Jobber’s software for plumbers acts to optimise business systems and processes. For a service business like plumbing for example, the software is able to automate repetitive admin tasks, offer multiple and fast payment options, track job and crew progress, win more business and store customer details. Specialist technology such as this has been developed across all business sectors in every imaginable niche, and as more and more companies adopt them, they are realising the benefits, perhaps most importantly, even the smallest of businesses enjoying a competitive edge over others.
The COVID-induced buzz
This digital revolution has been going on for several decades, yet never has it been a hotter topic than the past year. The ongoing pandemic is to blame for the buzz.
Perhaps the most significant effect of the pandemic is that it hastened years’ worth of digital transformation in just several months. Digital interactions comprised 36% of global customer interactions in December 2019, only to jump to 58% in July 2020. The share of products and services offered over digital platforms has also increased.
To put it bluntly, the transition to digital has sped up by three years in customer interaction and seven years in product and service offerings. These changes are likely to stick years after the pandemic.
While COVID had shut down countless businesses, those that survived the initial struggle had to quickly find a way to shift to digital avenues to survive.
Partnerships, the key to moving forward
Mobile apps are expected to lead this wave of digital transformation. If the earlier statistic about being a USD$120 billion global industry is any indication, apps are the preferred media to carry out this change.
Apps are powerful business tools for several reasons. Not only can they be adopted by even the smallest of startups, with a few taps, an app can present tons of information to both a business and its customers or potential customers. It can also establish a secure connection between them, minimizing errors in communication and transactions. More importantly, in an age where people spend more time on mobile, there’s no denying that apps in business are no longer optional.
However, any app is only as effective as the data used to create it. Partnerships and collaborations are more crucial than ever; businesses must partner with other businesses to achieve the goal of creating the perfect app. Without these, progress will be limited—and no company wants to fall behind in this post-pandemic economy.
While it’s easy to accept this as fact, putting it into practice is entirely different. Most companies have yet to fully commit to digital transformation due to three barriers: data security, lack of resources, and information overload.
It’s all about communication
Having the right mindset and working with others show a common theme. Digital transformation is all about good communication; There are many ways to build effective communication: asking feedback from customers, slowly introducing new corporate culture, and being aware of a company’s limitations. These should be done in baby steps; abrupt changes will only throw everyone’s sense of balance off. Only then can a company start on the road to a more digital experience.
After the pandemic, there’s no going back to how things were before—doing business included. The sooner companies accept the fact that digital transformation lies just ahead, the sooner they can begin to adapt to it. Whether it’s about employing augmented reality or something out of science fiction, the success of a business’s digital transformation is in the entrepreneur’s hands.